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Tuesday, May 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Man with flare gun caught by helicopter after allegedly trying to steal from Walmart

UPDATED: Fri., Feb. 22, 2019, 8:34 p.m.

A man who allegedly tried to steal items from a Spokane Valley Walmart was caught with help from a helicopter after he fled the store.

A Spokane County Sheriff’s Office news release stated Benjamin G. Lassey, 28, entered the Walmart, at 505 E. Sprague Ave., at about 9:20 p.m. An employee said they recognized Lassey from prior run-ins and approached him as he allegedly tried to leave the store without paying for items. Lassey “kicked the employee” and fled, the release said.

Lassey got into a sedan and the driver drove away while the employee gave deputies a description of the car and its direction of travel.

A sheriff’s department helicopter followed while giving real-time updates to deputies on the ground.

Deputies pulled over the vehicle at South Thor and South Freya streets. After Lassey reportedly refused to obey commands, deputies fired a less-lethal shotgun round at the vehicle, breaking a window, at which point Lassey began to comply, the release stated.

The driver of the vehicle, Kyle A. Kirk, was cited for carrying a switchblade and released. Kirk said he “had no idea” Lassey was attempting to steal.

Lassey was booked into Spokane County Jail on a $31,000 bond for alleged burglary, robbery, possessing heroin, obstructing an officer and possessing a dangerous weapon, along with other warrants.

The suspect was also reportedly carrying a painted flare gun found after he was arrested, the release said.

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