Local News – Breakins lead to 3 arrests – Fewer deputies – Sea Lion Caves wins award

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Local News

17 January 2013

Rash of car break-ins leads to recovery of 20 guns

Florence police were investigating a car break-in over the weekend that led them to Joshua Korczak.  The 28-year old transient admitted to one break-in initially, but eventually copped to another 22.  He said he took money, electronic items, tools and… a semi-automatic hand gun.


Police put together a search warrant for a home in Westlake where Korczak told police he traded the gun for marijuana.  With the help of Lane County Sheriff’s Deputies the warrant was served and the gun was recovered… plus 19 more.  61-year old Rickey Watts and 38-year old Jeremy Watts are now facing a variety of charges including being felons in possession of firearms.


Police Chief Ray Gutierrez said the suspect made one other important admission during questioning… all 23 vehicles he entered were unlocked.  Korczak reportedly told officers he only – quote – “went for the easy ones”.  Gutierrez says lock your vehicles… even in your own driveway.



It was nothing short of wild at the Siuslaw Business Awards.  That’s the slogan for the recipient of the Stu Johnston Business of the Year.  Sea Lion Caves celebrated its 80th year of business last year.  The business was honored by the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce last night.  Other awards handed out: The Siuslaw News was recognized for Community Caring; Oregon Pacific Bank for its Curb Appeal; Three Rivers Casino and Hotel won the Green Business Award; and Excellence in Customer Service went to Tony’s Garage.  The non-profit achievement award went to the Boys and Girls Club of Western Lane County.  Siuslaw News Publisher John Bartlett was presented with the Florence First Citizen Award and Siuslaw High School senior Todd Denning was given a $500 scholarship for being named the Future First Citizen.



Three years from now there may only be two-dozen jail beds available for convicted criminals in Lane County.  But, that may be more than enough because there won’t be any Sheriff’s Deputies.


Sheriff Tom Turner says unless a steady revenue source can be found for public safety in Lane County, that’s the way things could turn out.


Because of a loss of federal timber revenue and diminishing revenues in the county general fund Turner had to deal with a $10-million reduction this year.  That prompted layoffs leaving staffing for only 135 jail beds and 20 deputies to provide patrols and response only 16 hours a day.


Next year Turner is looking at another $2.5-million reduction that will likely lead to more cuts.  But, he says, it’s the year after that where things look the gloomiest.  Budget estimates show Turner facing yet another reduction of $8-million, leaving his office with no patrol deputies, only one detective and 26 local jail beds.


Lane County Commissioners are currently exploring a possible public safety levy that would go to voters as early as May.