Man robs Comfort Suites hotel

A man wearing a ski mask tied up the clerk and made off with cash from the till at a West Cascade hotel in the early morning hours on Oct. 11.

The 3 a.m. robbery is being investigated by Hood River Police. According to Chief Neal Holste, the suspect entered the lobby of Comfort Suites, and demanded cash from the lone employee on duty. No one else was present.

The suspect brandished a handgun and what appeared to be a bomb, according to Holste.

The employee said the man held what looked like two aluminum cans taped together.

The employee gave a “small amount” of cash to the suspect, who then zip-tied the employee’s hands behind his back and told him not to call police for at least 10 minutes after he left or the bomb would go off.

The suspect was described as 5 feet, 10 inches tall and slender but “strong-looking build.” The employee believes him to be a white male of undetermined age. The suspect was wearing a black ski mask with triangle eye holes, and a dark sweat suit. He placed the money in a duffel bag. The employee did not see how or in what direction the suspect left the hotel grounds.

After 10 minutes, the employee called 9-1-1, and police responded within two minutes, Holste said. They checked the lobby and the area and found no bomb or other physical evidence.

“Right now we have no leads, and no information to go on besides what the employee told us,” Holste said.

Holste said Det. Mike Martin is talking with police in Gresham, Portland and Vancouver about recent similar robberies at hotels and motels in those cities, to determine any connection.

The hotel has a video surveillance but no recordings, and a look at neighboring businesses’ video systems provided no further evidence, according to Holste.

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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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