The Clatsop County Sheriff's Office cut short an Arkansas couple's theft and burglary spree early Thursday, Feb. 16.
Senior Deputy Robert Burk responded at 4:10 a.m. to a burglary alarm at Baker's General Store, 44573 U.S. Highway 26, near Elsie. A window had been broken, setting off the alarm, but no entry was made into the store. The store's video surveillance camera had captured images of the suspects and the vehicle they were driving.
The vehicle matched the description of a white van with light blue pin-stripes and Arkansas plates that had driven off without paying for $20 worth of gas at the Stop 'n Go, 860 S. Roosevelt Drive in Seaside. Burk had heard a Seaside 9-1-1 dispatcher describe the vehicle in the gas theft on his way to the general store, so he headed for Seaside.
On his way to Seaside, Burk turned around to answer a report of a burglary of guns from Hamlet Quick Stop, 38012 U.S. Highway 26. As he responded, he passed a van matching the suspect vehicle's description and pulled it over.
In the van, police found guns and cigarettes from the Hamlet Quick Stop and two bottles of chocolate syrup and a surveillance monitor stolen from Riverside Espresso, 1260 S. Holladay Drive in Seaside. Less than 1-1/2 hours after the alarm at Baker's General Store, both suspects were in custody.
Hubert Preston Lackey, 33, was charged with 10 counts of first-degree theft, one count of second-degree attempted burglary and one count of second-degree burglary, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is wanted in Arkansas for drug possession.
His passenger and girlfriend, Keri Ellen Rucinski, 29, was charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit second-degree burglary and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The couple has been staying with relatives in Portland.
Seaside and Cannon Beach police assisted the Sheriff's Office in the investigation.