March 18, 2005 in City

Hundreds of stolen bats recovered

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Police have recovered hundreds of baseball bats taken from property where a Spokane Valley warehouse burned on Thanksgiving.

The fire, which was in the 2200 block of North Locust Road, destroyed a warehouse used by three business, including Brett Brothers Bat Co. The business designs and sells wooden baseball bats.

Scott D. Zweigardt, 36, was arrested Wednesday after he attempted to sell about 180 of the bats to the White Elephant store on East Sprague Avenue, said Spokane Valley Police spokesman Dave Reagan in a press release. He has been charged with first-degree theft, second-degree burglary and first-degree trafficking in stolen property.

Michael A. Curry, 38, is wanted by police in connection with the incident, Reagan said.

Zweigardt and Curry went to White Elephant on March 3 and asked if the business would be interested in purchasing the bats, according to court records. They came back six days later and inquired again. The store called police, who interviewed the pair.

In a jailhouse interview on Thursday, Zweigardt said that at least a month after the fire Curry noticed the bats on the property next to a trash bin. The fence was open in two spots, and they thought the bats were going to be trashed, he said.

“I figured they were worth something to somebody,” said Zweigardt, whose record includes felony convictions for attempted robbery, second-degree theft and manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance. “I thought it was just a good fortune thing.”

Zweigardt said he had more than 400 finished bats and more than 100 unfinished ones. Curry probably was keeping more than 100, Zweigardt said.

Zweigardt’s version of the story appears to be contradicted by Brett Brothers. Company vice president Joe Sample told a detective there were 4,742 bats in the warehouse. He said about 1,000 survived the fire, but they were left in the remains of the building, according to court records.

Zweigardt said he has a methamphetamine addiction, but isn’t stupid.

“If I was tying to get rid of these discreetly I sure could have done a lot better job than going to White Elephant and going there for a second time, leaving them my phone number and doing all that,” Zweigardt said. “Now they’re just trying to hack me up, trying to make me out to be the bad guy.”

Anyone with information about Curry’s whereabouts is asked to call police at 242-8477, or 911 if he is immediately available for arrest, Reagan said.

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