May 15, 1997 in Washington Voices

Three Teenagers Arrested In Mica After Long Chase

By The Spokesman-Review

Sheriff’s deputies chased three teenage burglary suspects for several miles early Friday before tracking them down in a field in Mica.

Kevin J. Ostboe, 18, of Spokane, and two 15-year-old boys were arrested for second-degree burglary and taking a motor vehicle without the owner’s permission.

Deputies said burglars used a gas torch to cut through a chain and bolt lock and gain entry to the White Elephant Surplus Store, 12614 E. Sprague, about 2:45 a.m. Nothing appeared to have been taken from the business, said David Reagan, sheriff’s department spokesman.

The burglars fled in a white 1997 Chevrolet Blazer that had been reported stolen from a Renton, Wash., car rental lot. A friend of a store employee chased the suspects in his pickup truck and called deputies on a cellular telephone.

He said he followed the Blazer south from the Valley to Mica, where it crashed into a creek behind a house in the 18000 block of East Belmont Road. There, three people abandoned the truck and fled into a wooded area, Reagan said.

Deputies and a police dog tracked the burglars’ scent for about an hour but did not find anyone.

About 20 minutes after deputies had given up their search, a Mica resident called 911 and said she saw three teenagers lie down in the grass behind a substation on Belmont Road when she drove by. She watched them until two Washington State Patrol troopers and a sheriff’s deputy arrived.

When authorities arrived, the three ran south into a field, Reagan said. They eventually gave up after trying to flee through a muddy creek, he said.

Deputies found a cutting torch in the crashed Blazer, Reagan said.

Valley school burglarized

Two computer systems were stolen from a Valley elementary school and a classroom trashed during a break-in before school opened Tuesday morning.

McDonald Elementary officials found a window broken out of a room on the building’s north side and a door propped open when they reported to work about 6 a.m., Reagan said.

An Apple computer system, including two disk drives, a mouse and a keyboard, an IBM compatible 486 computer system, keyboard and mouse, and a Hewlett Packard 500 ink jet printer were taken, Reagan said. Other computer equipment was scattered around the room, he said.

Damage to the window and door frame was estimated at $500. The value of the stolen computer equipment was not available.

Deputies found two hammers and a red bag, possibly belonging to the burglars, in the room. No other rooms appeared to have been entered or disturbed, Reagan said.

The break-in was the second at a Valley school in two weeks, and the third in the Spokane area. Computer equipment also was taken from Pratt Elementary on April 27.

There is no indication the Valley school burglaries are connected.

“Computers are hot property, Reagan said. “A lot of school burglaries, computers are what’s missing.”

Fire scorches business

A small fire scattered 20 workers and damaged machines Friday morning inside a Valley electronics business.

No one was injured by the blaze at Johnson Matthey Electronics, 15128 E. Euclid. Firefighters were able to confine the damage near the fire’s origin, said Assistant Chief Karl Bold.

A water heater shorted out and sparked a fire on a plastic pipe, Bold said. Damage was minimal, and workers were allowed to return to work.

, DataTimes

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