May 01, 2013 5:30 pm • By Tony Lystra / The Daily News
One suspect arrested, another sought in Harley Davidson theft
Two Cowlitz County men stole a Harley Davidson motorcycle this month, then threatened to sell it for scrap metal if the owner didn’t pay them nearly $1,900, authorities said. The saga ended Monday with one of the suspects in jail and another escaping after riding the motorcycle between two North Kelso homes, crashing and fleeing on foot, The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office said.
Brett Alan Melville, 44, of Kelso and Richard L. Dugger, 39, of Longview stole a black 1999 Harley Davidson motorcycle from the 1000 block of Eighth Avenue in Longview on April 18, according to the sheriff’s office.
A short time later, the motorbike’s owner, John C. Powell, 50, of Longview, offered a reward for information leading him to the bike. Powell reported that Dugger and Melville approached him, admitted to stealing the motorcycle, and said they would sell it for scrap if Powell didn’t pay them $1,888. Dugger told Powell he was wanted by police on several warrants and “needed the money to get out of town,” according to a sheriff’s report. Powell eventually agreed to give the men $700, although he later told deputies he had no intention of handing over any cash and was trying to trick Dugger and Melville to lead him to his Harley.
On Monday, Powell told investigators, he got into a Jeep with Melville and Dugger, and they drove him to the area of Nelson Street in Kelso. Powell said he became “a bit uneasy” and bailed out of the Jeep, ran off and called his friends for help. Later, a deputy was talking with Powell about the incident near the Rocky Point Market when he heard a motorcycle rumbling down Williams Avenue. Powell spotted the bike and said it was his. The rider “looked at me and accelerated on the bike,” a deputy wrote in the report. Another deputy, who was nearby, lit his overhead lights, blasted his siren and charged after the fleeing motorcycle.
The yet-unidentified motorcyclist rode between two houses in the 1900 block of North Pacific Avenue, then crashed, according to the report. He then fled on foot. Deputies did not say whether the rider was wearing a helmet. Meanwhile, another deputy pulled over a Jeep driven by Melville, who was arrested on suspicion of first-degree extortion, possession of a stolen vehicle, and third-degree driving with a suspended license. Melville identified the mystery motorcyclist as Dugger, according to the report. Authorities still had not located Dugger as of late Wednesday morning. A damage report for the motorcycle was not available.