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Suspect sought in thefts of antiques

Coeur d’Alene police are seeking a Spokane woman they allege used disguises and distraction to steal items from antique shops.

Police have issued an arrest warrant for Martha R. Williamson, 51, in connection with the thefts.

Her accomplice, John Parks Williamson, 44, was lodged at the Spokane County Jail as of Wednesday night. Their relationship is unclear.

Police say the two entered the Antique Corner last week, and Martha Williamson went to the back of the store and caused a distraction by waking the shop owner’s grandson.

“Martha stood over the baby waving her arms and yelling, ‘Wake up baby, wake up!’ ” the police report states. The store owner, the report continues, “tried to get past Martha to get to her grandson, but Martha was blocking the way with her body.” The woman then hit the store owner to push her away from the crib, the report states.

The store owner told police that, after comforting her grandson, she saw John Williamson put a $250 teapot under his coat and walk out of the store.

The report said the store owner confronted the two in the parking lot, reaching into the blue station wagon to grab the teapot.

“John used his right hand in a closed fist to intentionally strike and hit (the store owner’s) face ‘five or six times,’ ” the police report said. “John also scratched (the store owner’s) right forearm and was yelling at Martha saying, ‘Momma, she crazy.’ ” The store owner says she was dragged as the car drove out of the parking lot.

The pair, police said, might also have been the ones who stole a $1,400 pickle caster from Wiggett’s on June 5, while wearing disguises.

Carolyn Berry, co-owner of Wiggett’s, initially told police the woman was in her 70s.

“She had her hair pulled into a bun to make her look older,” Berry said in the police report. “He was cleaned up and looked like a doggone businessman.”

After hearing a clink of glass, Berry said she looked up and noticed her pickle caster was gone.

She said the two then left the shop, with the man saying, “Come on, Mom, let’s go have lunch.”

Berry told police the man walked out of the store “leaving the slow-moving elderly woman behind.”

Berry said that the pickle caster was sold to Kaleidoscope Antiques in Spokane, and that she was able to recover it.