Teen pleads innocent to Finley church burglary

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldJanuary 24, 2014 

PROSSER -- Bail was set Friday at $20,000 for a man charged with breaking into a Finley church and stealing property, including an electric guitar.

Tristen Derrick Landry, 18, pleaded innocent in Benton County Superior Court to second-degree burglary.

His trial is set for March 10.

Landry also is a suspect in more than 100 vehicle prowls in Benton County. He allegedly admitted to doing the crime spree with his friends.

In Step Baptist Church was burglarized sometime between Jan. 14 and 15, according to law enforcement and court documents.

"An excessive amount of damage was done to the interior of the building and property within the building," Deputy Prosecutor Amy Harris wrote.

Landry and two juveniles were contacted by Benton County sheriff's detectives about 3 a.m. Jan. 19 in relation to the car prowl investigation.

Landry admitted to a detective that he entered the locked church at 201512 E. Finley Road and took a guitar, documents said. He claimed the others were responsible for the church vandalism, which reportedly exceeded $10,000.

Landry was booked into the jail at 9:36 a.m. that same day.

He had been staying at a South Ione Street home in Kennewick with one of the juvenile suspects and his family. Authorities searched the house and found the stolen instrument, documents said.

Deputy Prosecutor Kristin McRoberts told Judge Vic VanderSchoor on Friday that "there was a lot of community outpouring to clean the place up."

She argued for a higher bail amount, saying the state "is extremely concerned" about Landry continuing to commit more crimes if he gets out of jail.

Landry is one of five lead suspects in the series of car break-ins and thefts this month in Kennewick and unincorporated areas east of the city.

Detectives with the sheriff's office and Kennewick Police Department have been working together to get the culprits. Authorities also are asking for the public's help in identifying stolen property that has been found.

Landry and two of the 16-year-old boys were arrested after law enforcement pinned down where and when the crimes were taking place, spotted the three and after talking with them, were able to match some shoe prints found at a crime scene, said sheriff's Lt. Chuck Jones.

He said the teens were stashing the stolen loot with hopes of possibly selling it.

Landry told investigators that one vehicle prowl Jan. 14 produced two shotguns, Benton County District Court documents said. He also reportedly said that in the early morning hours of Jan. 18, he helped break into 21 vehicles.

Anyone who has been a victim of a theft in Benton County in the past three weeks is asked to call the sheriff's office at 735-6555 to help identify items.

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service