The Liberty Lake Police Department got a call last Thursday reporting that a woman at the US Bank inside Albertsons was acting suspiciously. Employees said she was wearing a wig and they thought she might be the ‘Bad Hair Bandit,’ who is believed to be responsible for several bank robberies across the state.
Police Chief Brian Asmus quickly responded and then was told the woman had left the bank and headed north. Asmus soon learned that the information he received was old. “It turned out there was about a 35-minute delay,” he said.
Employees had called their corporate security division, who called Spokane Valley Police who passed the word to Liberty Lake Police. Asmus said he urged bank employees to call 911 immediately in such cases. “We never did find her,” he said. “That’s the long and short of it.”
But the department had much more success clearing up a series of bike thefts and two malicious mischief incidents involving fire extinguishers. Police had a video of one of the incidents on June 27 showing several teens discharging fire extinguishers and then damaging them.
Several high-end bicycles, some worth thousands of dollars, have been stolen from Liberty Lake and Spokane Valley in recent weeks. “The one we returned today was worth $5,000,” Asmus said. Police have identified a 17-year-old boy as a suspect in the bike theft case and have recommended that he be charged with three counts of residential burglary and five felony counts of theft. He also allegedly falsely reported his own bike as stolen, which could result in a charge of filing a false police report.
Asmus said the teen told police that after he stole the bikes, he realized there were so unique and expensive that he couldn’t sell them. “He ended up burying them in Rocky Hill Park,” Asmus said.
The teen was also visible in the fire extinguisher video and reportedly admitted it when confronted with the evidence, Asmus said. Four other teens ages 14 to 17 have also been identified and police are recommending that all four be charged with malicious mischief.
The rest of the week of July 5 was a bit calmer. On July 6 police discovered several teens on golf carts in the area of Pavillion Park who had been drinking. A vehicle prowl was reported in the 25000 block of East Hawkstone Loop Monday morning. A stereo faceplate and several tools were reported missing.
In what may qualify as the most unusual call of the week, an officer spotted a car in a construction area in the 22700 block of East Mission Avenue at 10:50 p.m. on July 8. The trunk was open and a man could be seen using a shovel to load something in the trunk, Asmus said. It turned out that the man was loading landscaping soil into 5-gallon buckets. The man reportedly told police that he knew he was stealing but planned to come back the next day to offer to pay for it or buy the construction crew coffee, Asmus said. He wanted the soil for planters he had at home and had come to the site after he discovered Home Depot was closed, Asmus said. “It was just a little silly,” he said.
Police ticketed several cars parked at the Liberty Lake boat launch during the Valley Girl Triathlon for not having the Fish and Wildlife sticker required to use a public boat launch. Police had received complaints that race spectators were parking at the launch and blocking access for boaters.
Other citations given during the week include two for failure to show proof of liability insurance, three for speeding, one for failure to yield while making a left turn and one for use of a cellphone while driving. There were two arrests for driving with a suspended license.