Dispatchers in Walla Walla spot stolen car; police nab suspect

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WALLA WALLA — Police arrested a 30-year-old man Monday after he was spotted by dispatchers as he drove by the dispatch station in a stolen vehicle.

Walla Walla police spokesman Tim Bennett said Hugo H. Martinez-Ramirez was arrested at Carniceria La Barrata on investigation of first degree possession of stolen property.

The investigation started in the 300 block of Cayuse Street when a construction worker returned from lunch to find his 1996 Crown Victoria was missing. At first the man believed a co-worker was playing a prank, but then he received a call notifying him his car was spotted driving on Second Avenue, according to Bennett.

Dispatchers then spotted the car driving past their office on Rose Street and officers tracked the vehicle to the market on Fifth Avenue, where they located Martinez-Ramirez.

Bennett said Martinez-Ramirez first denied having anything to do with the stolen vehicle, but recanted when officers reminded him there were security cameras outside the store.

Bennett said a laser device valued at $8,000 was missing from the vehicle when it was recovered.

Luke Hegdal can be reached at lukehegdal@wwub.com or 526-8326.

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