Cowlitz Co. Sheriff's Office
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News Releases
Update: #1: Other suspects named: Sheriff Deputies arrest Castle Rock man for shooting up logging equipment and a water truck used for fire-fighting. - 08/26/15
Update #1.

The other two individuals that were with Mr. Jacob J. Howe, when he shot the equipment are:

1) Devin R. Swanson, 18 years of Kelso.
2) Logan T. Holland, 16 years of Castle Rock.

Both Swanson and Holland were questioned and released and charges are forthcoming for their involvement in the destruction, thefts and trespassing.

The search warrant was executed at Howe's residence not at Swanson's residence as previously reported. Most of the stolen property was recovered at Howe's residence. All three were cooperative with deputies.

----------Previous release -----------------

8-25-15: Cowlitz Sheriff's Office was advised last Monday by C&C logging out of Longview that someone has shot up two of their large logging processors and a fire fighting water truck that was on a logging site east of Kelso. They also stole tools and equipment from the logging site.

The investigation led to the arrest of Jacob Howe, 19 years, of Castle Rock, Washington. He will be booked in the Cowlitz County Jail for:

1) Malicious Mischief first degree (Felony).
2) Theft in the third degree (Gross Misdemeanor).

The investigation is still on-going. In addition to HOWE, 3 other men and one juvenile male have been questioned. Three of them are likely to face criminal charges for their actions. The exact charges for each of the other 3 people will be decided by the deputies in consult with the prosecuting attorney.

The investigation reveals that Swanson went up in to the woods did extensive damage that included: Shooting up two large computerized log processors valued at over $600,000 each, causing $10,000 to $20,000 in damage.
- Shooting up a water truck that was on site used for fire-fighting.
- They poured buckets of oil out by rolling them off hills after removing the lids.
- Steeling fire extinguishers, radio equipment and tools.

A search warrant was executed on Swanson residence in the Castle Rock area and a shotgun was recovered that is believed to have been used to shoot up the equipment. Deputies also recovered stolen equipment from Swanson's house.

We do not have pictures to release at this time. Questions regarding court appearance for Swanson are referred to Cowlitz County Court.
Cowlitz Sheriff Detectives arrest mother + daughter for lottery ticket theft, husband to turn himself in. - 08/19/15
Longview, Wash - Cowlitz Sheriff Deputies were contacted by Dave Brar, the owner of the Boondox Market at 4604 Ocean Beach Hwy in January of 2015. He reported catching an employee stealing thousands of dollars of lottery tickets. Store video also shows her husband and daughter in on the scheme. The employee, Wendy Anne Johnson, 55 years of Longview, and her husband, Rory D Johnson, 53 years, of Longview are seen on the video multiple times taking books of $20 scratch tickets from the register draw and scratching off the bar codes and then scanning them to see if they were winners and then cashing in the winners. The winning tickets were cashed in at the Boondox Market as well as at numerous other retailers in Southwest Washington by the Johnsons.

The investigation shows that Rory and Windy took over $27,400 worth of lottery tickets between December 2014 and January 2015. During the period while Wendy was employed in 2014, the store's lottery tickets consumption jumped up to $333,000 in 2014, compared to $173,950 in 2013 which was prior to Wendy's employment. The video also shows Wendy givng her daughter Carlie Marie Johnson, 21 years of Longview, free groceries and cash from the register till. Based on video, it is estimated that Wendy gave Carlie $3753.00 in cash and almost $1281 in groceries without paying for them. Rory also is estimated to have received $3,509 in cash. The total estimated loss between December of 2014 and January 20156 is at least $35,943. Carlie Johnson had previously worked at the store as well.

Wendy and Carlie were booked in to the Cowlitz County Jail on Organized Retail Theft 1St Degree, no bail. Rory Johnson has spoken with detectives and said he will turn himself in tomorrow morning [August 20th, 2015].

The Washington State Lottery Commission provided an investigator who worked closely with Cowlitz Sheriff Detectives on the case.

We have no pictures to release.

Questions regarding the court appearances should be directed to the Cowlitz County Court.
Cowltiz Sheriff reports father drowns saving his 9 year old son on the Toutle River. - 08/01/15
Toutle, Wash - On 08-01-15 around 1516 a Toutle Firefighter was flagged down at milepost 19 Spirit Lake Memorial Highway. The person reported there had been a drowning near that location. The victim, Benjamin A. Brooks, 35 years of Toledo, had been underwater for approximately 30mins at that time. Toutle Fire, Castle Rock Fire, Cowlitz Sheriff Deputies and Cowlitz Dive Rescue members responded to the scene. The location was on the Toutle River a few miles east of Toutle.

Mr. Brooks and his wife, Linda, and kids were swimming in the area when their son had an issue swimming. Benjamin, Linda and their daughter jumped in the water to assist the son. All four struggled to swim and stay afloat. The son was climbing on his father when he pushed his son towards the shore. Linda was able to get her son to safety with the assistance of her daughter. Benjamin had gone underwater and did not make it to shore. Linda's daughter jumped back in to assist her father but she was unable to locate him. Linda's daughter exited the water and went to the Highway to find help. No one was wearing life jackets.

Cowlitz County Dive Team located Benjamin underwater near the point where was last seen.