Five Charged After Seven Stolen Cars and $100K Artifact Collection … – Centralia Chronicle

Cameron Probert / Tri-City Herald 

Seven vehicles, a 34-foot trailer and a $100,000 collection of artifacts and fossils are part of a stash of stolen property found recently in Franklin County.

Prosecutors charged five people in connection with what began with fleeing car near Eltopia West Road. It turned into the discovery of a cache of stolen property at a home and in two trailers littered with drug paraphernalia.

Eduardo Munoz, 30, allegedly led deputies to the property at 7809 Road 44 in Franklin County when he tried running from a sheriff’s deputy, according to court records.

Now, Munoz is facing the most charges, including attempting to elude police, vehicle theft and illegal gun possession.

His two roommates in the main home on the property, Jerome Wright, 36, and Sasha Brianna Betzen, 35, are also charged with having stolen property.

Wright faces an additional charge of possessing a stolen car.

Two others living on the property — Jaclyn R. Israel-Peterson, 33, and Amanda Rene Vogel, 32, — also are accused of having stolen property.

While it’s unclear if the items were taken by the suspects living there, court documents claim stolen items were often arriving and being taken from the site.

The list of pilfered property includes five vehicles, a 34-foot enclosed trailer, a sixth vehicle in a rural part of Franklin County and another vehicle at a Richland home, according to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

And a collection of artifacts and fossils valued at $100,000 was found at the Road 44 property.

Stolen car chase

The investigation began on Jan. 7 when the driver — later identified as Munoz — tried to elude Connell police. He was in a stolen Honda Civic Coupe last seen heading south on Highway 395, said court documents.

A Franklin County deputy reported seeing the car pass him on the highway near Eltopia West Road. Then the car appeared to stop on East Elm Street, before taking off again.

Deputies chased him on the highway and then on West Sagemoor, Glade North and Selph Landing roads at speeds of 50 to 65 mph, including times when Munoz crossed into the oncoming lane, said investigators.

Officers used a spike strip to flatten at least one of his tires and continued to follow him as it swerved erratically. Munoz finally stopped on Road 44, got out of the car and ran toward 7809 Road 44, showed court documents.

He was later found inside a Dodge pickup and was arrested.

Deputies also reported finding a sawed-off shotgun in the Honda Civic.

Search for stolen items

Police had already been keeping the property on Road 44 under surveillance because of its connection to multiple suspected vehicle thefts.

When police began looking around the property, they discovered the stolen vehicles and the collection of artifacts and fossils worth $100,000 reported stolen in Kennewick.

Part of the collection was stored in boxes that were in the backyard, exposed to the elements. Another portion was discovered inside a box in one of the trailers.

While court documents don’t say where the collection was stolen from, it said parts of the collection were found around the home. Several items were displayed in the master bedroom and in the entryway of the house.

Other pieces of the collection have yet to be found, said investigators.

Deputies also seized some drug paraphernalia scattered throughout the house and inside the RV trailers, including foil with burned residue, straws and narcotics packaging. They also discovered methamphetamine and “counterfeit oxycodone pills” suspected of containing fentanyl.

As deputies continued to investigate, they found another stolen car in northern Franklin County and one at a home in Richland connected to the case.

Sheriff’s officials said this week that it has been working with several people the Tri-Cities in an effort to return the property to its owners.


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