Citizen aids police in capturing suspect

A Hood River citizen helped police nab a suspect during a chase down West Cascade Avenue on the morning of March 9.

After spotting Hood River County Detective Gerry Tiffany running after an unknown man, Randy Paasch decided to help. He immediately jumped out of his vehicle and tackled Mario Carlos Aguilar, 23, of Los Angeles, Calif., in the parking lot of the Cascade Commons Shopping Center. Police later learned that Aguilar was wanted on an oustanding warrant from Colorado on prior larceny charges.

"For him (Randy) to get involved like that took a lot of courage and I think it was great," said Tiffany.

While Tiffany's chase was underway, Community Resource Officer Aaron Jubitz had corraled the second suspect at the northern corner of Columbia River Bank where the pair had allegedly been attempting to cash stolen payroll checks. Within moments other city and county officers converged on the scene, although by that time the four to five other males who were believed to be involved in the crime had already fled.

Both Aguilar and Eric Garcilazo, 22, of Commerce, Calif., were arrested for their alleged attempt to cash checks taken from a trucking company based in Klickitat County. According to police reports, both gave false names at the time of their arrest but were later identified at NORCOR by fingerprints registered in a state data base.

"This was a case of community policing in action and that is the keystone to the future success of law enforcement in Hood River" said City Police Chief Tony Dirks.

Tiffany, who was off-duty at the time of the incident, said he happened to be driving by the bank when dispatch alerted police about the suspect activity. About that same time Jubitz pulled up to the scene and the group of young males in front of the bank bolted -- and so did the two suspects who had been standing at the driveup window attempting to make the false transaction.

City Officer Dan Garcia said both suspects, who had been staying in The Dalles, were found to be carrying six other checks with false identification matching the names listed on those bank notes. He said evidence collected in the pair's motel room appears to tie them to a theft ring in The Dalles that cashed between $12,000-$40,000 of stolen checks from the same trucking company on March 8. The Dalles police department confirmed that Aguilar and Garcilazo appear to be involved in both cases and an investigation is underway.

The two men were arraigned on Monday in Hood River Circuit Court on six counts of possession of forged identification, three counts of forgery, and three counts of attempted theft.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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