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Marijuana theft suspect surrenders after SWAT standoff

A broken window at a medical marijuana dispensary led to a standoff Thursday between police and the vandalism suspect, who turned out to be wanted on two felony warrants.

William J. “Billy” Wilson, 24, eventually surrendered to Spokane police and was arrested late Thursday. He faces a charge of malicious mischief in addition to his felony charges of first-degree theft and harassment-threats to kill. He was ordered held on $10,000 bond on the felony charges during a brief court appearance Friday.

Wilson’s public defender asked for leniency on the bond amount because Wilson said he has been diagnosed with cancer. In denying that request, Spokane County Superior Court Judge Greg Sypolt noted that Wilson has seven felony convictions as an adult and has been wanted on two warrants since August.

Witnesses told police they saw a man break out a window of the Northside Alternative Wellness Center at 4811 N. Market St. just after 9 p.m. Thursday and said they thought it was Wilson, a former employee. Police went to Wilson’s house in the 2500 block of East Lincoln Road, where he began yelling obscenities and refusing to come out, said police spokeswoman Officer Teresa Fuller.

The SWAT team was called to negotiate due to Wilson’s felony history and because police were told Wilson was likely armed. Wilson did not have a weapon when he came outside to surrender, and it’s not known if there were guns in the home, Fuller said.

Wilson’s theft charge stems from a 2012 case when the same marijuana dispensary was robbed of 1.5 pounds of marijuana, a laptop and other items. Video surveillance showed Wilson, an employee at the time, using his key to enter the shop on Christmas Day and taking the items, according to court documents.

The harassment charge was filed after Wilson allegedly threatened to kill his brother in text messages sent in May 2013.



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