An update from Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney about the Cartwright Road homicide case

“The murder of three people in their foothills home is shocking and horrific. I understand you have questions and want to know as much as possible about the investigation. I do too. The good news is Ada County Sheriff’s detectives have found lots of answers. And they are working tirelessly to piece together the case.

This investigation is about the Welps. I want justice for the victims. Every day we get one step closer to that. All of the information and evidence is being turned over to prosecutors as we move toward charges in this case.

As soon as we can share some of those details without jeopardizing our investigation into this horrible crime —  or any court proceedings that arise from it — we will.

There is one man in custody on theft and forgery charges in connection with this case. At this point in the investigation, I can tell you that man — Adam Dees — is a suspect in the triple homicide.

It is important to point out, however, that Dees is not currently charged with those deaths.

As I said before, I do not believe there is an ongoing threat in our community related to these deaths. I feel more confident than ever that is true.  I think that confidence will become clearer to you in the weeks ahead.”

 Sheriff Gary Raney

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Update: Eagle Police find hit-and-run driver

We’d like to pass on a major thank you to the public for helping us identify the driver involved in a hit and run crash near the Eagle Road/State Street intersection Sunday night.

A woman driving a white Toyota 4Runner smashed into another car near there Sunday night and then took off. We shared a photo with the public and asked if anyone recognized her. They did and let us know. Eagle police contacted with the female driver Tuesday and she admitted to being involved in the crash.

Deputies cited 38-year-old Michelle Sturdy for inattentive driving and leaving the scene of a property damage crash. Sturdy told deputies she thought she hit a curb or possibly a concrete post.

This was the picture that led Eagle Police to the driver.

Eagle crash

The crash happened around 8:30 p.m. Sunday. Sturdy pulled the 4Runner out of a parking lot on to northbound Eagle Road and smacked into the right rear fender of a car going south. That car was damaged on the back end.

She then took off. Deputies later found the 4Runner had damage to the right front.

hitandruncrash1 hitandruncrash2

The driver of the other car was not hurt.

Once again we’d like to thank the public  — specifically readers of social and traditional media — for helping us with this case.

Action Team deputies catch trailhead car burglars in the act

Deputies arrested two Boise men moments after they broke into a parked car and stole a purse at the Seaman Gulch Trailhead Thursday afternoon.

The duo are suspected of doing at least a half-dozen similar “smash and grab” burglaries at trailheads all over the Treasure Valley since the beginning of the year.

For now, 45-year-old Paul A. Sublet and 24-year-old Benjamin A. Hinote are both charged with single felony counts of burglary in connection with Thursday’s incident.

Additional burglary charges for the other break-ins will be filed at a later time.

Deputies have evidence Sublet and Hinote have been smashing windows of cars at trailheads and taking purses, backpacks, and other items of value when no else is around.

All the burglaries were done the same way. Someone smashed a car window to get into a locked car while the owners were hiking nearby. All were done during the light of day.

Deputies with the ACSO Action Team (Anti-Crime Team In Our Neighborhoods) have been doing extra patrols and keeping a close eye on trailhead parking lots over the last several weeks.

Deputies were also on the lookout for a white pickup truck which was spotted in February around the same time as one of the car burglaries at the Eagle Sports Complex off Horseshoe Bend Road.

An Action Team deputy was parked by the Ada County landfill Thursday afternoon and keeping an eye on the Seaman Gulch trailhead when a white GMC pickup truck pulled in just before 5 p.m.

The men in the pickup, later identified as Sublet and Hinote, waited until all the people near the parking lot were  gone. The deputy, who was about 1000 feet away and up the hill, then saw them break a window of a car and grab a purse and backpack from inside.

The deputy called in the burglary over the radio and took off after the truck. Other ACSO deputies, who had been told a white pickup had pulled into the trailhead parking lot, were already on their way.

Deputies pulled over the truck on Hill Road moments later and arrested Sublet and Hinote. Deputies found the purse and backpack inside the truck the duo had just taken from the car at the trailhead.

While you should always lock your car or truck when parked at a trailhead — or anywhere else — it’s a good idea to leave your purse or wallet at home or take it with you when recreating in the Foothills.

The ACSO Action Team’s focus is to identify and impact specific crime problems and quality of life issues that affect our community.

Sheriff Raney’s update on Cartwright Road homicide case

Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney has some new details to share about the Cartwright Road homicide case.

While the homicide investigation is still very much ongoing — and detectives are working around the clock to gather every piece of evidence and any possible information to help determine exactly what happened — there have been continuing developments that we can’t go into detail about right now that have provided some important answers on what happened.

“A few days ago, I could not confidently tell you not to be concerned about your safety. Today, I feel comfortable saying that you can sleep peacefully tonight – without fear and worry of an ongoing threat in the community,” Sheriff Raney said.

“I want to thank everyone who has called in a tip or shared information with investigators. Every new detail takes us one step closer to accountability for the person responsible for three gruesome murders and one step closer to justice for the Welp family.”

Ada County Sheriff’s detectives continue to investigate leads and work to figure out why three people were murdered inside a foothills home in North Ada County earlier this week.

Two men and a woman — 80-year-old Theodore Welp, his wife, 77-year-old Delores Welp, and their son, 52-year-old Thomas Welp— were found inside their home on North Cartwright Road, near Pierce Park Road, late Tuesday morning.

Deputies arrested a 22-year-old Adam Dees Wednesday in connection with the case. Deputies took Dees into custody while he was at the Best Buy store in Boise shortly after 3:30 p.m.

Dees is charged with three felony counts each of grand theft and forgery and a misdemeanor court of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.

Ada County prosecutors said Thursday Dees used credit cards taken from the Welp’s home to buy items at area stores, including the Buckle, Boise-area restaurant Barbacoa, and Best Buy.

For some of the purchases with the stolen credit cards, Dees forged the signature of members of the Welp family. Dees also had a handgun in his waistband when deputies arrested him Wednesday.

There is also evidence Dees was trying to sell a wedding ring earlier this week.

That ring — Elaine Welp’s diamond engagement ring — has been recovered from a local jeweler.

Dees is not charged with murder. Additional charges are possible. No one else has been arrested in connection with the case.

Dees is being held in the Ada County Jail on a $2 million bond. His next court appearance is set for March 26.

Detectives spent much of Thursday morning and afternoon searching Dees’ home in the 1700 block of N. Cody Ave. in Nampa for evidence.

Deputies also seized a 2003 black Subaru Legacy with a gold panel on the bottom Dees was driving when he went to Best Buy.

Anyone who saw that car near Cartwright Road or in East Boise between Sunday and Tuesday night and noticed anything odd should call detectives at 577-3701.

Sheriff Gary Raney said Wednesday the killing of the Welp family was one of the most violent crime scenes he had ever seen in over three decades working in law enforcement.

“When I say this crime is heinous, that is probably an understatement,” Raney told a group of reporters Wednesday. “Somebody, who violently, without cause, without any provocation that I know of, killed three innocent people. We are working 24 hours a day with everything we’ve got to put that person in jail.”

Deputies began investigating the case late Tuesday morning after a family member, who last heard from the Welps on Sunday, went to check on them today and called Ada County dispatch to report finding suspicious circumstances.

Deputies responded immediately and found the three adults dead inside the home. There were signs of a violent struggle inside and foul play.

This is very much an open and ongoing investigation, so information is limited at this point.

Anyone who knows about any possible connection between Dees and the Welp family should call detectives at 577-3701.

The Welp family released this statement Thursday.

“We are deeply saddened by the unexpected and tragic loss of our beloved parents and brother.  No words can adequately express the grief and despair we are feeling.  These were kind, caring and generous people who meant so much to us and have been senselessly taken from us.  

Please respect our family’s need for privacy during this difficult time.   We truly appreciate the outpouring of love, condolences and prayers from family, friends and members of the community.

We would like to thank the Ada County Sheriff’s Office for handling this investigation professionally and compassionately. We urge anyone with information about our parents’ or brother’s deaths to please let detectives know. We pray the person or people responsible for this horrific crime are held accountable so we can have some understanding of what happened and why.”

Ted and Elaine Welp[2]

Anyone with information on the case should call detectives at 577-3701.

ACSO Labor Detail workers clean up trash in Foothills while deputies figure out who put it there

Ada County Sheriff’s deputies discovered an increase in trash being dumped in the Foothills off the 8th Street extension this winter and are working now to find out who is throwing tires, scrap metal, and other trash down the hillsides.

trash 2 trash 3

The ACSO inmate labor detail crew cleaned up quite a bit of the trash late last month but some bigger pieces remain.

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The fine for the misdemeanor charge of placing debris on public property can be as much as $1,000 — along with the possibility of up to six months in jail.

That’s a lot more than the $11 it likely would have cost whoever dumped the trash to take it instead to the Ada County Landfill on Seamans Gulch Road.

(The $11 is the minimum charge to dispose of a trash load at the landfill. The cost could be more, depending on how cubic yards of trash you have to get rid of).

The concentration of the trash is just past the E. Curling Drive gate off the east side of the extension road.

Anyone with information should call Ada County dispatch at 377-6790.

Protect yourself from car burglars in the Foothills by taking purses and wallets with you when hiking or biking

Burglars have smashed windows of three different cars at trailheads and taken purses from inside since Monday.

The cars were all parked in the Foothills — at the Polecat Trailhead off Cartwright Road, a trailhead near milepost 5 on Bogus Basin Road, and the Eagle sports complex off Horseshoe Bend Road.

All the burglaries were done the same way. Someone smashed a car window to get into a locked car while the owners were hiking nearby. All were done during the light of day.

trail break in 1 Trail break in 2

In all three cases, purses were stolen from inside. In at least two of the cases, credit cards were used before the owners were able to call financial institutions to cancel those cards.

The first one occurred between 12:30 and 2 p.m. at the trailhead off Bogus Basin Road. The second one happened later that day, between 5 and 6 p.m., at the Polecat Trailhead near the Cartwright Road/Pierce Park Lane. The third burglary occurred shortly after 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Eagle Sports complex.

While it is unclear at this point if all three burglaries are connected, they are all very similar.

Anyone with information should call Ada County dispatch at 377-6790.

While you should always lock your car or truck when parked at a trailhead — or anywhere else — it’s a good idea to leave your purse or wallet at home or take it with you when recreating in the Foothills. Another thing you can do is to take a look around before setting off and note anything that looks or feels weird.

Here’s a quick Idaho Code lesson: motorized bicycles are not allowed in dedicated bike lanes

Did you know that riding a bicycle with a motor in a dedicated bike lane — or on a sidewalk — is against the law in Idaho?

Did you also know that motorized bikes need a stoplight, taillight, and a horn? If they don’t have those items, motorized bikes are not street legal. And it’s not just those three items. For a complete list of what is needed for a motorized bicycle to be legal, check out http://www.itd.idaho.gov/dmv/driverservices/documents/motorcycle_manual.pdf

We were recently contacted by a member of the public on our ACSO Twitter (@AdaCoSheriff) asking for clarity on what the rules were for bikes with a motor.

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 8.49.26 AM

If you want to do a deep dive, check out Idaho Code 49-114 (http://legislature.idaho.gov/idstat/Title49/T49CH1SECT49-114.htm).

We’ll stick to the main points here. One thing motorized cyclists do not need to be street legal is to have a driver’s license or insurance.

The main point is this. Once someone puts a motor on a bike, it is becomes just like a motorcycle, scooter, or moped — when the motor is on. That means they are just like a car or any other motorized vehicle and must follow all regular traffic rules.

If the motor is on and the cyclist is still pedaling, that doesn’t matter. It’s still a motorized vehicle.

The only way such vehicles can be legally in a dedicated bike lane is if the cyclist has turned the motor off and is pedaling.

If cyclists use a motor and are in a dedicated bike lane, they risk getting a ticket. If they do not have the legally required equipment, they risk getting a ticket.

Protect yourself against tax identity theft by filing early

Tax season has arrived —  and identity thieves are already scheming to get your refund.

Tax identity theft occurs when someone files a fake tax return using your social security number. It can also occur when someone uses your social security number to get a job or claims your child as a dependent on their tax return.

Tax identity theft is the number one form of identity theft reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

One thing you can do to avoid being a victim is to file early — if you can — to get your refund before identity thieves do.

Make sure you use a secure Internet connection if you file electronically or “snail mail” from the post office to make it more difficult for thieves to get their hands on your personal information.

The tax identity theft scam is not going away. The FTC got 109,063 complaints about the scam in 2014. That’s almost 110,000 people across the U.S. who had some kind of identity theft scam associated with their taxes.

If you do find yourself the victim of tax identify theft, fill out IRS Form 14039 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14039.pdf) and contact your local law enforcement agency.

Another important thing to remember is that no Internal Revenue Service official will ever call you about unpaid taxes or penalties. That communication comes through the mail.

So if someone calls you and says they are from the IRS and demands immediate payment or you will be arrested, hang up. This is a scam.

It’s not just people pretending to be from the IRS, either. Sometimes the scammers say they are from law enforcement or a utility company.

The scammers tell their victims to go to a store, get a pre-paid credit card (like a Green Dot), load it up with money, and then call a phone number with the card information.

Never do that. Once that money is sent out, it’s gone for good.

If you get one of these calls from someone pretending to be from the IRS, hang up and then call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration office at 1 (800) 366-4484.

For more information on how to avoid being a victim of tax identity theft, visit the FTC’s website at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/3-ways-use-tax-identity-theft-awareness-week-help-people-your-life

ACSO deputies help get family out of burning home

A pair of Ada County Sheriff’s Office jail deputies working on the transport team helped get a family out of a burning home in Boise Tuesday morning.

Deputies Billy Fikes and Dan Allen had just stopped at the Jackson’s at 897 Cole Road to get a cup of coffee when they noticed smoke coming from a house at the Cole Road/Ashland Drive intersection around 7:15 a.m.

Fikes and Allen rushed over to the house and called Ada County dispatchers over the radio as soon as they confirmed it was a house fire. The front door of the home was open and deputies could see smoke, so they went inside to get the residents out.

Once inside, they found a man and woman. The man was filling something up with water. That’s when the deputies encountered a language barrier, as it appeared the adults did not understand what the deputies were telling them.

Deputies also found a young boy inside, and they were able to talk to him. The deputies and the child were able to quickly convince the adults to get out of the home — just Boise Fire crews arrived.

“It appeared (the man and woman) didn’t know how bad the fire was, but we could tell from being outside and seeing all the smoke pour out (of the house),” Allen said. “Once we all got out, we could see the garage door begin to melt.”

Boise Fire crews arrived and quickly called for a second alarm. It appears the fire started in the garage area. Fire crews were able to contain the fire to the garage area and keep it from spreading to the rest of that house and neighbors.

Dispatch records show the radio call from deputies Allen and Fikes was the first report of the blaze.

“Tax Evasion” phone scam pops up again in Ada County

Here’s a tip that’ll help keep local residents from being victimized by the latest phone scam going around the U.S.

Internal Revenue Service employees will not call and tell you to place funds for payment on a pre-paid credit card or any other electronic money transfer system because your spouse is wanted for “tax evasion.”

Several people in Ada County have reported getting these calls since the beginning of September.

IRS officials put out a warning Sept. 5 that this phone scam has resurfaced all over the U.S. and want people to know it is bogus.

The IRS will always send taxpayers a written notification of any tax due via the U.S. mail. The IRS never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone.

This scam is the latest in a series of phone scams where criminals call homes and businesses and pretend to be law enforcement officers, court officials, government agents, or utility employees who demand money for bogus reasons.

The scammers then tell their victims to go to a store, get a pre-paid credit card (like a Green Dot), load it up with money, and then call a phone number with the card information.

Giving out sensitive information over the phone — both personal and financial — can put people at risk for fraud.

Go here to get more information on this scam and how to contact the IRS if you’ve received one of these calls.