Cowlitz Co. Sheriff's Office
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News Releases
Update: New victims came forward in contractor scam of the elderly: Cowlitz Sheriff arrest man for defrauding 91 yr old longview woman out of $2500 for leaky window - 01/26/15
Update 1-26-15. New victims identified on case where Woodland man defrauded elderly victim in contractor scam after reading about the original report in the media last week.

Cowlitz Sheriff's Office Deputy Brady Spaulding arrested Chris McNicholas for new Fraud related charges. The new investigation stems from a case where a 79 year old Kelso man paid McNicholas $310 in advance for home repair work he never performed. McNicholas had been arrested earlier in the week for defrauding a 91 year old woman out of $2500 to fix her windows, but never did the work.
The latest reported victim, Mr. Richard Howell of Kelso, called the Sheriff's Office after reading about Mr. McNicholas's arrest last week. Mr. Howell was contacted by Mr. McNicnolas last November and gave him one check for $160 for an "extended warranty" of the windows that were installed in 2009. The windows were installed by "PCVR" (Pacific Coast Vinyl and Remodeling). Mr. McNicholas showed Mr. Howell paperwork from the purchase in 2009 to show he was representing "PCVR". McNicholas represented himself as a representative of "GTI" GreenTech Innovations Inc., who McNicholas claimed to have bought out or taken over "PCVR". Mr. Howell gave Mr. McNicholas a check for $160.00 in November 2014 as a down payment to fix a leak in his roof. Mr. Howell said that McNicholas never came back and never did any repair work. Both checks were cashed.
According to the Department of Revenue, none of these businesses are currently valid. "PCVR" Pacific Coast Vinyl and Remodeling: Closed back in 2011. "GTI" Green Tech Innovations: Closed September of 2013. "GTI" was listed as being owned by Geri Newberg, who is Mr. McNicholas's wife.
There is an additional victim, a 75 year old woman from Vancouver. She told Officers McNicholas did work for her back in 2006, and had not heard from him since the initial work was completed, until last week. She advised McNicholas contacted her out of the blue and came to her house. She provided McNicholas a check for $1000, after being talked into replacing the windows that were installed in 2006. After supplying McNicholas the check, she cancelled the check after growing suspicions. The next day McNicholas returned to her home and demanded more money. McNicholas went so far as telling her he would take her to the ATM to withdraw the money. McNicholas did not receive any funds. Mr. Nicholas has not been charged on this incident at this time as it is still under investigation.

Deputy Spaulding conducted a search warrant on Mr. McNicholas's vehicle today and located additional documents that indicate there are potentially numerous victims who have been defrauded by Mr. McNicholas. Mr. McNicholas is the suspect in several other Fraud investigations of the same circumstances through the Washington State Attorney General, Longview Police Department, and the Clark County Sheriff's Office. Victims in these cases are reported to have monetary loses ranging from a couple hundred dollars to the tens of thousands of dollars. There are likely to be additional charges that stem from these investigations. Any Media questions should make contact with Longview Police Department, Clark or Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office for questions regarding their respective cases.



------------------------------Old media release -----------------------------
Cowlitz Sheriff Deputy Danny O'Neill arrested Chris M, McNicholas yesterday for defrauding a 91 year old Longview woman out of $2500 to repair a window that was leaking, but never did any work.

McNicholas, 44years, Woodland, Washington got his first check from the victim for $1200 up front to fix the window. He returned a few days later and demanded $300 more. He later demanded $1000 more, which the victim paid. He then demanded $2500 more but at this point a financial advisor for the victim stepped in and helped the victim cancel that check.

The financial advisor also contacted a local window company who went to the house and gave an estimate of $400 to fix her window.

McNicholas never did any work for the victim. He was booked for Theft 2nd (felony) and Theft 3rd (Misdemeanor).

For the safety of the victim we are not identifying her or the financial advisor or other contractor at this time. The case in active.

We do not have photos to release.
Jury Scam - 01/23/15
Kelso, WA-

The Sheriff's Office has received a report of a jury service scam by the Cowlitz County Superior Court Clerk's Office.

A citizen reported that she had received a call from an unknown male caller advising her that she had missed jury duty, and a warrant had been issued for her arrest. The Clerk's Office confirmed that she had not received a jury service notice, and was not listed to serve jury duty at that time. No other information was requested by the caller, nor was any other questions asked of the citizen.

A couple of other calls of this nature have been reported to the Sheriff's Office, and deputies are looking into them as well. No other details are available on those calls.

The Clerk's Office notes that if you fail to report for Jury service, you may receive a call from the Jury Management Clerk requesting you to appear as quickly as possible to not delay a jury trial. You will NOT be contacted from the Sheriff's Office, you will NOT be asked for personal information or to pay any amount of money to release a warrant.

To blatantly refuse to serve as a juror is a misdemeanor offense according to Washington State RCW 2.36.170. However, you would first be notified by the Cowlitz County Clerk's Office of your failure to appear and if you refuse Jury service, the Courts would be notified and they would determine if further action were to take place. If a misdemeanor civil warrant were to be issued, a law enforcement office would serve it on you personally.

Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson reminds citizens that they should never give personal or financial information out over to phone.
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Update: Suspect pics released: Cowlitz Sheriff reports Robbery of Castle Rock couple, suspects steal marijuana and money (Photo) - 01/21/15
Update #2.

Photos of the 3 adult male suspects are being released. Two are white males and one is a black male. ONe suspect was wearing a black drawstring sweatshirt and blue jeans. One suspect has a red/orange coat/sweatshirt and silver stocking had with a black rim. The black male has a sweatshirt/coat with at least "1880" on it and what looks like possibly a camo stocking cap.

There is no known car associated with the suspects at this time.

UPDATE: There were 3 suspects, all believed to be male.

Cowlitz Sheriff is investigating a robbery of a Castle Rock couple at knife point in their home early today. The robbery happened at 7315 Old Pacific Hwy, about 1 mile north of Castle Rock Washington. There was a delay of about an hour as the couple drove to relatives in Longview before reporting the crime.
The robbers wore face masks and two of them were armed with knives as they threatened Amanda Dickerman, 21 years, and her partner Yuni Hernandez, 28 years . No one was injured in the robbery. The suspects are believed to be in their late 20's early 30's. The victims did not see any vehicle that the suspect may have used.
The Hernandez had a permit to grow medical marijuana at the site and the suspect stole about a gallon bag of marijuana as well as several hundred dollars of cash as well as the victim's cell phones.
Anyone who has any information on this case can call Deputy Tonissen at 360-577-3092. People who wish to remain anonymous should call crime stoppers at 360-577-1206.
1st Degree Robbery suspect arrested - 01/16/15
On January 16, 2015 Cowlitz County Sheriff Deputies assisted by Lower Columbia SWAT served a search warrant at 134 Oxbow Road, Woodland, WA. The search warrant was for suspects and evidence involved in a First Degree Robbery that occurred at a residence January 11th on Lewis River Road, Woodland, WA. Arrested at the home was a resident and robbery suspect Jason C. Neal, 47 years of age who was booked at the Cowlitz County Jail for Robbery 1st degree and 1st degree Unlawful Possession of a Firearm. Also arrested but unrelated to the robbery was Jeremy W. Henry, 36 years of age of Woodland who was booked at the Cowlitz County Jail for possession of drugs. Henry was also wanted on a Department of Corrections warrant. The investigation is continuing and more arrests are expected.

No further information will be released pending further investigation.
Free Boater Education Class - 01/15/15
The Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office Marine Division will be hosting another free Adventures in Boating certification course. Classes are open to any individual who needs to obtain a Washington State Boaters Education Card. The next class will be on Saturday, Feb 21st. This is the final class being offered until after the boating season ends in Sept. The class will run from 8am-3:30pm at the Cowlitz County Search and Rescue Building, 1800 Western Lane in Kelso. There is no cost to attend the class.

To Register: Contact Deputy Jordan Spencer at 360-577-3092 or email at spencerj@co.cowlitz.wa.us . This one day class will certify you to operate a vessel in the state of Washington.

Reminder: All vessel operators age 59 and younger must have a Washington Boaters Education Card to operate a vessel in Washington State. For additional information and resources, check out www.boatered.org.
Cowlitz Sheriff reports woman dies after her car hit by amtrak train 4 miles no. Kelso - 01/12/15
A woman was killed today about 5pm when her car was hit by a northbound Amtrak train. The collision occurred about 4 miles north of Kelso Washington. The woman was alone in the car when she was hit by the train at a railroad crossing.

The ID is not being released until the family is notified. The ID will be released by the Cowlitz County Coroner.

The railroad authorities were on scene and are cooperating with the investigation.

There will not be further information released tonight.

Media questions should be directed to Sheriff Nelson tomorrow. He can be reached at 360-577-3092.
Cowlitz County Sheriff: Paper deliverer falls out of truck, seriously injured. - 01/09/15
Today, Friday January 9th at about 4:00 a.m. a women accidentally fell out of the back of a pickup that was being driven by her brother and is in very serious condition with injuries to her head.

Female victim was in the back of a pickup with her boyfriend traveling on North Pacific Ave in North Kelso. Her brother was driving. All parties estimated speed to be between 5-12MPH. She slipped out the back. Boyfriend tried to grab her but couldn't. Driver didn't know she had fallen out until hearing boyfriend starts yelling.

Victim is 36yoa Melinda Ellsworth. She has a skull fracture to the back of her head, bruises to the front and face, and maybe chest area. She was in route to SW Medical about 0715HRSthis morning.

Driver is Thomas Ellsworth, 43yrs. He fully cooperated with the investigation, including consenting to blood draw. Investigators see no indication of intoxication.

There are no plans for charges against the driver at this time.

(City of residence for people is not known at this time).
(There are no photos or video being released at this time).

(***** CR is not available to take calls, please text questions. *****
Cowlitz Sheriff conducting death investigation - 01/08/15
Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office received a call yesterday late afternoon from a man reporting that his cousin was deceased at 5038 Pacific Way in Longview (Wash). Deputies responded and found a man dead in the house. There was no one else in the house. The deceased has been turned over to the coroner a few hours ago. Sheriff Detectives and the Coroner are still on scene conducting the investigation. There is an autopsy scheduled for later tonight.

Because this case is ongoing and the autopsy has not been completed we will not be releasing any further details until later tonight.

CCD Rosenzweig states, "There is no indication at this time that the public should be unduly concerned about this area, or about the death at this time. We expect will be releasing more information later tonight, but that is dependent if we can complete the investigation a the scene as well as what we learn from the autopsy that is pending. "