Victim count climbs in ’breaking’ case

Two nights of vandalism caused $20,000 in residential damage

Hood River law enforcement agencies scrambled last week to compile reports as the victim count steadily climbed from a recent window-breaking crime spree.

District Attorney John Sewell said the final tally shows that 53 windows were broken within the city limits on Jan. 4 and 13 in outlying areas of the county. He said the damages to cars, businesses and homes is estimated at more than $20,000 and many victims will have to pay replacement costs out of their own pocket because of high insurance deductibles.

The two men suspected of committing the acts of criminal mischief with sling shots and ball bearings were arrested within 24 hours of the incidents.

Scott Edward Giles, 21, a former Hood River resident who was on leave from his tour in the U.S. Air Force, and Jonathan Oliver Lane, 20, of Parkdale are both awaiting their official indictment by the grand jury.

That process has become slightly more complex since Sewell became a victim when his car window was shattered.

Because of that direct involvement in the case, the lead law enforcement official in the county believes he is “ethically prohibited” from prosecuting the cases. He has turned that task over to Michael Slauson, counsel with the Criminal Justice Division of the Attorney General’s Office.

“Because of the sheer volume of paperwork it has taken a little more time to obtain the finished report that will now be turned over to Mr. Slauson so a grand jury date can be set to keep the case proceeding forward,” Sewell said.

Meanwhile, Lane has been conditionally released from jail and Giles was ordered to report back to duty at McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Wash., where he could face further sanctions.

Lieutenant Suzanne Ovel, McChord spokesperson, said the “highest code of conduct” is expected for all Armed Forces personnel.

She said Giles could face disciplinary action that ranges up to a general discharge. However, if he is facing already trial in a civilian court, Ovel said he will not also be subjected to a court marshal or other military legal action.

“We never want anyone to get into trouble but if anyone does commit a crime we want to be sure justice is served,” Ovel said.

Sewell said alcohol may have been a contributing factor in the recent crimes committed by Giles and Lane.

The pair were previously arrested as juveniles for spray painting graffiti around the community of Parkdale.

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