A man believed to be responsible for gas thefts in the West Plains area was identified this week after he tried to return merchandise that had been purchased with a stolen credit card.
Gary Dale Hutt, 38, was arrested Tuesday after he went to the General Store on 2424 N. Division St. to return some of the $500 worth of items he'd purchased Monday with the stolen card, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office said today.
Detectives had already contacted the store of learning the card had been used there. The card was used 17 times on Monday, the same day it was stolen during a daytime burglary in the 6600 block of North Brooks Road. Three guns, two guns safes, two laptops and a camera also were stolen.
Property crimes detectives searched Hutt's home in the 5100 block of West Sunset Boulevard after his arrest and found one of the laptops and gun safes, as well as items purchased at the General Store with the stolen card, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Detectives noticed a van circling the area while they were searching Hutt's home, and its plates indicated it had been stolen. The driver, Hutt's live-in girlfriend, Courtny R. Jacobsen, 34, was arrested for driving while suspended.
The van was registered to Hutt but had switched /stolen license plates on it, according to the sheriff's office. Detectives found a large gas tank in the van and are continuing their investigation into the fuel thefts on the West Plains.
"Detectives expect to solve additional burglaries and recover more stolen property as they continue to look into this case," according to a news release by Cpl. Dave Thornburg.
"As you are all aware, our community has been hit hard with property crimes," Thornburg said in an email to media. "Sheriff's deputies and detectives are working very hard to do what they can to put the suspects in these crimes behind bars with the limited staff and resources we currently have."