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Washington Voices

Police believe burglar back at it

Liberty Lake Police Chief Brian Asmus said he believes that a prolific garage burglar is at it again after he was arrested and spent less than a day in jail in December.

Robert L. Hahn, 29, and Amber L. Tarpley, 29, were arrested on felony residential burglary and theft charges after they were caught on Dec. 11. They are suspected of stealing items from cars in unlocked garages for several weeks in Liberty Lake. Hahn was arrested for similar crimes in Liberty Lake in 2006 and was sentenced to 40 months in prison.

Since their arrests police have filed several additional burglary and theft charges against the two, plus felony charges for possession of marijuana.

Asmus said Hahn posted bond about 12 hours after he was booked into jail. On Monday morning police received a report that a resident in the 24000 block of East Maxwell Avenue had accidentally left his garage open and someone had stolen credit cards and house keys from a car parked in the garage. The scene of the crime was virtually identical to the previous crimes. “I think it’s him,” Asmus said. “It’s exactly the same.”

Whether it’s the same person or not, residents should make their garages are closed and locked to prevent any thefts.

The department’s drug-sniffing dog, J.J., is back on the streets after suffering a seizure while on duty two weeks ago, Asmus said. The dog and his handler, Officer Mark Van Hyning, were on patrol when Van Hyning heard a thump from the back seat and stopped his car to investigate. He found J.J. having a seizure and took him to the Legacy Animal Hospital, where he was given medication. The vet does not know what caused the incident, Asmus said. “We gave the dog the rest of the day off,” he said.

Since then the dog has been doing regular training without incident, Asmus said. “He’s totally back to his hyper, crazy self. He hasn’t had another seizure.”

The week of Jan. 3 through Monday included a few accidents that could be attributed to bad road conditions. On Jan. 3 a driver heading west in the 22700 block of East Country Vista Drive lost control of the vehicle on ice. The car crossed the eastbound lane and went over the curb, across a sidewalk and into a fence, Asmus said.

On Jan. 4 a car was stopped at a stop sign at Whitman Lane and Country Vista Drive when it was hit by a vehicle that slid into it while turning onto Whitman from Country Vista.

During the week officers made one arrest for driving with a suspended license and gave out citations for failure to show proof of liability insurance, speeding, and littering. Officers also assisted Spokane Valley Police officers on Jan. 5 by helping track down a suspect in the burglary of RV Northwest on Broadway Avenue.