Kitsap Crime and Justice

The Kitsap Sun staff writes about crime and criminal justice issues.
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Archive for December, 2012

Sixty-eight bottles of booze seized by police; shoplifting investigation continues

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

The police investigation against a cadre of suspected liquor thieves continues. In the meantime, Port Orchard Police Commander Geoff Marti sent over a few pictures from the results of the search warrant investigators served on the SUV the suspects were riding around in. Have a look at all 68 bottles’ worth.

That’s a lot of Grey Goose.

It’s been a taxing year on the shoplifting front for newly-empowered liquor retailers in the state, following the implementation of Initiative 1183. In Kitsap County alone, three cases in which groups of shoplifters purloined bottles of booze are pending.

The problem spurred the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs to write the state’s Liquor Control Board, asking the board to make retailers track and report their liquor thefts. After a rule-making process, that will start to happen. Then, we’ll truly see just how much of a problem liquor theft has been.

 


There’s a new (K-9) sheriff in town

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office has a new member, of the four-legged variety. Titan, a two-year-old German shepherd, has officially signed into service as a tracking dog and is partnered up with Kitsap County Sheriff’s Deputy Joe Hedstrom.

Bringing Titan into the office would not have been possible without a $5,000 donation from the Peninsula Dog Fancier’s Club of Kitsap County, deputies said in a news release.

The dog was born in Germany in 2010 and imported to America in the summer, through Von Grunheide Shepherds of Snohomish.

Hedstrom is no stranger to K-9 handling. He partnered with and trained Ajax, a German shepherd who worked the beat four years amassing 112 captures. But a neck injury forced Ajax to retire early. He now lives at Hedstrom’s home.


A bizarre and tragic coincidence: there are two Israel Keyes

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

In August 2008, a former North Kitsap man named Israel W. Keyes was reported to have shot and killed his girlfriend, Alexia Laslo, and her son, Michael Tasako, before killing himself, in Sanders County, Montana. 

In a bizarre turn of events this week, a self-professed serial killer died in an apparent suicide in an Alaska jail this week. His name is also Israel Keyes, though he was 34.

The news this week made at least one Kitsap Sun reader wonder about the death. After doing some research, we can confirm that while strange and while tragic, there were two Israel Keyes, one who reportedly killed himself in Montana after shooting two people and another who died this week, after he disclosing to the FBI that he killed four people in Washington between 2001 and 2006.


Bremerton city attorney drops pot cases

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

The Bremerton city attorney has dismissed about 20 simple possession marijuana cases in the wake of Initiative 502′s passage. 

City Attorney Roger Lubovich said his office was waiting until Dec. 6, an ounce of pot for adults 21 and older became legal in the state. He said the dismissals were limited to those charged with just misdemeanor possession, and not in cases where multiple crimes were charged.

Bremerton’s municipal court handles misdemeanor cases that occur within the city. The Kitsap County Prosecutor’s office handles all felony cases in the county and misdemeanor cases outside Bremerton. The office has a contract for prosecutorial services with Port Orchard, Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island.

Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge had already announced his office was dropping misdemeanor pot cases in mid-November, resulting an estimated few dozen dismissals.

Interestingly, under the new state law, up to an ounce, or about 28 grams, is legal to possess for adults 21 and over. That means it’s still a misdemeanor to have between 28 and 40 grams of pot (that is, unless it’s in food or liquid form). Above 40 grams is still a felony.

 


On eve of pot legalization, a warning from the feds

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Pot, as you probably know, becomes legal to possess in Washington as of tomorrow. Initiative 502, passed by voters last month, allows adults 21 and older to have up to an ounce starting Dec. 6. (Don’t ask how one goes about getting marijuana, which is still illegal to sell, or distribute, or — unless you’re authorized under the state’s medical marijuana law — grow).

It’s the first state ever to do so — some are calling it “cannabiotic armistice day” — as Colorado’s legalization law, also passed this November, does not take effect until January. Later, the initiative calls for a system of growers, brokers and retail stores to sell pot.

But the looming cloud of uncertainty as to what the federal government, which still regards weed as a dangerous, unhealthy narcotic — will do in the wake of 502′s passage was lifted ever so slightly with a news release Wednesday. Here it is in its entirety. I’ll leave it to you to interpret it:

“The Department of Justice is reviewing the legalization initiatives recently passed in Colorado and Washington State.   The Department’s responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged.  Neither States nor the Executive branch can nullify a statute passed by Congress.  In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance.  Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on December 6th in Washington State, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law.  Members of the public are also advised to remember that it remains against federal law to bring any amount of marijuana onto federal property, including all federal buildings, national parks and forests, military installations, and courthouses.”


Liquor thefts may be up, but so are sales

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

 Turns out that while thefts of liquor from grocery stores are skyrocketing, sales are on the up, too. 

The state’s Department of Revenue reported Tuesday that liquor sales by volume were almost three percent higher during the first four months of privatization than they were a year earlier.

Get this: almost 13.6 million liters were sold from June through September, the first months of Initiative 1183′s impact, while 13.2 million liters were sold a year earlier in state liquor stores.

The Department of Revenue also announced that the taxes on liquor have pushed up their price. The average price for a liter — including taxes — was $24.09 in September. (Compare that to $21.58 when the state ran the business.)

Click here to see a monthly report on liquor sales.


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