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Spokane lawyer catches prolific car prowling suspect

UPDATED: Mon., Dec. 12, 2011, 7:57 p.m.

Nathan John Calvert, 28 (Washington Department of Corrections)
Nathan John Calvert, 28 (Washington Department of Corrections)

Police say a man who prowled at least 30 cars a night throughout Spokane County picked the wrong truck in the Valley recently.

Spokane lawyer Brant Stevens caught up with suspect Nathan John Calvert, 28, after spotting him inside his unlocked truck early Friday in the 1500 block of North Coach Drive, then held him until officers arrived.

“He’d fight for a little bit and then he’d get tired and then he’d stop and he’d try to talk me into letting him up,” Stevens said. “It was kind of an awkward 20 minutes where I’m just laying on the guy waiting for the cops to show up.”

Calvert was using a Jeep stolen from the 4400 block of North Post Street that was filled with what Spokane Valley police Sgt. John Nowels described as a huge amount of stolen property when officers seized it.

“He had everything under the sun,” Nowels said

But Nowels said the case is another example of an ongoing problem for his property crimes detectives: much of the property they suspect is stolen does not appear to have been reported to police.

“It’s just killing me,” Nowels said. “I have a longboard here. If I find a report saying someone had a longboard stolen, I could get it back to them.”

Police have about 80 items of property remaining after 14 victims retrieved their belongings. Pictures are posted on the Police Department’s Facebook page in hopes their owners will come forward.

Calvert is in jail on a Department of Corrections probation hold after appearing Monday in Superior Court on residential burglary and car theft charges. Police say he’ll face more felony charges as the investigation continues. He’d been wanted by the state Department of Corrections since late October for violating a drug treatment sentence imposed that month for a felony gun conviction.

Calvert told officers he’d committed 30 to 40 car prowlings and garage burglaries every night for the last two to three weeks, Nowels said. The crimes occurred in just about every area of the county, Nowels said.

Calvert said he’d already sold stolen items like a guitar and mountain bike but refused to say where or to whom, police said.

Calvert said he tried to commit the crimes between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. but was still out when Stevens caught him about 6 a.m.

“He was out a little bit too late,” Nowels said.

Nowels said Calvert spoke to them for most of the day after his arrest, describing in detail where he’d stolen the property, from the Valley to the Gonzaga area to the Indian Trail neighborhood.

Calvert said he was high on methamphetamine and hadn’t slept in three or four days, Nowels said.

A video posted on his Facebook page Dec. 7 shows what appears to be Calvert in a vehicle he describes as a Jeep. He focuses on a large amount of property in the back and passenger seat and said he hasn’t “really figured out what I’m going to do yet.”