TACOMA — Two West End residents are charged with stealing money from locked fee boxes in Olympic National Park.
Randy W. Eastman Jr, 30, of La Push and Brianne M. Decker, 28, of Beaver are both facing seven federal misdemeanor charges after federal park rangers arrested them at about 3:30 a.m. Saturday.
The park said that the arrests were made while they were attempting to remove entrance fee money from a fee canister in the Sol Duc Valley.
They appeared in United States District Court in Tacoma on Monday.
“Thefts from fee canisters have been a problem around the park for years,” said Penny Wagner, park spokesperson.
“Thefts from fee canisters are also an issue for other national and state park areas across the country.”
Wagner said that park law enforcement, aware of previous thefts in the area, caught the pair in the act.
Eastman and Decker admitted to stealing from the lock boxes throughout the park on other occasions as well, she said.
Charging documents accuse the pair of stealing from canisters June 30, July 1, July 8, July 9 and attempting to steal again Saturday.
“The exact amount of money stolen from the fee canisters on the various occasions is still under investigation,” Wagner said. “At the time of the arrest July 14, they were attempting to steal the money when they were caught by park law enforcement.”
Eastman is charged with four counts of theft of government property, one count of attempted theft of government property, one count of possession of burglary tools and one count of simple possession of methamphetamine.
Decker is charged with one count of theft of government property and one count of attempted theft of government property.
They both remained held in Federal Detention Center SeaTac on Tuesday afternoon. Court records were not available Tuesday.
Crimes committed in the national park are federal crimes.
Wagner encouraged anyone who sees something suspicious to report it as soon as possible by dialing 9-1-1 or reporting it to any National Park Service employee.
The Investigative Services Branch Tip Line can be reached at 888-653-0009.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected] dailynews.com.