Man in SUV nicks nicotine at Windmaster


News staff writer

July 8, 2006

Windmaster Market is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a cigarette thief.

Hood River County Sheriff Deputy Matt English believes the driver of a white pickup might be able to shed more light on the case.

He said that individual passed the dark-colored SUV belonging to the suspect on June 28. The full-size truck was traveling in the eastbound lane of Barrett Drive shortly after 5 a.m.

A surveillance video showed the pickup rolling up to the stop sign at the Windmaster intersection. Moments later, the suspect pulled his vehicle out of the parking lot into the westbound lane.

“We think the individual in the pickup might be able to provide us with some valuable information,” said English.

He said the modus operandi of the recent burglary is the same as cigarette heists from Cascade Locks businesses during the past year.

The male thief was wearing dark clothing that makes him difficult to view on the surveillance tape. He gained entry onto the premises by using a large rock to break out the glass in the front door. Once inside, he managed to stuff about $1,150 of cigarettes into a bag within only a few moments.

The deputy said the cost for Windmaster to repair the shattered glass was estimated at $800. Manager Russ Gray decided to post the reward in hopes of stopping further criminal activity.

English is hopeful that, with commuter traffic heavy near Windmaster in the morning hours, someone will come forward with a new lead.

He said store employees arrived within three minutes of the burglar being inside the store. And the potential for an encounter with an uncertain outcome also concerned law enforcement officials.

“This man doesn’t seem to be concerned about surveillance or alarms. It is highly likely that he is linked to other unsolved cases,” said English.

Anyone noting suspicious activity around Windmaster on June 28 is asked to call the non-emergency dispatch line at 386-2711.

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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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