WALLA WALLA — City police arrested Nicholas Almiron on Sunday, ending the what appears to have been a veritable one-man crime spree.
After his arrest, police found evidence linking Almiron, 20, with as many as 30 vehicle prowls in the Walla Walla Valley and multiple credit and debit card thefts that were being investigated by the Walla Walla Police Department.
The first break in the case came from a tip from Pasco police, reporting a debit card stolen from a vehicle in Pasco. The debit card was used in Walla Walla, including to buy a PlayStation 3 at Walmart in College Place.
“We get these kind of reports almost every day,” said city police Sgt. Matt Wood.
Walla Walla police Officer Jeremy Maiuri requested video surveillance records from Walmart, and Walmart staff recognized Almiron as a suspect in another credit card fraud investigation.
Video from both investigations showed Almiron with a woman, identified by Walmart loss prevention agent Christine Brooks as an employee at a local business.
Mauiri identified the woman through the business’s management, and obtained a phone number, which Mauiri linked to a Craigslist advertisement for an expensive camera.
Wood said the camera in question matched the description of a camera reported stolen.
“He was advertising property on Craigslist for sale,” Wood said, adding the camera was only one of several items. “It’s something we check on.”
Posing as an interested buyer, Mauiri spoke by phone with a man who identified himself as Nicholas Almiron, according to the probable cause affidavit filed in Walla Walla County Superior Court. A driving record search turned up a photo for Almiron that matched the surveillance video from Walmart.
Walla Walla police served a search warrant at Almiron’s home at 412 S. Eighth Ave., where they found numerous items believed to be stolen, most linked to vehicle prowls in the Valley, police said.
According to Wood, Almiron was cooperative during the search of his home, and identified many of the items as stolen, including a $5,000 camera he had hidden in his stove, and a Glock, 9mm caliber handgun.
“He assisted us in identifying stolen property,” Wood said.
Other items police believe are stolen property include a case of wine reported stolen from a Zerba Cellars truck, 20 pairs of sunglasses, televisions and computers.
Wood added that many of the items had names written on them that don’t correspond with any theft reports filed with the Police Department.
“That’s something we’ll have to look into as the investigation continues,” Wood said.
Police also found numerous small bags of marijuana and an electronic scale in the home, according to court documents.
Almiron was charged in Superior Court, Monday, with first-degree theft, first-degree possession of stolen property, possession of a stolen firearm, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and trafficking of stolen property.
According to Wood, the case is still under investigation, and could result in more charges, and possible arrests.