Four teenagers were arrested after Richland officers found a cache of stolen property hidden in the desert outside of West Richland, police said.
The suspects have claimed responsibility for 45 of the 202 vehicle prowls reported to Richland police since July 1, but investigators still are trying to determine which ones, said Capt. Mike Cobb.
Police recovered a stolen .22-caliber rifle, .12-gauge shotgun and six backpacks filled with iPods, sunglasses, phone charges, cameras, flashlights, earphones, an e-reader and other personal property stolen from cars in Richland and west Kennewick, Cobb said.
Scales, marijuana, some prescription medication and $943 in cash have also been seized.
"We've got an evidence room full of stuff," Cobb told the Herald.
The arrests came after a backpack containing a gun, drugs and an Oregon State Police citation issued to Aaron Brown was found in the 100 block of Rosemary Street, Cobb said.
The owner of the stolen gun lives in south Richland and had been a victim of a car prowl, he said.
The backpack was turned over to a homeowner's association member, who contacted Richland's crime prevention officer, Cobb said. The HOA member had been working with the crime prevention officer about neighborhood watch groups.
The information was then passed on to members of the department's Street Crimes Unit, who then tracked down the suspects and found the six backpacks in the desert.
It all happened within about an hour, Cobb said, adding that "this is exactly what (the SCU) is meant to handle."
The unit used to be called the Proactive Anti-Crime Unit, but its focus and emphasis was shifted recently, Cobb said.
Police have searched three vehicles connected to the suspects and recovered stolen property during each search. Additional search warrants are still in the works, he said.
Investigators expect to recover more stolen property and will be working to identify the owners.
Brown, 18, of Richland, and Devin Sakach, 19, of West Richland, were booked into the Benton County jail on suspicion of possessing a stolen firearm and stolen property and vehicle prowling.
Hunter Johnson, 19, of Richland, and a 17-year-old West Richland boy were also jailed on suspicion of possessing a stolen property.
Johnson was also arrested on suspicion of vehicle prowling.
Yakima man accused of assault in Kennewick
A 32-year-old Yakima man is accused of driving to his ex-girlfriend's Kennewick home and starting a fight with her and her new boyfriend.
Billy Toycen was arrested by Kennewick police Thursday after the Kennewick woman called police, said Mike Blatman, Kennewick police spokesman.
Toycen reportedly arrived unannounced at his former girlfriend's home in the 4200 block of West Kennewick Avenue and became upset over her new boyfriend, police said.
A fight began and at one point, Toycen reportedly displayed a knife.
He left the home when police were called, then dumped his car and ran away, police said.
Toycen was found hiding in the backyard of a home on South Tweedt Street.
He was booked into the Benton County jail on suspicion of second-degree assault, fourth-degree assault, domestic-violence related malicious mischief and interfering with the reporting of a domestic violence incident.
No one was hurt in the fight, and officers recovered Toycen's knife, police said.
30-year-old man arrested in theft
A 30-year-old Kennewick man was arrested in connection with a theft at a Richland storage unit.
Travis Floyd Richardson was contacted by Richland police on Oct. 7 after an officer watched a car turn into the storage units on Aaron Drive and saw the registered owner of the car had a suspended license and warrants, Capt. Mike Cobb told the Herald.
A man, later identified as Richardson, and a woman were seen moving tools and other items around in the storage unit and loaded the items into the car, Cobb said.
Richardson was identified and said the car belonged to a relative. The duo stopped loading the car and quickly left, he said.
Officers then ran a check on Richardson and found he had a warrant for his arrest.
Later that day, the owner of the storage unit Richardson was seen in, called police and reported that $828 worth of drywall equipment had been stolen, Cobb said.
The missing items were the same tools Richardson had been seen loading into the car, Cobb said.
Richardson was arrested Thursday and booked into the Benton County jail on suspicion of first-degree burglary.
Oregon child rapist sentenced to 62 years
An Eastern Oregon judge has sentenced a 33-year-old man to more than six decades in prison for raping and molesting two children, The East Oregonian reported.
Edward Joseph Pergande was accused of the crimes against victims ages 4 and 7 during the assaults in 2006 and 2007. A jury convicted him Sept. 2.
Judge Eva Temple imposed consecutive sentences this week, adding up to more than 62 years, said The Associated Press.
Formerly of Irrigon, Pergande was arrested in the fall of 2008, posted $25,000 bail and disappeared. A year later, someone alerted law enforcement that he was fishing under the Umatilla River bridge in Umatilla. Since then, he has been in the Umatilla County jail.
He said in court he is innocent and plans to appeal.