May 26, 2010 in City

Burglary ring suspect arrested after Hico break-in

By The Spokesman-Review

A man suspected in a string of burglaries in February is back in jail after police say he broke into a convenience store then fled officers early today.

Michael L. Yamaguchi, 29, and Cullen J. Snodgrass-Gibson, 30, were arrested after a chase with Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake police. A delivery driver followed the suspects after he spotted a white van parked in front of Hico Mart, 1201 North Barker Road.

Snodgrass-Gibson jumped out of a passenger’s seat before Yamaguchi blew a tire and crashed the van in Liberty Lake, according to police. Spokane police officer Paul Gorman and his K-9 Maximus tracked Yamaguchi to a nearby housing area.

The van will be searched later today. Police said a cash drawer and spilled coin rolls are inside. Stolen from the Hico were cigarettes, coins and a small amount of cash.

Yamaguchi was arrested in February after burglaries at two gas stations in a Taco Bell.

Police believe Yamaguchi, Stephen Victor, 19, and Samantha Winne, 19, are responsible for a string of break-ins that began in November. Detectives say the trio made spare keys while test driving vehicles, then returned at night to steal the cars. The cars were then allegedly used in store burglaries.

Detectives sent an investigation to prosecutors in April that recommends 30 felony charges, but no charges have been filed.

Yamaguchi and Snodgrass-Gibson are due in Superior Court this afternoon on burglary charges. Yamaguchi also faces a charge of attempting to elude police.

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