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Would-be burglar uses chain saw

Shaun Pattison and his dog, Duke, clean the floor of Pattison’s North Family Skating Center on Thursday in Spokane. (Tyler Tjomsland)
Shaun Pattison and his dog, Duke, clean the floor of Pattison’s North Family Skating Center on Thursday in Spokane. (Tyler Tjomsland)

Police say suspect tried to cut through floor of skating rink

A tripped but silent security alarm sent Shaun Pattison back to work on Wednesday night, where he found a chain saw-wielding burglar attempting to cut his way through the floor of Pattison’s family’s roller rink in north Spokane.

With his family dog, Duke, by his side and a gun in his hand, Pattison shined a flashlight on the burglar. The dog’s ferocious barking brought the burglar out from the crawl space under the skate rink, at 11309 N. Mayfair St. But then a light shined on the rink’s owner from behind.

Sheriff’s deputies ordered Pattison to control his dog and place his weapon on the ground. That minor distraction allowed the alleged burglar, later identified as 41-year-old Joseph F. Sica, to take off running. He was later found and arrested on suspicion of second-degree burglary.

In response, Sica told deputies, “But I didn’t get in!”

He was apparently close to entering the building through the floor, however, using a chain saw he claimed ownership of, according to court documents.

Pattison said he spent the day Thursday repairing the mess so he could continue business.

“It was something you hope you never have to deal with,” Pattison said. “It’s not something I wish for anybody. This is a family business with my wife and I – running a seven-day-a-week deal. It was really intrusive to have him come in and tear up my place.”

Pattison stood back for an hour and a half while police investigated the scene following Sica’s capture. Meanwhile, two K-9 units from the Spokane Police Department searched the building, below and above.

Pattison’s family has owned the skating rink since 1951 and has since opened four other skating centers, each owned by members of the Pattison extended family.

“I actually live here too in this neighborhood, and it’s an excellent place to raise a family,” Pattison said. “It was one of those rare occasions – he thought he’d have an easy night doing a quick robbery. Unfortunately, he came to the wrong place.”

Despite the cool weather, Sica was dripping with sweat when a sheriff’s sergeant caught up with him near the roller rink. Sgt. Ken Salas noted sawdust and wood chips on Sica’s clothing, and the suspect’s pants were apparently soaked from kneeling in damp dirt, according to court documents and a Sheriff’s Office news release.

Sica faces additional charges of possession of a controlled substance after corrections deputies say they found a bag of methamphetamine hidden inside his mouth when he was booked into Spokane County Jail, according to the release.

He appeared Thursday in Spokane County Superior Court, where Judge Annette Plese ordered a $5,000 bond.

Pattison said he’s glad police captured the suspect and no one was hurt.

“With the drug addicts these days, nothing is off limits,” he said. “I’ll keep my guard up.”