Couple in Benton County jail for allegedly stealing holiday packages

RICHLAND — Two suspected Grinches were sitting in the Benton County jail Monday after allegedly stealing holiday packages from several Richland homes.

Richland police in recent days received reports of Federal Express and UPS packages believed to have been stolen from the recipients who said they had expected packages that never arrived.

One resident reportedly found an empty box from another mail theft victim along with a receipt inside that police said led them to Dustin A. Stacks, 21, of Richland.

Police got a search warrant for a home on the 1600 block of Van Giesen Street, and early Saturday morning reportedly found stolen property, several items of mail and drugs inside the home.

Police said Stacks admitted to stealing packages along with his girlfriend, Brittany Tilton, 21, of Yakima.

The couple reportedly admitted to stealing about a dozen packages in Richland and West Richland during the past two weeks, police said.

Stacks and Tilton were booked on suspicion of second-degree theft.

Anyone who believes they have been a victim of mail theft should call the Richland Police Department at 628-0333.

4 in jail after police find $30,000 worth of pot

Three Mid-Columbia men and a Seattle resident were jailed in The Dalles after Oregon State Police reportedly found $30,000 worth of marijuana in their car.

Police arrested Eduardo Munoz Garcia, 32, of Hermiston; Eric Sanchez Martinez, 27, of Seattle; Efrein Estrada Morales, 19, of Boardman; and Onofre Ibarra Estrada, 23, of Irrigon.

They were reportedly caught with more than 12 pounds of pot in large garbage bags when the 1996 Jeep Cherokee driven by Garcia was stopped for a traffic violation on Interstate 84 at 11:07 p.m. last Tuesday.

Garcia, Morales and Estrada were booked on suspicion of marijuana possession and delivery.

Martinez was booked on the drug charges plus suspicion of being a fugitive from justice and giving false information to a police officer.

Officials looking for 2 men accused of shoplifting

Police in Washington and Oregon are looking for two men suspected of a recent two-state theft spree.

The two men allegedly shoplifted from a store in Kennewick on Nov. 30, and in Pendleton and La Grande on Dec. 3 and 6, said Mike Blatman of the Kennewick Police Department.

The suspects were seen in a blue 2007 Saturn Ion with an Oregon license plate of 124-DHK -- which was reported stolen from Pendleton before the first theft.

Tips can be called into 586-8477 or 800-222-8477 or online at www.tricitiescrimestoppers.org. Callers do not have to give their names. Crime Stoppers pays rewards of up to $1,000.

Sunnyside man killed after car runs stop sign

An 89-year-old Sunnyside man was killed Monday when he reportedly ran a stop sign and crashed into another car.

Elmer C. Schilperoort was driving a 1999 Mercury Marquis westbound on East Edison Avenue at Highway 241 when he reportedly failed to stop at 1:34 p.m., the Washington State Patrol said.

Schilperoort hit the 2005 Jeep Cherokee driven northbound on 241 by Gerardo Martinez-Tafoya, 28, of Sunnyside.

Schilperoort died at Sunnyside Community Hospital, troopers said.

Martinez-Tafoya was not hurt.

Troopers do not believe drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.

-- Michelle Dupler: 509-582-1543; mdupler@tricityherald.com