FROM A WWPD PRESS RELEASE:
The Walla Walla Police Department served a search warrant at 412 South 8th Avenue, recovering 115 items of stolen property and a marijuana grow operation that was being set up in the basement. Many of the recovered items were stolen during vehicle prowls over the last 4 months in the areas around Walla Walla and the Tri-Cities. Other recovered items were purchased with stolen credit and debit cards taken during those vehicle prowls.
Nicolas Almiron, 20, was taken into custody at the residence and is being held on numerous felony charges to include Theft 1st Degree, Possession of Stolen Property 1st Degree, Possession of a Stolen Firearm, Trafficking in Stolen Property, and Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana.
The investigation began approximately 4 months ago when law enforcement began investigating numerous cases of fraud, originating from credit cards being stolen during the commission of vehicle prowls in the Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and Umatilla counties. Several businesses were able to obtain surveillance video of the suspect, but were unable to determine his true identity. Businesses seldom check identification of customers during credit and debit card transactions.
A break in the case came when a store employee recognized a female with the suspect as working at a local restaurant. The restaurant manager was contacted who identified the female, which provided police an address and telephone number. After further investigation, the officer was granted a search warrant for the house, resulting in the recovery of over $15,000 in stolen items and many of the stolen credit and debit cards.
Recovered items include a Glock semi-auto handgun, numerous digital cameras, game systems, gold clubs, iPods, snowboard and tennis rackets.
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) have placed a hold on Almiron, who claims to be in the country on a student visa.
412 S. 8th Avenue, a rental property with out-of-town owners, was also the scene of a gang confrontation last Christmas Eve that resulted in a victim being hospitalized with a stab wound near the base of his skull.