Kennewick men face robbery charges

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldOctober 17, 2013 

Two Kennewick men are accused of wearing facemasks and carrying a handgun and baseball bat as they entered a home to steal a duffel bag of marijuana.

A security camera at the front door reportedly showed Luke V. Loftus and Chris J. Meyer before they hid their faces and went into the Kennewick home.

The homeowner has a medical marijuana card, and he fought with one of the suspects after being threatened with the bat, court documents said.

His girlfriend reportedly identified Meyer -- whose mask was ripped off in the struggle -- and the homeowner and a friend recognized Loftus on the security footage, documents said.

Loftus and Meyer were booked into the Benton County jail on Oct. 12.

Now, both men are charged in Benton County Superior Court with one count of first-degree robbery.

Loftus, 24, and Meyer, 29, have pleaded innocent and face Dec. 9 trials.

Meyer allegedly told investigators that an acquaintance, Loftus, told him on Oct. 6 that the homeowner owed him $1,200 to $1,300. Loftus asked for Meyer's help in getting it, and Meyer agreed on the condition he'd be paid $200, court documents said.

Loftus provided the masks and baseball bat, documents said. Meyer reportedly said the bat was "to show intimidation and to scare people."

The men went to the home on Oct. 7, donned their masks outside the front door before going inside.

One suspect who was carrying a gun went to the garage through a door off the entryway, then returned with a bag full of pot, court documents said. Meanwhile, the bat-toting Meyer threatened the homeowner, who fought back and struggled with him before the suspects left, documents said.

The incident was reported to police three days later.

Loftus' bail is set at $25,000.

Meyer is being held on $100,000 bail for the robbery, in addition to a few failures to comply and a bail jumping charge, jail records show.

Woman to serve month for theft

A 56-year-old woman was sentenced to a month in jail for taking tens of thousands of dollars from her elderly father to cover her own expenses and make occasional visits to a Toppenish casino.

Kelli Rae Ling was given permission to serve the time on work release if she's eligible. The Kennewick woman pleaded guilty earlier this month to first-degree theft.

"I obtained a Power of Attorney for my father. I commingled his funds with my funds, and I spent money gambling," Ling wrote in her plea statement.

According to court documents, Ling had two joint US Bank accounts with her father, who now is 87 and suffers from dementia. The money belonged to Ling's father and she didn't contribute to either account.

As of August 2011, there was more than $100,000 in the savings account and $900 in the checking account. By November 2012, there only was $68 in savings and $116 in checking, documents said.

Ling also reportedly had two individual accounts with the bank.

US Bank records show numerous withdrawals from the joint accounts in those 15 months. They included 17 transactions totaling $16,627 using a bank card to transfer funds into Ling's personal account and at least 31 transactions totaling more than $13,000 using different bank cards to withdraw cash. Six of the withdrawals were made at Yakama Legends Casino.

Records also showed numerous checks written on the joint account for groceries and other personal expenses, court documents said.

Ling withdrew $80,000 from the savings account June 6, 2012, and put it in her own account. When asked about it by an Adult Protective Services investigator, Ling claimed her father had paid for a $50,000 vehicle for her brother and felt it would be fair to allow herself to use the same amount of money, documents said.

The Adult Protective Services investigator suggested to Ling in December 2012 that she should return the money to her father. The following day, she deposited $54,000 into the joint checking account, documents said.

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