When police found Dustin C. Rauscher, he had a sawed-off shotgun and enough shaved keys to steal a fleet of Nissan cars.
That was in 2007.
Three years and a prison stint later, Rauscher is back in police custody, this time accused of holing up in an apartment during a four-hour SWAT team standoff that ended with his surrender early Thursday.
Described by police as a prolific car thief, 25-year-old Rauscher is considered one of the city’s top 10 repeat offenders. He was wanted on a charge of eluding police from November when police got a tip that he was staying at an apartment at 2309 E. Euclid Ave.
“His claim to fame is he likes to steal cars and elude police,” said Officer Jenni-fer DeRuwe, spokeswoman for the Spokane Police Department. “He has a total disregard for the safety of others.”
Syndie LaBrie, who said she has a 4-year-old child with Rauscher, said he is “not a threat to society.”
“He doesn’t want to do drugs, (but) he gets bored,” she said.
She said Rauscher was released from prison in July, met up with an old friend in November and started getting into trouble. “He just got tired of sitting around the house,” LaBrie said.
Now Rauscher’s sitting in jail on $100,000 bond for the eluding charge, as well as new charges of second-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment.
Police say Rauscher said he had a bomb and would kill officers when a SWAT team forced its way into the apartment after hearing a woman screaming for help. Rauscher had grabbed the woman by her neck; she fell down the stairs and was gasping for air and screaming for help when police found her, according to court documents.
Rauscher surrendered about 1 a.m. LaBrie denied police claims that he assaulted anyone in the apartment, or that he wouldn’t let anyone leave. “He said they didn’t want to come out,” she said.
After his arrest in 2007, Rauscher was sentenced to 43 months in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition and first-degree possession of stolen property.
He also has convictions for attempting to elude, hit and run collision, reckless driving, domestic violence assault and interfering with reporting of a domestic violence assault, along with several convictions for possession of stolen property, according to Crime Stoppers.