Cowlitz Co. Sheriff's Office
Emergency Messages as of 6:33 am, Wed. Sep. 17
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News Releases
3 local business contacted by caller who fraudulently represented local power company to get payment - 09/11/14
The Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office is investigating fraud cases where two local business owners received a call from a person saying they were from the Cowlitz PUD and that the people were behind in their PUD bill and needed to go to Rite Aid and purchase a prepaid credit card or the PUD would shut off their power. One customer, Robin Austreng who owns the Lone Fir Tavern went to Rite Aid to purchase the card, but was warned by the Rite Aid Employee that this was probably a scam and She did not purchase the card. The other victim, Amy Schlecht who owns Lexi's Pizza in Lexington got a similar call but did not purchase a card and called the PUD who confirmed it was a scam. We are learning that other agencies are investigating similar cases, but it is too early to know more details about these cases.

Cowlitz PUD is working with Sheriff Detectives on the investigation.

Dave Andrew of Cowlitz PUD states "Cowlitz PUD is very concerned to hear that its customers are being contacted and threatened to pay a PUD bill on the spot," said Dave Andrew, PUD Director of Customer Service. "In cases where our customers happen to be delinquent on a bill, our practice is to mail a notice first and allow the customer to make a payment arrangement or pay in a reasonable amount of time. No demands to make an immediate payment are made the PUD. That's not how we do business.

"If anyone receives such a call to pay their bill, just end the call. Then call 360-423-2210 during regular business hours and ask for the PUD's Customer Service Department to review the account and to let us know any key details about the call," Andrew said.

Detectives indicate that early leads are showing the callers are out of state. Anyone who believes they are the victim of this kind of fraud should call their local law enforcement where they live.
Boat operator certification course - 09/11/14
Due to high demand the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office Marine Division will be hosting another Adventures in Boating certification course. Classes are open to any individual who needs to obtain a Washington State Boaters Education Card. All vessel operators age 59 and younger must have a Washington Boaters Education Card to operate a vessel in Washington State. The next class is scheduled for October 11th at the Cowlitz County Search and Rescue Building, 1800 Western Lane in Kelso. To register contact Deputy Jordan Spencer at 360-577-3092 or spencerj@co.cowlitz.wa.us. Deadline to register is October 8th. The class is FREE.
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2014-09/1503/77455/RV_Fraud_male_blue_shirt_Tilted.jpg
Photos of Credit Card Fraud suspects over $30k worth of fraudulent purchases being investigated (Photo) - 09/03/14
The Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office is seeking the public's assistance in identifying the pictured individuals. These subjects have committed fraudulent credit card purchases at retail locations not only in Cowlitz County of also between Portland Oregon and Los Angeles California. Dozens of victims have been identified with a financial loss of over $30k. Information obtained throughout the investigation suggests these suspects placed a credit card skimming device on a gas pump in a rural Cowlitz County area.

If you have any information about this case or can identify these individuals you are encourage to contact Detective Stumph at the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office (360)577-3092. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can also call Cowlitz Crime Stoppers at 360-577-1206.
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2014-08/1503/77266/a14-2570_male.jpg
Cowlitz Sheriff Detectives release photos of credit card fraud suspects (Photo) - 08/27/14
The Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office is attempting to identify the above individuals related to a credit card fraud investigation. The female suspect is wearing a black and green jacket, White hat, and black and white shirt. The male in the white shirt were caught on video surveillance using my victim's credit card. The age, height, and weight of each suspect is not known. They made purchases at a Walmart in Longview and in Chehalis. They may be associated with an older model white station wagon (unknown make or model).

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Cowlitz County Sheriff Detective Rob Stumph at 360-677-3092
Sheriff's Office to conduct FREE boating education class - 08/26/14
Do you need your boaters card? The Cowlitz County Sheriffs Office Marine Division will be hosting an Adventures in Boating certification course. Classes are open to any individual who needs to obtain a Washington State Boaters Education Card. The next class is scheduled for Sept 6th, 2014 from 8:00am to 4:30pm. The class will be held at the Cowlitz County Search and Rescue Building, 1800 Western Lane in Kelso. The cost for the class is FREE.

To Register: Contact Deputy Jordan Spencer at 360-577-3092. Registration deadline is Thursday Sept 4th. 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.
update#3:drowning victim located: victim ID:Divers unable to locate victim search continue tomorrow...Cowlitz and Clark Counties conducting Searh and Rescue for Missing Swimmer on Yale Lake - 08/24/14
8-24-14 1:30pm. Divers located the victim from yesterdays drowning shortly before noon. Skamania County Sheriff's Office sent 6 divers and a boat. Clark County Sheriff sent two boats and Cowlitz County Sheriff sent one boat and Cowlitz Dive Rescue sent two divers. The family was notified.

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8-23-14 11:30pm. The victim that is missing and presumed drowned is Stephen. W. Rilea. 22 years. Of Vancouver, Wa.

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Update 8-23-14 7:30 pm.. divers from Cowlitz Dive were unable to locate the victim after 2 dives spent over an hour under water searching for the victim.

The search will resume tomorrow morning with divers and boats from the Cowlitz Clark and Skamania county dive rescue teams.

We will release the name of the victim in a few hours.

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et 11:38 AM this morning, the Cowlitz County 911 center received a call from Beaver Bay Campground that a 22 year old male was seen swimming in Yale Lake near the park entrance and had gone under water about 50 feet from shore and not come up. A Clark County Sheriff's Boat was dispatched along with fire units and Cowlitz County Sheriff's Deputies and Cowlitz County Dive Rescue. At this time, Search and Rescue operations are still ongoing. The subject's identity is known but is not being released at this time.
Further updates will be published should there be a successful recovery or a suspension of Search and Rescue Operations for the evening.