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20 felonies for “nemesis” of property owners

Thu., July 22, 2010, 7:34 p.m.

A suspected serial burglar who tried fleeing a courtroom in April pleaded not guilty Wednesday to 20 felonies related to a six-month string of break-ins across Spokane County - including one a business owner discovered on Christmas Day.

Cole T. Monson, 36, described by law enforcement as the “nemesis” of property owners, is accused of 13 burglaries that ended in March, just before several raids by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office netted a slew of stolen property.

Detectives analyzing a rash of burglaries and car prowlings noticed a pattern late last year, opening the investigation that identified Monson as the suspect. The sheriff’s office used a moving truck to haul the stolen goods.

Now Monson faces 13 counts of second-degree burglary, as well as second-degree assault, car theft, eluding police and possession of a stolen car for an alleged police chase March 13.

His suspected methamphetamine dealer, 28-year-old Tamara D. Geurin is charged with possession of a stolen car, but she’s already serving a seven-year federal prison sentence for meth distribution that was handed down July 2.

Also charged in the case is 48-year-old John “Animal” Rose, who is accused of one count of second-degree possession of stolen property for items found in his house during the March 23 raid.

A fourth suspect, 36-year-old Terri Lynn Burkhart, alias Gunderson, is charged with second-degree possession of stolen property, second-degree theft and second-degree burglary after detectives say she helped Monson rob the coffee shop she used to own of a computer with information pertaining to a lawsuit.

According to a 26-page statement of facts filed in Superior Court last week, Monson admitted the burglaries to police and said he “wrote the book on pursuits with the police.”

Monson reportedly told police after the March 13 chase that “he was so high at the time that all he could do was focus on not getting caught and not getting killed in a crash,” according to the statement.

Monson confessed to dozens of crimes and took detectives to several of his burgled businesses, including a custom water spring construction shop on Nixon Avenue. The owner discovered the business ransacked Dec. 25.

Monson posted bond after his arrest in March but returned to jail the next month after fleeing a courtroom and falling near the Public Safety Building. A judge had revoked his bond for a driving while suspended charge.

Monson was given a Sept. 13 trial date at his arraignment Thursday.


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