Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a 43-year-old robbery suspect Monday night, then footed the bill for the man’s mother at a hotel.
Deputies Joe Bodman, Jacob Spitzer and Nathan Bohanek arrested Harley Smerz and booked him into jail shortly after 11 p.m. Monday. Witnesses reported Smerz entered the Dollar Tree store at 9211 E. Montgomery Ave. in the Argonne Village Shopping Center around 8:30 p.m., where he asked for a bottle of water then grabbed cash from the register during the transaction. Smerz then fled the scene in a Ford station wagon.
Bohanek caught up to Smerz shortly after the call. When he stopped the car, he recognized Smerz from the witness description. In the passenger seat was an older woman who said she was Smerz’s mother. She said the two were traveling to Idaho Falls, looking for a job for Smerz, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office. She also told officers the two had been asking for fuel money during the trip.
Dollar Tree employees were brought to the station wagon and identified Smerz. The stolen money was returned to the store, and the rest of the money Smerz carried was given to his mother. Deputies then took the mother to a hotel and paid for her lodging with a personal credit card, according to the news release.
The hotel has refunded the deputies’ money and is offering the woman two free nights of lodging, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Smerz was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday afternoon.