A shoplifting suspect fleeing with a $30 kiddie swimming pool from the White Elephant on East Sprague dragged a security guard across the store’s parking lot with his station wagon, turning a misdemeanor theft charge into a felony robbery.
Deputies arrested 50-year-old Melvin Ford after the Saturday afternoon incident at the Spokane Valley sporting goods store. Ford was charged with second-degree robbbery, said Deputy Dave Reagan, Sheriff’s Department spokesman.
“Any time you use force to either take property or retain it, it becomes a robbery,” Reagan said.
“These people would be better off saying, ‘Hey, you got me,’ and go home with ticket, instead of going to jail for robbery.”
The security guard told deputies that he saw a man leave the store about 5:30 p.m. with a 6-foot frame swimming pool. When he learned from store employees that no one had bought such a swimming pool, the guard confronted the man, who by then was in his Datsun station wagon.
The guard identified himself and asked to see a receipt for the pool. When the man began to drive away, the guard reached into the car in an effort to grab the keys, and found himself being dragged across the store’s parking lot.
After freeing himself, the guard jumped into his own vehicle and followed the suspect. The fleeing suspect threw the pool out of his car near Sprague and Farr, where it was recovered by a deputy. The guard was not injured.
Deputies spotted the suspect in the 9500 block of East Nora and arrested him.
Lumber stolen, guard assaulted
Another weekend incident escalated from theft to robbery when a security guard was assaulted.
This one involved the theft of lumber from a business at Spokane Industrial Park.
At 6 p.m. on Saturday, a security guard was notified that someone was taking 2-by-6 lumber belonging to TSI Distributing from a storage area at the rear of the industrial park.
The guard found two men loading lumber into a pickup truck. The guard accompanied the two back to the guard house at the entrance to the park, where one of the men removed two of about 30 boards, according to the report.
As the guard walked into the guard house, one of men attacked him from behind and wrestled him to the floor. The guard suffered only a cut on his forehead.
The two men fled in the pickup, with most of the lumber still in the back.
Later that evening, Richard Houle called 911 and turned himself in. Houle was arrested on a charge of second-degree robbery.
Teens charged in golf-cars joy ride
At 1 a.m. Tuesday, the golf cars at MeadowWood Golf Course were supposed to be parked in a locked storage area.
But three juveniles allegedly cut the lock, pilfered the little buggies and started wheeling around.
Sheriff’s deputies went to the golf course at 24501 E. Valleyway after receiving a report of reckless golf car driving, said Dave Reagan, Sheriff’s Department spokesman.
Upon seeing the authorities, the juveniles abandoned their late-night wheels and ran.
All three teens were caught. A brother and sister, both 14, were apprehended near the scene. A 15-year-old was arrested after being tracked to his home, Reagan said.
The juveniles, all of whom live in the Liberty Lake area, were taken to the Spokane County Jail and booked into juvenile detention on second-degree burglary charges.