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One-Man Crime Spree Just ‘Misunderstanding’

Fri., July 19, 1996

A Spokane man went on a crime spree Wednesday afternoon after a convenience store clerk refused to sell him a bottle of extra-strong wine, police said.

Craig A. Adams, 49, used a handgun to rob the store of one bottle of Thunderbird and threatened to kill several employees, according to authorities. Afterward, he fired two shots from the roof of his house and stripped naked before police could arrest him, police said.

Police also said he fired his gun into the ceiling of his house in southwest Spokane while two repairmen were on the roof, and tried to kick out the window of a patrol car.

Adams told a judge Thursday the whole thing was a misunderstanding.

“It’s all just a big mistake they’re blowing out of proportion,” he said in Spokane County District Court.

Acting Court Commissioner Bradley Chinn didn’t see it that way. He ordered Adams held on charges of first-degree armed robbery, first-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree malicious mischief.

Chinn set bail at $125,000 despite the fact that Adams has no prior record. Adams told the judge he is employed full-time at the Spokane Boeing plant.

The series of events that landed Adams in jail began about 4 p.m. at the Zip-Trip at 4107 S. Cheney-Spokane Road, when he tried to buy the wine.

The clerk refused to sell it to him because he appeared intoxicated, police said.

Adams became belligerent and cursed at store workers before returning to his pickup, police said.

Employees told police Adams revved the engine and acted like he was going to ram the store, but drove home instead.

The two roofers told police Adams went into the house at 1413 W. Gibbs and emerged with a handgun. Adams told the workers he was going back to Zip-Trip to get his wine, police said.

He drove his red Chevrolet Corvette to the store and burst inside, demanding the bottle of Thunderbird, police said.

After employees again refused to sell him the wine, Adams pulled out the gun, put a round in the chamber and threatened to kill the clerks, according to police.

He then grabbed the bottle and drove away, employees told police.

In court, Adams denied pulling out the gun.

“That’s not true, your honor,” said Adams, who told Chinn he has a concealed weapons permit that allows him to carry the 9mm Beretta. “I just lifted up my shirt and said, ‘There it is.”’ After the holdup, Adams drove home with the wine. He climbed up a ladder to show the roofers his wine, then fired two shots, police said.

Police spokesman Dick Cottam said the frightened roofers asked Adams to leave.

Adams then went inside the house and shot one bullet into the ceiling, Cottam said.

Police arrived as the roofers were leaving. Cottam said Adams was following the men down the driveway, shedding his clothes.

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