October 4, 2008 in City

Police arrest suspect in pharmacy robberies

 

Spokane police arrested a man Friday night who they believe is responsible for a string of pharmacy robberies after an all-day surveillance of five Rite Aids in the city.

Edward Saner, 23, walked into the Rite Aid at 45th Avenue and Regal Street about 8:35 p.m. wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a stocking cap and handed a pharmacy clerk a note claiming he had a gun and demanding OxyContin, police said. Police watching the store arrested him as he walked out with a bottle of about 100 of the painkillers, said Lt. Dave McGovern, of the Major Crimes Unit.

Police believe Saner is responsible for at least six robberies in Spokane County over the past few months. Believing the drug was for the robber’s personal use, Detective Brian Hammond tracked the number of pills stolen and when and predicted the robber would hit again Friday night to replenish his supply, McGovern said. Five of the past six robberies have been at Rite Aids, so officers started staking out the stores Thursday. They were at the stores all day Friday.

“It was kind of a gamble, and it just paid off for us,” McGovern said.

Gonzaga professor joining school board

A Gonzaga University physics professor will fill an open seat on Spokane’s school board.

The board voted Friday to name Dr. Jeffrey Bierman to replace Christie Querna, who resigned effective Sept. 10. Bierman will be sworn in at the board’s Wednesday meeting.

The board interviewed six of 23 applicants.

A father of three children who attend Spokane schools, Bierman serves on the state Board of Education’s science advisory panel.

“His appointment will go a long way … in helping our district increase performance in science and math,” Garret Daggett, board president, said in a statement.

Bierman has lived in Spokane since 1996 and has volunteered at Franklin Elementary School and served four years on the Spokane City Plan Commission.

BELLINGHAM

Commitment ordered in lieu of trial

A Bellingham man who stabbed his father, a former Spokane music educator, to death and was found mentally incompetent to stand trial has been ordered committed to Western State Hospital for treatment.

The public defender for 24-year-old Brian H. Williams said that if he recovers he could request a court order for his release. But Deputy Prosecutor Mac Setter said it could take years for Williams to reach that point and that a release is unlikely, given his violent past.

He stabbed his father, Mark Williams, at their home in January. He said he believed his father was from a parallel universe and was a threat to others.

Brian Williams was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.

His mother, Connie, also was stabbed in the attack and survived.

Meghann M. Cuniff Meghann M. Cuniff Associated Press

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