March 21, 2014 in City

Bond set at $15,000 for suspected vehicle prowl ringleader

By The Spokesman-Review

One of two men accused by police of being a leader of a vehicle prowling ring spanning Spokane and Kootenai counties appeared in court Friday on charges of theft, malicious mischief and vehicle prowling.

Michael W. Belton, aka Michael W. Murray, was ordered held on $15,000 bond. Belton has an extensive criminal history in Spokane County under both names. His alleged accomplice, Aaron J. Cunningham, was ordered held on $7,500 bond Thursday on the same charges.

Court documents state that deputies identified a black Pontiac Grand Am registered to Cunningham as being at the scene at several vehicle prowls. Investigators obtained a search warrant allowing them to place a GPS tracker on the car, which was in operation from March 11 until Belton and Cunningham were arrested on Wednesday at Northern Quest Casino.

Detectives were watching when Belton allegedly broke out a window of a car in the casino parking lot and stole a laptop computer and other items, courts documents state.

Deputies also served search warrants at 4303 N. Post St. and 11123 E. 10th Avenue on Wednesday. The list of stolen items recovered from those residences runs several pages. The items recovered include a bulletproof vest, shotgun and scoped rifle stolen from the car of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent.

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