An increase in residential burglaries this year has Kennewick police urging residents to be vigilant and call 911 if any suspicious behavior is seen in their neighborhoods.
So far this year, there have been 81 burglaries, said Mike Blatman, Kennewick police spokesman. Last year in the first three months of the year, police investigated 66 home break-ins.
What's unusual, police say, is that in a majority of the burglaries, the suspects have forced their way into the home -- meaning they did not get in through an unlocked or open door or window.
This year, 74 percent of the burglaries have been forced entry, Blatman said. Typically, about half of all break-ins involve unlocked doors or windows.
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The burglaries have occurred throughout the city, he said.
Not all the incidents appear to be related, but investigators believe some are.
With spring break approaching, police said residents should be on the lookout for suspicious people or vehicles in their neighborhoods and call 911 immediately if something seems wrong.
Residents should be aware of open doors and windows on homes if they know their neighbors are gone, and look for open garage doors or unknown vehicles parked in the area.
Police also say people need to remember: "If you leave it, lock it."
For more information about ways to protect homes from burglaries, call Kennewick Police Crime Prevention at 582-1351.
CI Shred truck crashes into Kennewick office building
A CI Shred truck caused quite a stir Thursday when it jumped a curb and crashed into a Kennewick mortgage office.
The truck was in the parking lot of the Sterling Savings Bank building, 8121 W. Grandridge Blvd., at 12:15 p.m. and was being loaded with documents to shred, said Mike Blatman, Kennewick police spokesman.
A mechanical malfunction is suspected of causing the truck to roll forward until it stopped inside the front door of the building.
No one was in the truck at the time and no one inside the building was hurt, Blatman said.
The truck was driven out of the building and the building was inspected to ensure it still is structurally sound. The crash remains under investigation.
Grant County authorities warn about synthetic pot prosecution
Grant County law enforcers are warning citizens and businesses that ignorance won't protect them from being prosecuted if they are found with spice, "bath salts" or other synthetic marijuana and stimulants.
Synthetic cannabinoids were added to the list of controlled substances in December by the Washington State Board of Pharmacy, and the state Department of Health has permanently banned the sale, use and possession of products in synthetic marijuana and stimulants.
Grant County's Interagency Narcotic Enforcement Team recently conducted an investigation of a local convenience store and undercover officers purchased two "herbal" products sold under the brand name Green Grenade and Clown, Sheriff Tom Jones said.
When tested at the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab, the products contained naphthoylindoles, which are on the banned list, he said.
Synthetic cannabinoids are said to mimic the high people get when smoking marijuana. The synthetic stimulants in bath salts are said to copy the effects of cocaine, acid, ecstasy or methamphetamine.
Jones said the products are dangerous and can cause psychosis.
Prosecutor Angus Lee said possession or distribution of the synthetic marijuana or stimulants is punishable by up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.