Hood River bank robber snared by FBI

A Hoquiam, Wash., man has pleaded guilty to the April 1 robbery of U.S. Bank in Hood River.

Thomas Austin Kinerk, 42, admitted last week in a Tacoma, Wash., federal court that he had stolen money from 17 banks in five states. He was tracked by the FBI to Yakima, Wash., and arrested for his crimes in late April.

According to reports, Kinerk became a suspect in the cases after he drove away from a Vancouver, Wash., bank in January and his license plate number was recorded by witnesses. At that time, Kinerk was already on parole in that state for a robbery conviction in 1997.

The federal agency has been working with local jurisdictions to track Kinerk’s whereabouts as he committed robberies in Kansas, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Colorado. However, the FBI declined to publicly release details about the arrest until Kinerk had been successfully prosecuted.

“We worked closely with the FBI for a successful resolution of this case and it is satisfying when a habitual criminal is put behind bars,” said Hood River Detective Andrew Rau.

In a series of robberies that began last November and continued until April 15, Kinerk stole $25,036, with his 16th known robbery in Hood River netting $2,800. In each incident, Kinerk handed the teller a note that demanded amounts of cash that ranged from about $500 to more than $4,000. According to reports, he never appeared to be armed and did not wear a mask, although he donned a baseball cap.

In only one scenario did Kinerk leave a bank without collecting cash. He fled from a lending institution in La Grande after the teller informed him she did not have the $20s, $50s, and $100s that he was demanding. She reportedly responded to his note by saying, “Good luck, because I don’t’ have any (large bills).”

Kinerk will be sentenced for his crimes on Oct. 9 and, as part of his settlement with the United States Attorney’s office in Seattle, his recommended prison term will be 17 years.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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