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Police dog Brax tracks burglary suspect a mile

An unauthorized driver of a utility van containing large amounts of copper was arrested Wednesday thanks to a police tracking dog, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said.

A Spokane Valley deputy noticed a Power City Electric van pull into Sullivan Park at 2:15 a.m. and park next to another vehicle, a Sheriff’s Office news release said.

When the officer approached the van, the driver left the van and ran eastbound across Sullivan Road. Police dog Brax tracked the man, who was found almost a mile away hiding under a pile of brush in the Sullivan Business Park.

Deputies said James Mulvaney, 48, was the driver of the van. Officers looked inside the van and could see large spools of copper, the release said.

Supervisors at Power City Electric said Mulvaney is not an employee.

Mulvaney was booked into Spokane County Jail on a felony charge of second-degree burglary.

K9 flushes out deputy

I am taking a six week Citizen's Academy class offered by the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. Anyone can sign up and we spend every Thursday evening learning a little bit about everything from gangs to sex crimes to property crimes. Last night we got a visit from K9 Brax and his handler, Deputy Steve Stipe. We were told to stand off to the side, keep quiet and be still while Brax searched a poorly lit portion of the former University City Mall for Deputy Travis Pendell. Pendell, who runs the Citizen's Academy most nights, volunteered to wear a bite sleeve and hide in the darkened room. Brax took off at a dead run and found Pendell quickly, his nails scrabbling on the concrete floor as he went in for the bite. It was interesting to watch the dog work.

Brax is Stipe's second dog and he's a patrol dog. Patrol dog handlers have to complete 700 hours of training before they can be certified and the dogs and handlers are required to do 16 hours of maintenance training every month. Stipe said he gives Brax a little bit of training every day. "I try to stump him," Stipe said. "I try to keep him on his toes."

Stipe said it was amazing how "85 pounds of fangs and fur" can turn the most argumentative and defiant suspect into a compliant one.

Still to come: sessions on Air 1, forensics and SWAT. This class is offered at least once a year. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about how the Sheriff's Office works and what it does.

2 arrested after chase w/ stolen truck

A sheriff deputy's attempted traffic stop led to a chase with a stolen truck Sunday night.

The driver and his passenger fled the truck near Haven Street after city police officers disabled its front and rear passenger tires at the intersection of North Market Street and East Euclid Avenue.

Suspect Gary A. Patterson, Jr., 34, was arrested near the truck and admitted he was a passenger, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's K-9 Brax found the suspected driver Kyle A. Costello, 26, hiding on top of a six-foot tall roof.

Deputy Shawn Audie had been pursuing the truck since trying to pull it over for a defective taillight near East Francis Avenue and Market about 10:15 p.m. Dispatchers told him the truck had been stolen in Spokane earlier that day.

Audie terminated the pursuit when the truck continued to travel recklessly with sparks flying from the front and rare passenger tire rims. He thought he saw a crash on Haven Street but arrived to see Patterson and Costello running from the stolen truck. There was no crash.

The men were booked into jail for possession of a stolen vehicle. Costello also faces a felony eluding charge.

Patterson was arrested about a month ago on suspicion of burglary after he requested - and was given - a bottle of wine when he unlawfully entered a home at at 828 E. Joseph Ave., allegedly.