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Liberty Lake police: Broken-down car stolen by tow truck

Thu., Feb. 28, 2013, midnight

The Liberty Lake Police Department investigated an unusual auto theft Saturday evening on Interstate 90.

A car had broken down on the freeway near the Liberty Lake exit. The driver called police at 8:15 p.m. to report that when a tow truck arrived to pick up his car, the vehicle was gone.

An investigation showed that another tow truck had taken the car without permission, said Police Chief Brian Asmus. “It was supposedly roadside assistance,” he said. The car was entered into the system as stolen.

The car’s owner called police again at 11:30 p.m. that day to report that his missing car had been put back right where he left it on Interstate 90. Asmus said the tow company that took the car without permission has been identified. “There was a witness,” he said.

The Washington State Patrol will be following up on the incident because the agency helps regulate tow companies, Asmus said.

For the second week in a row a Liberty Lake resident reported that packages left on the porch were stolen. The most recent incident happened in the 1200 block of North Murray Lane. The resident called police on Feb. 21 to report that he received a call alerting him that two empty FedEx boxes with his name on them were found in Spokane. According to FedEx records, the packages had been delivered Feb. 19, Asmus said. One of the packages contained an iPad.

Asmus said he recommends that residents try to be home when packages are delivered or make arrangements to have them delivered somewhere else or held for pickup. “You can make that request for Fed Ex and UPS,” he said.

During the week of Feb. 18 to 25 the department also responded to calls for credit card fraud, a garage burglary and a hitchhiker on I-90. There were 15 arrests for driving with a suspended license, two for driving under the influence and one for domestic violence assault.

A Liberty Lake man was arrested Saturday in the 1500 block of North Hodges Road for possession of a stolen vehicle. An officer spotted the car pulled off the road while on patrol and pulled it over when the driver tried to leave the area, Asmus said.

The man said he bought the car from another man, but didn’t know the man’s name, Asmus said. He didn’t have a key to the car or a bill of sale. The registered owner of the car was notified, Asmus said.

The investigation into the death of a 50-year-old man in the 1400 block of North Aladdin Road has been completed, Asmus said. The man, who was found by a family member, suffered a heart attack.

During the week officers handed out five citations for failure to show proof of liability insurance, two for license and plates required, two for failure to stop at a stop sign and six for speeding. Additional citations were given for defective muffler, failure to wear a safety belt, failure to signal and reckless endangerment.

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