October 20, 2013 in City

Tracking device alerted police to relationship between officer, suspected burglar

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A tracking device placed on a car as part of a burglary investigation is how authorities uncovered an intimate relationship between a Spokane police officer and a suspected burglar, according to records released last week containing previously undisclosed details about the case.

Officer Darrell Quarles was suspended in July without pay or benefits for two months for associating with a person who has violated state laws and for checking law enforcement databases without authorization, according to the Spokane Police Department.

At that time, police officials said Quarles signed a “last-chance agreement” to allow the department to fire him if he is found to be involved in further “serious misconduct.” According to disciplinary files obtained through a public records request, Quarles’ last-chance agreement expires after a year. When that happens, it will be removed from his employee file, according to an agreement signed by administrators, Quarles and Spokane Police Guild President John Gately.

Quarles met Katelyn C. Capps at the Swamp Tavern near downtown Spokane last November when she was celebrating her 21st birthday, according to Quarles’ disciplinary file. They maintained a sexual relationship until she broke it off in January, then they got back together in April.

Capps is alleged to have participated in residential burglaries in March.

Capps told Quarles soon after their relationship began that she had been arrested for prostitution in 2010 in Richland. Soon after the relationship was rekindled in April, she told him she had been “caught up in a burglary investigation and had been using methamphetamine,” according to the department’s internal investigation into the relationship. She also told Quarles she wasn’t sure if she was a witness or suspect in the case.

Quarles did not put an end to the relationship until May 6, after the department began to investigate his ties to Capps. Investigators do not believe Quarles participated in the burglaries.

In his final disciplinary hearing in front of Spokane police Chief Frank Straub in July, Quarles apologized for his actions. He said he was “vulnerable” at the time because of his recent divorce from his wife of 13 years.

“I take complete ownership of that and responsibility for knowing and not handling it the way I should have and not representing this department and not living my personal life to the standards that I really know I can and should,” Quarles said at the hearing, according to a transcript. “If you give me the opportunity, I got a lot of making up to do, and I know I can. I know I can.”

Quarles, 33, joined the department in 2008.

Detectives placed a tracker on Capps’ 1996 Acura on April 11 as part of the burglary investigation, according to investigative records. After the battery on the device died, detectives gathered addresses where the car had been and discovered that she had been visiting Quarles’ home.

On May 6, a police sergeant called Quarles at his residence. Quarles told the sergeant that Capps was with him and that the Acura was in his garage. He agreed to open the garage door so officers could remove the device.

The same day, Quarles was interviewed by Spokane police Lt. Dave McCabe about his involvement with Capps. Quarles said she was trying to turn her life around and that he wanted “to keep seeing her as long as she stayed clean,” according to investigative files. But later that day, he texted Capps that he had decided he couldn’t talk to her to protect his job and family. The next day, he told McCabe he would end the relationship.

Quarles’ text to Capps, from his personal cellphone, said, “maybe if there is some time and distance between the drug usage and this case” they could see each other in the future, according to the internal investigation.

Quarles violated department rules in mid-April when he examined records about the burglary case without authorization. At his disciplinary hearing, he told Straub that even though Capps told him about the burglary case, she didn’t provide many details, so he examined the records to “help me make a better decision as to what she’s involved with.”

He said he never shared any information from the file with Capps.

On May 9, Capps was charged with residential burglary, theft, trafficking stolen property and two counts of possession of a stolen firearm. Court records say she admitted to driving Cassie Verastegui, 27, to four or five homes to burglarize. She also told investigators that she was with Verastegui when Verastegui sold two shotguns stolen from a home on Idaho Road to Kenny L. Rustad, a convicted felon.

She and Verastegui were caught by police attempting to sell stolen property on March 19 at Pounder’s Jewelry, 3131 N. Division St., according to court records. Soon after a burglary victim asked the store to be on the lookout for her stolen property, the two women came to the store with some of the items, court records say. A store employee contacted police, and Capps and Verastegui were still on Pounder’s property when officers arrived.

Capps has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Her trial is scheduled to start in December.


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