Former Montesano police chief sentenced for parole violation


Former Montesano Police chief Ray Sowers was sentenced to another 60 days in the Grays Harbor County Jail Monday as a result of a parole violation in Pierce County.

Sowers, 50, is charged with second-degree theft in Pierce County Superior Court after allegedly stashing more than $1,500 worth of liquor bottles in his pants and under his jacket at a Tacoma Safeway.

As part of a sentence for first-degree theft and second-degree identity theft that cost him his law enforcement career in 2011, Sowers is prohibited from possessing or consuming alcohol. He admitted to the violation immediately Monday.

Sowers has been in jail since the afternoon of Jan. 29 for violating a District Court sentence. Once he’s completed that five-day stint, he’ll serve his 60-day sentence for the parole violation.

Sowers’ attorney, Robert Erhardt, and Interim Prosecutor Gerald Fuller initially asked Judge Gordon Godfrey for a 30-day sentence. Erhardt also asked that it be suspended as an additional incentive for Sowers to successfully complete drug and alcohol treatment in connection with the Pierce County case.

“Your honor, I know we’ve been here before,” Sowers told Godfrey. “It’s the end of the road for me.”

He told the court Pierce County had been willing to suspend his theft sentence, but he asked for drug court and an alcohol treatment program instead.

“Setting me in jail isn’t doing me any good. I need treatment. … I can’t let alcohol destroy my life any further. I’ve lost everything,” Sowers said.

“I know how to stop you from using alcohol for the next 60 days — right over there,” Godfrey said, gesturing toward the jail building.

Sowers was most recently arrested in Tacoma Jan. 9 when a woman reported seeing him placing numerous bottles of liquor in the back seat of a car at the Highland Hill Safeway.

The woman said Sowers “appeared to be having difficulty walking and at one point he stumbled toward the ground,” according to court documents.

The store manager reviewed surveillance video with a Tacoma Police Department officer and saw Sowers making multiple trips to the liquor aisle, where he placed numerous bottles of liquor in his coat and pants.

An officer later found Sowers about a third of a mile from the store, pushing the car into a gas station. The officer noted several bottles of liquor in plain view in the back seat, the court documents state.

After being informed of his Miranda rights, Sowers allegedly informed the officer the alcohol was not stolen, and that he got it from work.

“When the officer said that did not make much sense, the defendant responded, ‘I know,’ ” court documents state.

The stolen liquor was recovered from the car, with a total value of $1,537.92, the store reported. Two bottles of vodka also in the car were not taken from that Safeway.

His first theft case cost him his 26-year career in law enforcement. Sowers resigned in September 2010 after a Washington State Patrol investigation determined he spent thousands of dollars of public money on home electronics, household supplies and other personal purchases. He also used a fuel card issued to another officer to fill his personal vehicles with gasoline for several months.

Sowers was sentenced to six months in jail in that case and ordered to pay $17,400 in restitution to the City of Montesano.

 

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