Some Black Friday shoppers in Kennewick got an unwelcome surprise when they returned to their vehicles and found thieves had stolen their recently purchased items.
Four thefts from vehicles were reported Friday to Kennewick police, and two additional car prowl cases were reported Saturday and Sunday in residential neighborhoods, said Sgt. Ken Lattin.
Some items stolen included a 40-inch flat screen TV, a Garmin GPS unit and new clothes.
In the four thefts in store parking lots, the items were left out in plain view, Lattin said. The thieves either broke a window to swipe the goods or in some cases, the car was left unlocked, he said.
Early Sunday, one victim caught a thief in his car in the 8900 block of West Rio Grande Avenue and detained the suspect until police arrived.
Numerous stolen items, along with marijuana, were recovered by officers.
Robert Morrison, 47, of Richland, was arrested and booked into the Benton County jail on suspicion of vehicle prowling, criminal trespassing, possessing stolen property and possessing marijuana.
Kennewick police volunteers, CHIPS (Citizens Helping in Police Services) have started their annual parking lot patrols to try to keep an eye out for thieves in parking lots and can call officers when they spot something suspicious.
But, Sgt. Lattin said, shoppers should remember to "lock it when you leave it" and keep valuable items out of sight in the trunk.
Man allegedly siphons gas, flees in rowboat
A man suspected of siphoning gas from a vehicle in Richland early Monday managed to avoid arrest -- at least for now -- by rowing down the river.
"This is the first time I've heard of anyone fleeing in a rowboat," said Richland police Capt. Mike Cobb.
Officers were called at 3:20 a.m. about a suspect siphoning gas in the 2400 block of Robertson Road, Cobb said.
The witness got a license plate for the suspect's vehicle and a couple of minutes later, a patrol supervisor spotted the car in the area.
The driver sped away, but after a short chase, the officer stopped pursuing him for safety reasons, Cobb said.
Officers were able to get a possible ID on the suspect from the license plate and went to the 55-year-old West Richland man's home on North Yakima River Drive.
When they got there, they heard some noises by the river and saw a man matching the suspect's description in a rowboat on the river.
The man, who has not been arrested, is wanted on a misdemeanor theft charge, Cobb said.
Police think Walla Walla robberies could be linked
Walla Walla police are investigating another robbery -- the fourth since October -- at an area business.
It is not known if the suspect is responsible for all of the robberies, but Walla Walla police Officer Tim Bennett said the description of the suspects are similar.
This time, the suspect entered the Baskin Robbins, 2003 Isaacs St., at 5:45 p.m. Sunday, displayed a knife and demanded cash, Bennett said.
The suspect grabbed an undisclosed amount of cash from the register before running away. No one was hurt.
If the robberies are connected, Bennett said this is the first time the robber has displayed a knife.
Police still are investigating robberies at Tom's Southgate Chevron on Nov. 13, Los Tapatios Market on Nov. 3 and the Taj Food Mart on Oct. 26.
In those three robberies, the suspect displayed a gun before getting away with cash. The suspect also ran out of the stores but was seen riding away on a bicycle in the first two hold-ups.
Anyone with information on the robberies can call Walla Walla police at 509-527-1960.
-- Paula Horton: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org