Car thieves shut behind bars

Two car thieves pleaded guilty in Hood River Circuit Court last week to separate crimes.

Hood River District Attorney John Sewell said the cases highlight the many problems that arrive in the local community via freeway travelers.

“A significant number of our cases arise from people coming off Interstate 84 and that ties up manpower, time, and money for all of our law enforcement agencies,” he said.

Delbert Calkins, 23, of Portland, and Gabriel Baker, 27, of Myrtle Creek both pleaded guilty on Nov. 25 for their respective actions. The two men had prior criminal histories and were arrested within a one-week period in early November after attempting to elude police in stolen vehicles.

“It was so unusual to have such similar cases like this in the same week, especially when neither suspect was from around here,” said Sewell.

Baker not only admitted to unauthorized use of a vehicle but to theft, both felony offenses. He was ordered by Judge Donald Hull to spend 13 months in prison, followed by one year of post-prison supervision. Calkins was placed behind jail bars for 30 days and given 18 months of supervised probation, with conditions that he not consume intoxicants or associate with users. He had also admitted in court to possessing an illegal amount of Pseudoephedrine, a cold medicine that is used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

On Nov. 5, police used search dogs and a helicopter to track Baker after he ran into a wooded area near Frankton Road. Officers took up the chase after they learned that the 1997 white Ford Mustang he had parked on Country Club Road had been stolen. They began investigating his actions after being alerted by a Wal-Mart employee that Baker had returned to the store after attempting to steal about $2,000 of electronic equipment two days earlier.

Although Baker had left the scene by the time they arrived, police located the vehicle and then launched a full-scale search and found him several hours later. About $800 of CDs and electronic goods from Wal-Mart were found during a search of the car.

On Nov. 1 Calkins had been jailed after fleeing a police pursuit that ended when he crashed into a parked car in downtown Hood River. During the chase he also rammed into a police patrol car, causing at least $750 of damage. The incident began when a Safeway employee reported that Calkins had run out of the business without paying for more than $50 in grocery items.

The missing merchandise ranged from beef steaks to toothpaste, film and deodorant. The chase was on when the officers located the suspect’s 1998 Plymouth Voyager a short distance away from the store.

He was apprehended after he jumped out of the stolen van and ran toward the Second Street overpass on foot.

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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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