October 18, 2012 in Idaho

Kootenai County sheriff’s lakefront home burgled

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Kathy Plonka photo

Kootenai County Sheriff Rocky Watson’s log home on Cougar Bay sits vacant. It was burglarized sometime between Oct. 5 and Oct. 12, with copper wire and copper plumbing taken, Watson reported.
(Full-size photo)

Someone copped the top cop’s copper in Kootenai County.

Sheriff Rocky Watson is the victim of a property crime after discovering copper wire and copper plumbing were stolen earlier this month from a lakefront home he owns.

The vacant log house on Cougar Bay used to belong to Coeur d’Alene Resort owner Duane Hagadone and his wife Lola.

Watson and his wife Mary bought it and had it barged in 2008 from the Hagadones’ Casco Bay estate to the new spot, at 3730 South Highway 95, with a view of downtown Coeur d’Alene and Tubbs Hill.

The 4,084-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bathroom home, built of larch and Douglas fir during the Depression, is listed for sale for $849,000. With 500 feet of lake frontage and a pier, it would make a nice resort or bed and breakfast, according to a real estate flyer.

The burglary happened sometime between Oct. 5 and Oct. 12, according to a sheriff’s office report. The missing wire has an estimated value of $3,000 and the plumbing was worth about $200, he reported.

Thieves take copper from vacant homes, construction sites and utilities for the scrap resale value.

The sheriff, who is retiring, told the officer who took the report that he visited the home Oct. 12 and noticed some insulation on the floor from the crawl space in the ceiling. When he looked in the ceiling, he noticed the missing wire and plumbing, according to the report.

The investigation will be given the same attention as any residential burglary, said sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Andy Boyle.

“Unfortunately he was the victim of a crime like many other folks in the county. And we’re going to treat it just like anybody else’s case,” Boyle said.

There are no leads or suspects, he added.

The home was built in 1932 by a doctor for a Silver Valley mine. The Hagadones sold it to make room for a new 22,040-square-foot house.

The Watsons paid about $140,000 to float the cabin a mile or so to their 5.74-acre lot on Cougar Bay.

Watson told The Spokesman-Review in 2009 he would continue to live in his other lakefront home, on 37 acres at Rockford Bay, and put the Cougar Bay property on the market. He had bought the land from the late John Pointner, who had provided for an adjacent public wetland preserve and wildlife sanctuary.

At one point the Watsons had both properties up for sale, figuring they’d live in the one that didn’t sell, Watson said previously.

The log home’s move up the shoreline led to a legal battle between the sheriff and Kootenai County.

The Watsons sued the county and two county officials over fees they accrued when the county temporarily halted moving the home by barge.

The couple argued that the county wrongfully issued a stop work order on the moving job, resulting in $12,200 in barge fees and $300 in setup fees.

They also maintained that former Commissioner Rick Currie and Community Development Director Scott Clark stopped the job in response to the sheriff’s concerns of misconduct by county government.

A District Court judge in June dismissed the suit because the claims were filed beyond the statute of limitations.

Watson has served as sheriff since 1999 and previously was sheriff for one four-year term in the late 1970s. He is not seeking re-election.

He has worked in law enforcement since 1968 and ran his own private security firm for 19 years.

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