Suspects in January Ritchie Bros. burglary arrested


Two suspects accused of breaking into a Lewis County auction yard in January and stealing over $1,000 worth of merchandise were arrested on Thursday.

The suspects, identified as Tahiri Celene Ponce, 30, of Winlock, and Arturo Alejandro Perez Nava, 31, of Elma, allegedly used a cleaning company’s code to break into Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers at approximately 11:50 p.m. on Jan. 25, according to charging documents filed in Lewis County Superior Court on Friday.

Video surveillance reportedly captured footage of the suspects walking around the business and leaving with a stolen Optoma 1080 Lumen projector and a RGBlobal speaker.

The items have a combined total value of about $1,110.

The manager of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers’ site reported the theft to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office in February, according to court documents.

When questioned by a deputy, the owner of the custodial company that is contracted to clean the business’s property reportedly identified the suspects in surveillance footage as Ponce and Perez Nava. According to the owner, Ponce was fired from the company on Jan. 5, and Perez Nava was her boyfriend.

Law enforcement were unable to locate Ponce or Perez Nava during the investigation, according to court documents.

The Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office filed second-degree burglary and second-degree theft  charges against Ponce and Perez Nava in Lewis County Superior Court on March 27, and $50,000 warrants for their arrest were filed the same day.

Lewis County Jail records indicate Ponce and Perez Nava were arrested by the Napavine Police Department and were booked into the jail shortly after 2:50 p.m. on April 4.

Ponce informed the court  on Friday that she was unaware of the warrant ahead of her arrest in Napavine on Thursday.

Bail is set at $20,000 each.  Arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, April 11.