A Hood River citizen helped police nab a suspect during a chase down West Cascade Avenue on the morning of March 9.
After spotting Hood River County Detective Gerry Tiffany running after an unknown man, Randy Paasch decided to help. He immediately jumped out of his vehicle and tackled Mario Carlos Aguilar, 23, of Los Angeles, Calif., in the parking lot of the Cascade Commons Shopping Center. Police later learned that Aguilar was wanted on an oustanding warrant from Colorado on prior larceny charges.
"For him (Randy) to get involved like that took a lot of courage and I think it was great," said Tiffany.
While Tiffany's chase was underway, Community Resource Officer Aaron Jubitz had corraled the second suspect at the northern corner of Columbia River Bank where the pair had allegedly been attempting to cash stolen payroll checks. Within moments other city and county officers converged on the scene, although by that time the four to five other males who were believed to be involved in the crime had already fled.
Both Aguilar and Eric Garcilazo, 22, of Commerce, Calif., were arrested for their alleged attempt to cash checks taken from a trucking company based in Klickitat County. According to police reports, both gave false names at the time of their arrest but were later identified at NORCOR by fingerprints registered in a state data base.
"This was a case of community policing in action and that is the keystone to the future success of law enforcement in Hood River" said City Police Chief Tony Dirks.
Tiffany, who was off-duty at the time of the incident, said he happened to be driving by the bank when dispatch alerted police about the suspect activity. About that same time Jubitz pulled up to the scene and the group of young males in front of the bank bolted -- and so did the two suspects who had been standing at the driveup window attempting to make the false transaction.
City Officer Dan Garcia said both suspects, who had been staying in The Dalles, were found to be carrying six other checks with false identification matching the names listed on those bank notes. He said evidence collected in the pair's motel room appears to tie them to a theft ring in The Dalles that cashed between $12,000-$40,000 of stolen checks from the same trucking company on March 8. The Dalles police department confirmed that Aguilar and Garcilazo appear to be involved in both cases and an investigation is underway.
The two men were arraigned on Monday in Hood River Circuit Court on six counts of possession of forged identification, three counts of forgery, and three counts of attempted theft.