Kennewick woman allegedly stashed stolen items

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldApril 2, 2014 

A Kennewick woman is accused of stashing stolen property for her live-in boyfriend because she believed investigators were going to search their home while he was in jail.

Mayra Lizbeth Luevanos, 24, allegedly moved items including a washer and dryer, a refrigerator and a dining room set to the garage of her boyfriend's mother.

Detectives were clued in to her actions after listening to recorded jail calls between Luevanos and Michael A. Gaines, court documents said.

In those calls, Luevanos told her boyfriend that police had spoken with his mother and that Luevanos needed to "clean up" the backyard in case they get "visitors," documents said.

Luevanos pleaded innocent Wednesday in Benton County Superior Court to first-degree possession of stolen property. The charge includes the aggravating circumstance that the crime was a major economic offense as it involved multiple victims.

Property recovered from the couple's home and the mother's garage reportedly was taken from a number of construction sites and model homes in January. It included more than $5,000 in household furnishings, decor, tools and appliances, documents said.

Luevanos' trial is scheduled June 23.

Her boyfriend, Gaines, 29, was charged in January with residential burglary. His case has since been amended to six counts of second-degree burglary and one count of first-degree possession of stolen property, with a May 5 trial date, according to online court records.

He made bail, but now is behind bars serving a sentence on two Benton County District Court cases of driving with a suspended or revoked license, records show.

His co-defendant, Graciano E. Renero-Rodriguez, 26, also has a May 5 trial date for the residential burglary.

He remains in jail on $25,000 with an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold.

Gaines and Renero-Rodriguez were arrested early Jan. 20 after a couple delivering the Tri-City Herald on Strange Drive noticed two men inside a vacant home that was listed for sale. The paper carriers followed the suspects' van until Richland police could stop them.

The van allegedly contained items stolen from that house, along with tools, a wooden door and a barbecue.

Gaines, during his interview with police, denied being involved in the burglary. He claimed he was in the area going for a walk and asked Renero-Rodriguez to pick him up, court documents said.

When confronted with the fact that witnesses saw him inside the house, Gaines said Renero-Rodriguez had been trying to steal a microwave and later told an officer that both of them were interrupted, documents said.

The wooden door found inside the van was later identified as belonging to a victim of a new construction burglary between Jan. 19 and 20.

Detectives searched the East 13th Avenue home of Luevanos and Gaines and found tools, a propane heater, the box for a new microwave and a love seat and couch, court documents said.

Police were able to connect the stolen items to at least four new construction and model home burglaries that occurred between Jan. 12 and 20, documents said.

In her interview with detectives, Luevanos allegedly admitted that she knew the property she transferred from their house to the Pasco home of Gaines' mother was stolen. She took police to that home.

Luevanos also claimed that Renero-Rodriguez and his girlfriend had moved in with her and Gaines about three weeks earlier, court documents said.

Inside the Pasco garage, detectives found numerous items including the washer and dryer with pedestals, the dining room set with six chairs, two night stands, a five-drawer dresser and circular mirror, an LG television, artwork and living room furniture, documents said.

-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer

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