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Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - Page updated at 12:37 AM

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Eastside Digest

Merchant arrested in ID-theft case

Redmond

The 35-year-old owner of a Redmond smoke shop was arrested on suspicion of identity theft Tuesday after an eight-month investigation linked him to more than 20 such incidents.

The arrest was made at the Smokers Choice shop in the 15100 block of Northeast 24th Street. The investigation began after Redmond police received an unusually high number of identity-theft reports that all had a common element: Each victim had shopped at Smokers Choice.

Victims would use a debit or credit card at the shop, and within minutes the cards were copied and used in several cities in California or in Las Vegas, according to Officer Stacey Holland, Redmond police public-information officer.

The thieves also would go to several automated-teller machines until bank accounts had been emptied. Police say there could be dozens of other victims across the Eastside and ask that victims report such crimes to their local police.

Anyone with information also can call the Redmond police tip line at 425-556-2581, and callers may remain anonymous.

North Bend

Improvements set at Three Forks

A new trail, restroom, signs, picnic area and parking will improve access to the Three Forks Natural Area this fall.

King County will build the additions on the Old School Site of the 527-acre natural area. Construction is to begin in September and finish in November.

Without a parking lot, visitors now must park alongside a busy road with a narrow shoulder.

Bellevue

City offers grants for art projects

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Bellevue artists and arts groups are invited to apply for city money for art projects.

The grants range from $500 to $2,000 and support projects that create a livelier, more diverse arts scene in the city. Those interested should call city arts specialist Mary Pat Byrne at 425-452-4105 before applying. The deadline to apply is Sept. 6.

For more information, go to www.cityofbellevue.org/arts.asp.

Eastside Bureau of The Seattle Times

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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