Arrests may crack burglaries
Two suspects, items at house could be linked to South Hill spree
The arrest of a suspected heroin dealer led investigators to a man with several burglary convictions and suspected stolen property that Spokane police believe may hold clues to a rash of unsolved burglaries across the South Hill.
Burglary detectives began focusing on Gary D. McCabe and Sonja L. Mercer, both 44, following a drug raid at a north Spokane home last week, court documents show.
After police found suspected stolen property in his home, Randy D. McReynolds, 38, told investigators of a pink laptop computer and two electronic storage devices he said he’d bought from McCabe and Mercer, according to probable cause papers.
Those items turned out to be stolen during two burglaries at homes on South Howard Street and East 17th Avenue in January and February, police say.
Police arrested McCabe and Mercer the next day at 1307 E. 39th Ave., and the two were charged this week with possession of stolen property and trafficking in stolen property.
On Thursday, investigators asked for help identifying hundreds of items like jewelry, power tools, DVDs, laptop computers, TVs and other electronics they suspect were taken in the burglaries that have plagued the South Hill and left residents on edge.
“All this stuff belongs to somebody,” said Spokane police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe. “We’re just seeing if we can find out who.”
The dozens of burglaries that have occurred on the South Hill have stumped detectives, who say the break-ins all took place in the late afternoon.
Jewelry was the most common item taken, but police said the stolen goods didn’t show up in expected places like pawn shops.
Police have yet to recommend burglary charges against Mercer or McCabe, but DeRuwe said burglary reports have decreased “significantly” since their arrests.
McCabe, who is at Geiger Confinement Center on $15,000 bond, served three years in prison for second-degree burglary before being released in 1995. He was arrested later that year on another burglary charge, records show. By then, he’d been convicted of the crime eight times, according to newspaper archives. In 2003, he was sentenced to 63 months in prison for several charges, including two residential burglary counts, records show.
Mercer, who has no felony convictions in Spokane County, left jail March 20 after posting bond.
Investigators hope to identify more of the property in hopes of naming a suspect in the South Hill burglary spree. That property appears to have been given to McReynolds in exchange for heroin, DeRuwe said.
A search warrant authorizing the March 18 raid at McReynolds’ home at 5616 N. Lindeke St. shows police first learned of him in 2007 from a man looking to decrease his prison sentence by telling authorities about Spokane drug dealers.
That man told police McReynolds sold methamphetamine, which investigators found at his home last week.
Along with drug charges, McReynolds was jailed at Geiger on five counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, where he remains on $250,000 bail.
The 2007 tip never resulted in charges.
Though police responded to McReynolds’ home on a domestic violence call in January, it wasn’t until a confidential informant told them March 11 of a man who sold only large quantities of heroin and made deliveries in a white truck that police launched their investigation.