A Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office detective’s decision to check the license plate on an unoccupied vehicle led to the arrest of man who was allegedly in the process of stealing the car.
On April 9, UCSO Det. Loren Westmoreland was patrolling in the Hermiston area when he observed an unoccupied, red Honda Civic parked along East Punkin Center Road near North Ott Road.
He checked the license plate on the front of the car, which was registered to a Mercedes vehicle, not a Honda. Westmoreland also noted that the license plate on the rear was different, the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) plate on the dash had been removed and he could smell fresh paint on the car. And, according to the UCSO, the vehicle was parked near a residence where criminal activity occurs, and folks with outstanding warrants frequent.
Westmoreland located a VIN number on the car, and after checking a law enforcement database, learned that the Honda Civic was stolen from the city of Hermiston – and was supposed to be a white car, not red.
Just prior to the arrival on the scene of Deputy Jeff Brown, Westmoreland saw Frank Jessie Walker, 39, walking toward the Honda. Westmoreland is familiar with Walker and was aware that he had an outstanding felony arrest warrant.
He directed Walker to stop and told him he was under arrest. Walker turned away and began reaching for his waistline and into his pockets. Westmoreland and Brown took Walker into custody and found a knife in his pocket. Walker had fresh red paint on his clothing and a key on his person that started the stolen vehicle.
Four parole and probation officers from Umatilla County Community Corrections, including Nina Kik, Patty Arrington, Daniel Garcilazo-Madrigal, and Omar Silva, along with an Oregon State Police trooper and Hermiston Police Department detective also came to assist.
Within a few minutes, a person they recognized as Alexis Jose Ramos, 27, arrived in the area. Ramos had an active felony warrant for probation violation and the officers arrested him without incident.
The officers also located Codey Allen Sanders, 24, and Olivia Michelle Huxoll, 28, in the area. Both had felony probation/parole violation warrants and were arrested.