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Court roundup: Well-drilling worker accused of misusing fuel cards

An employee with a well drilling company is accused of using his fuel card and the cards of two other employees to purchase $15,000 in gas.

Nathan Donald Rufus Sherbahn, 26, used the cards not only for his personal vehicle, but also to help gas up family and friends' cars, prosecutors allege.

Sherbahn pleaded innocent Wednesday in Benton County Superior Court to one count of first-degree theft. His trial is March 19.

Court documents show Sherbahn has a post office box in Burbank, but don't give an actual street address.

According to the documents filed last week by Deputy Prosecutor Brendan Siefken, Sherbahn was working for Carpenter Drilling when the theft occurred between June 11 and July 15.

He was issued a company fuel card and was authorized to use it to buy gas for company business. The company later discovered the alleged theft.

Carpenter Drilling's projects have included helping to drill 305 wells at Hanford with federal economic stimulus money as a subcontractor for CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co.

Sherbahn, when contacted by a Benton County sheriff's deputy, reportedly admitted to the unauthorized use of his fuel card and added that he took two cards from other employees to use as well, court documents said.

Hermiston pair enter innocent pleas to theft, drug charges

A Hermiston pair pleaded innocent to allegations they stole $1,361 in jewelry and other merchandise from Macy's just days after Christmas.

Martin Edward Maher and Ofelia Lucinda Ramirez are each charged with second-degree organized retail theft and possession of methamphetamine.

Maher also has a third charge for resisting arrest, because he ignored Kennewick police Officer Paul Reynold's orders to stop and had to be shocked by a Taser as he continued to run away.

The trial date for Maher, 36, is set for Feb. 21.

Ramirez's trial was scheduled March 19, though prosecutors said they may set another hearing to change her court dates so they match Maher's dates.

Officials say it started at 7 p.m. Dec. 28 when loss prevention officers at Macy's called police to the Columbia Center mall after watching Maher -- whom they had previously suspected of shoplifting -- and Ramirez concealing merchandise.

The security officers tried to detain the pair after they left the store, but only could catch Ramirez. Maher took off running, and ended up being pursued through the mall parking lot by Reynolds, who was driving his patrol car with his lights and siren turned on, documents said.

At some point, Maher allegedly dropped a bag of stolen items.

Reynolds got out of his car, yelled, "Stop, police!" and repeatedly told Maher he would use his Taser if he didn't stop. Yet, Maher continued to run and even tried to get back inside the mall, court documents said.

That is when Reynolds shocked him. Maher reportedly had stolen jewelry on him when he was arrested.

Officers learned that more stolen property already had been put into the couple's vehicle, which was found in the Macy's parking lot, said Kennewick police.

The truck was impounded and later searched, turning up merchandise with tags still attached along with a glass pipe with white residue and a baggie of meth, documents said.

Ramirez was being booked into the Benton County jail when a female officer found green plant matter and a white substance inside Ramirez's bra, documents said. Thesubstances reportedly tested positive for marijuana and meth.

When interviewed afterher arrest, Ramirez said she earlier had returned about $300 in merchandise to Macy's that Maher had given her, and she planned to keep the gift card with the credit, court documents said.

When police asked her why she would hold items for Maher knowing he was stealing, Ramirez reportedly said, "Well, he was my ride," documents said.

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