Man pleads innocent to Kennewick robbery

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldJanuary 18, 2013 

A 28-year-old man is being held on $10,000 bail for allegedly hitting a Rite Aid security employee who was trying to stop him from taking a stack of DVDs.

Brandon Lee Harris pleaded innocent this week in Benton County Superior Court to second-degree robbery. His trial is March 4.

Prosecutors claim Harris selected five DVDs while inside the Kennewick store Jan. 9 and put the merchandise on a shelf, while looking around to see if anyone was near him and glancing at the security observation windows.

The movies were worth $68.95.

A security employee watched as Harris then picked up the DVDs and concealed them inside his coat under his arm, court documents said. Harris held his arm against the hidden stack of movies and zipped up his coat before heading for the store exit, documents said.

Harris didn't make any attempts to stop at a cash register and pay for the merchandise.

The employee identified himself before Harris got outside.

Harris became aggressive and hit the employee across the chest as he tried to get away, court documents said.

The security employee grabbed Harris' coat and tried to force the suspect to lift his left arm so the merchandise would fall to the ground, documents said.

Harris ultimately got away, but employees gave Kennewick police his description and surveillance video.

The next day, police went to Denny's restaurant for a theft report. A customer left without paying his $19 bill, and was last seen entering the nearby Safeway store, court documents said.

An officer tracked down Harris inside the grocery store -- based on his description from Denny's employees -- and made the connection to the previous day's robbery at Rite Aid. Denny's staff confirmed Harris was the customer who skipped out on the tab, and across the street at Rite Aid the security employee said "that's the guy who hit me," documents said.

Harris reportedly denied being at either business.

Pasco man to face trial on trafficking charges

A 33-year-old man faces an April 1 trial for allegedly selling two commercial pressure washers while knowing they'd been stolen from a Richland business.

Raymond Allen Farris pleaded innocent to one count of first-degree trafficking in stolen property.

The Pasco man is out of custody on his personal recognizance while the case is pending.

Kennewick police were called July 30 by a concerned resident of Entiat Avenue who had seen people hiding a Hotsy pressure washer under some carpet, court documents said.

An officer responded and watched the activity from the caller's home. Police got a second call from another neighbor who reported seeing people "attempting to load the pressure washer into a van, but it would not fit," documents said.

The pressure washer later was loaded on a truck and driven away.

The following day, American Building Maintenance notified police that they had been burglarized, and two commercial grade pressure washers and a trailer were missing.

An extensive investigation, including interviews with several witnesses, led officers to learn that Farris allegedly had talked about stealing the items.

The same witness who tipped off police to Farris said they were present when he sold the items to another man, court documents said. Farris and the buyer discussed the fact that the two pressure washers were stolen, documents said.

The man who bought the items was contacted by police, and agreed to turn over the pressure washers.

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