Local crime briefs


Police investigate two arsons that occurred over the weekend
Riley County Police are investigating two arsons that occurred Saturday morning. Authorities responded to the first report at Pawnee Mental Health located at 2001 Claflin Road at approximately 6:35 a.m. According to a press release, firefighters discovered a grass fire next to the building.

After extinguishing the grass fire, firefighters entered the building and discovered fire inside the wall. Although the fire was contained in less than 15 minutes, it caused an estimated $11,000 of damage to the building and contents inside.

Shannon Hughston, marketing and development manager for Pawnee Mental Health, said no injuries were sustained by staffers during the fire.

“It was about 6:30 in the morning when it happened,” Hughston said. “No one was there at the time.”

The second report of arson occurred at Fancy Creek State Park at approximately 11:43 a.m. later that day. According to Mat Droge, public information officer with RCPD, that fire damaged a tree and a vending machine, causing an estimated $3,000 loss.

Lacey Yordy, office assistant for Riley County Fire District 1, said that her office has not received a report on the fire yet, but it would come in soon.

“All we did was put out a grass fire,” Yordy said. “The investigation is being handled by the Riley County Police.”

Droge said both fires are currently under investigation, as well as a series of arsons committed last month. In those incidents, three vehicles were reported damaged by arson, as well as a stairwell at an apartment complex. It is unknown whether those arsons were started by the same suspects.

Two accidents on Friday send two people to the hospital
A traffic accident sent a Junction City man to the hospital Friday. Police responded to a collision near the intersection of McCall Road and Hayes Drive at about 7:30 a.m. Friday. Ethan Loy, 24, of Beloit, Kan., and Lavon Carter, 69, of Junction City, were both involved in the accident. According to a police report, Loy was eastbound on McCall Road and Carter was moving southbound on Hayes Drive before the collision. Carter was taken to Mercy Regional after his complaint of pain. No citations were issued and the accident is still under investigation.

Another collision on Friday led to a St. George woman being taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries. According to the police report, Lisa Portz, 45, of St. George was taken to Mercy Regional after her vehicle was struck by a vehicle driven by Margaret Gonzales, 65, of Manhattan. The incident took place at the intersection of Kearney Street and N. Third Street Friday afternoon. Gonzales was cited for failing to yield the right of way at a stop sign.

Police issue a citation and make an arrest in alcohol related crimes
Police cited a Manhattan man for underage drinking in Aggieville over the weekend. Jesus Garcia, 20, was stopped in the 1200 block of Moro Street in the early morning hours Saturday. The citation carries a fine ranging from $200-$500 if convicted.

RCPD arrested a Manhattan woman early Saturday morning for DUI and other offenses at the intersection of Seth Child Road and Marlatt Avenue. According to the police report 34-year-old Carrie McDowell was arrested for DUI, obstruction, driving with a suspended license and driving without ignition interlock. An ignition interlock device acts as a breathalyzer that requires the driver to exhale into it in order to start a vehicle. Bond was set at $8,000.

Vehicle theft in Manhattan in overnight hours
A Manhattan man was the victim of vehicle theft over the weekend. Derek Begnoche, 25, reported his 1999 Saturn stolen Sunday afternoon. According to a police report, the vehicle was taken sometime overnight between Saturday and Sunday. The loss is estimated at $950 and police are asking for the public’s help in recovering the car.

Police release statement announcing drug manufacturing investigation
According to an RCPD statement, an investigation is looking into illegal drug distribution in Manhattan and Riley County. Since the investigation is ongoing, no other information could be released.