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Taxidermy burglary ends with four teens arrested

Four teenage boys made off with a stuffed animal menagerie in Mead on Monday night, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

At 9:45 p.m., sheriff’s deputies responded to a suspicious vehicle call on Perry Street north of Hawthorne Road, according to a news release.

A nearby business owner saw three vehicles parked in the parking lot of an empty business and heard a large metallic “clang” from one of the vehicles.

Deputies found four teens in the parking lot and asked them to leave, according to the release. They later responded to a commercial burglary call at Knopp Taxidermy at 10816 N. Newport Highway.

An on-site security guard said he found the business burglarized at about 10:30 p.m. A panel had been torn off the side of the building, the front door was open and six animals were missing: a polar bear, wolf, monkey, raccoon, zebra and boar. The animals were valued at $27,050 – $20,000 for the polar bear alone, according to the news release.

One of the deputies was able to follow a dirt track to the same location where they had contacted the teens, according to the release. He found the polar bear, the raccoon, the zebra and the boar along the way, as well as a crowbar on the ground with animal hair next to it.

Deputies tracked down three of the teens, who admitted they’d been inside the taxidermy business and stolen the mounts, the release said. They also told deputies the wolf and monkey had been dumped near Clover Park Avenue and Pineglen Road.

Deputies later found the fourth teen identified by the other three, and also recovered the missing mounts, the release said.

All four suspects were arrested and booked on charges of second-degree burglary.