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Liberty Lake police easily nab suspect

Thu., Jan. 26, 2012

It was really inevitable that Liberty Lake police would arrest an armed robbery suspect at 2 a.m. on Jan. 18. Not only did the robbery occur at Guardian Angel Homes at 23102 E. Mission Ave., located directly across from the police station, but there was plenty of fresh snow to allow police to track the suspect, said Police Chief Brian Asmus.

An employee called police to report that a man had pointed a rifle at her and demanded drugs. The man then locked her in a room along with a resident who walked in on the robbery. No one was injured during the incident.

When police arrived a minute after the call, they spotted a man throwing something underneath a car and walking away through a nearby field. Officers found a bag of drugs and an Airsoft rifle under a car. Police arrested Timothy J. Martinez, 28, on suspicion of first-degree armed robbery, possession of a controlled substance and two counts of first-degree kidnapping.

But the location of the crime and the fresh snow were only two of the things that went wrong, Asmus said. “He lost his car keys in the snow,” Asmus said. “We ended up finding them.”

Martinez used to work at the assisted living facility. “The lady recognized his voice,” Asmus said. She also noticed that Martinez knew the door code to get out of the facility. The employee was able to call police so quickly because the room she was put in was one that could be unlocked with a key from either side and she had the key, Asmus said. “She wasn’t really locked in there,” he said. And Martinez also allegedly left behind a clipboard with his fingerprints on it.

Martinez had also been a suspect in the theft of several televisions from residents at the facility last summer when he was still an employee, Asmus said, but there was not enough evidence to file charges.

The rest of the week of Jan. 16 to Jan. 23 was much quieter, with four arrests for driving with a suspended license. A driver leaving a parking lot in the 2200 block of North Molter Road on Jan. 18 accidentally drove off the edge of a rock wall that was several feet high. The car ended up at a steep angle and high-centered, Asmus said. “Just because of the snow, it was hard to see where the exits and entrances were,” he said. “It was pretty bad.”

A resident in the 23400 block of East Boone Avenue reported a damaged mailbox on Jan. 18. A vehicle prowl was reported in the 22800 block of Country Vista Drive on Jan. 19. A digital camera, wallet and goggles were reported missing.

A caller reported seeing a person carrying what appeared to be a gun at 10:10 p.m. in the 23600 block of East Boone Avenue on Jan. 21. Officers responded but could not locate anyone, Asmus said.

During the week officers handed out two citations for license and plates required, two for failure to show proof of liability insurance and four for speeding. Additional citations were given for failure to use a required ignition interlock and defective windshield wipers.

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