August 31, 2004 in City

RV recovered in sting

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A $350,000 motor home stolen in Louisiana was recovered at a Spokane Valley RV dealership Monday, after a business owner became suspicious of two men attempting to sell the 43-foot luxury vehicle.

Ron Little, owner of RVs Northwest, had a bad feeling about the motor home, which two men were trying to sell used for $210,000 to the Spokane Valley dealership. Little called the Washington State Patrol, which set up an early-morning sting at the Barker Road business.

“It was just like ‘Starsky and Hutch,’ ” Little said. “I was Hutch.”

Officials arrested Rick Curtis on suspicion of interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle. They also arrested Leroy Bullinger on suspicion of aiding Curtis in the crime. Because the men were being uncooperative after their arrests, authorities said, their ages and hometowns were unknown at press time.

“It’s a fancy thing,” said Trooper Brad Hudson of the motor home. “This guy showed up at RVs Northwest off of Barker and Broadway and tried to sell it to them. It turned up stolen.”

Equipped with a 32-inch plasma TV, custom paint job and canopies that automatically retract when weather turns bad, the motor home retails for about $350,000, Little said.

The suspects trying to sell the motor home were asking $100,000 less than sticker price for the luxury ride, because they were trying to pass the motor home off as a 2004 model, instead of a 2005.

Little not only knew the suspected vehicle was a different model, but also knew that RV dealers across the country were talking about a stolen 2005 NewMar Mountain Aire. Little is actually friends with the owner of Dixie RVs in Baton Rouge, La., where the RV was stolen.

Little called the Washington State Patrol over the weekend and the troopers set up a sting. The case was also handed over to the FBI because the vehicle crossed state lines. Agents rigged cameras inside several motor homes on Little’s lot then parked the vehicles close enough to Little’s office window to photograph the sale inside.

Dressed as RV Northwest employees, officers waited in the wings to make an arrest.

The maximum federal penalty for interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle is 10 years in prison.

Get stories like this in a free daily email


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus