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Intruder, victim call police on each other

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon police say both an intruder and a Portland homeowner phoned 911 to report the same thing: a strange man in a home.

Lt. Kelli Sheffer says the intruder told police he had just broken into a home Monday evening when the owner arrived — and the caller was worried the homeowner might have a gun.

Accompanied by his two German Shepherds, the homeowner found the intruder and asked what he was doing in the house. That's when the stranger locked himself in a bathroom and phoned police.

The homeowner called police with his account.

Sheffer says 24-year-old Timothy James Chapek, of Portland, was booked into jail for investigation of first-degree criminal trespass.

‘Nemesis’ of property owners sentenced

A serial burglar who fled Spokane County District Court last April was sentenced recently to just under six years in prison.

Cole T. Monson, 37, described by law enforcement as the “nemesis” of property owners, pleaded guilty to 21 felonies for a crime spree that ended last March. A Spokane County Sheriff's raid related to the crime spree netted so much stolen property that detectives used a moving truck to transport the items.

According to court documents, Monson admitted the burglaries to police and said he “wrote the book on pursuits with the police.”

Monson told police after a March 13 chase that “he was so high at the time that all he could do was focus on not getting caught and not getting killed in a crash,” documents say.

Monson posted bond after his arrest but returned to jail the next month after fleeing a courtroom and falling outside the Public Safety Building. A judge had revoked his bond for a driving while suspended charge.

Monson was sentenced to 68 months in prison and ordered to pay $54,259 restitution after pleading guilty Friday to second-degree theft, second-degree possession of stolen property, second-degree identity theft, two counts of third-degree assault, second-degree trafficking in stolen property, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, theft of a motor vehicle and 12 counts of second-degree burglary.

Electronics stolen from Valley church

Here's a news release from Sgt. Dave Reagan:  

A thief broke into a Spokane Valley church sometime between Wednesday night and 5 p.m. Saturday and stole several thousand dollars worth of electronic equipment.

The pastor at Valley Landmark Mission, 9021 E. Boone, told Officer Mark Benner that the congregation held a service Wednesday night and that all of the stolen property was stored in the electronic storage room that night.

When a cleaning crew arrived about 5 p.m. Saturday, they discovered the room pillaged and several items missing.  The stolen property included a Canon HD camcorder, an Acer laptop computer and two Phillips portable DVD players.

Benner found that the point of entry appeared to be a narrow window.  Anyone with information regarding the break-in is encouraged to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Pasco mom chases suspected burglar

PASCO, Wash. (AP) — A suspected teen burglar in Pasco took on the wrong opponent in a foot chase.

Kim Robison didn't stop to think when her sister pointed at an intruder wearing a black, hooded jacket jumping from the second floor of her home and fleeing down the sidewalk Monday. Instead, the 29-year-old mother of two just ran after him.

Robison has run a couple of half-marathons, she said, "but I'd always lost my momentum in the winter."

Not this year. She set a goal this winter of running 1,000 miles, which means she has to run about 19 miles each week.

"If he hadn't had a little jump on me, I think I would've caught up with him," she said.

Robison ran four miles Monday morning, then went to lunch with her sister and their young children, only to return home for a coupon.

Robison went through the garage to get into the house, but froze when she discovered shards of glass on the laundry room floor. She backed out of the garage, hollering at her sister to corral the kids in the car.

"I asked her, 'Should I go inside?'" Robison said. "She told me, 'No, call your husband.'"

But Robison couldn't resist taking a peek through a window on the other corner of the house first.

As she came back around toward the garage, her sister yelled, "There he is!"

An intruder had broken out a screen from the second-floor window, jumped off the roof and was now darting down the sidewalk. When Robison first saw him, he was about four houses away.

She took off after the suspect.

"I was running after him like a crazy woman," she said, laughing. "I was yelling at him, 'I see you! I'm going to get you!'"

Robison ended the chase when the intruder turned away from the neighborhood street onto a secluded path, then stopped to dial 911 as her sister had done minutes earlier. She told the emergency dispatcher the suspect's location, and police made an arrest while she was still on the phone.

Police have not identified the suspect, who is a minor.

As the adrenaline was wearing off Monday afternoon, Robison said she surprised herself during and after the chase.

"I thought I'd be scared or maybe cry," she said. "But I'm proud that I defended my home."

Information from: Tri-City Herald, http://www.tri-cityherald.com

Thieves targeting for-sale Valley homes

Real estate agents are being targeted in a theft ring that preys upon vacant, for-sale homes.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that help solve 23 burglaries in Spokane Valley in which kitchen appliances were stolen from vacant homes.

Police say the thief first steals the real estate lock box from the front door of the vacant homes that contains the key, then returns with a truck to steal ovens, stoves and refrigerators.

"The boxes are designed to be difficult to break open, so the thief does that elsewhere," according to a Crime Stoppers news release.

Anyone with information on the burglaries is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Midday burglary on Eight Avenue on Friday

A house on Eight was broken into Friday just a bit after noon. A neighbor saw what was happening and called police who responded quickly but not in time to apprehend the thieves. The same neighbor did take a picture of the suspect's truck [F-150 pick up, light blue, older model, tinted windows, Idaho License Plate] and saw two males, one with a red beard, taking things from the house.
The burglars fled the scene in a hurry, leaving behind a pile of things at the front door they obviously had intended to take. They did a fair amount of damage and got away with computers, electronic equipment and personal I.D. documents. The intruders gained access by breaking the glass in the front door.
I have noticed several reports of attempted access or actual theft by kicking in front doors/windows in our larger community area over the past few months.

It reminds me to take some precautions that are easy to overlook:
Take pictures of everything in your home and all personal documents. Give one copy of the pictures to a trusted friend or relative to keep for you.
If possible, keep S.S. Cards and passports in a safe or safe deposit box.
Get to know your immediate neighbors and DO LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER. More active Block Watch groups are always needed.
It is never your fault if you are robbed, and none of us can be totally secured these days, but let's join together as a community to increase safety and prevent crime whenever and wherever possible

Via e-mail from neighborhood crime watcher Sue Hill.

Reward for tips on taco stand vandalism

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to the arrest of those responsible for vandalizing a Coeur d'Alene taco stand.

The owner of Tacos Los Panchos in Coeur d'Alene discovered the trailer's power line, propane line and heater line severed when he arrived for work about 8:30 a.m. Feb. 11.

The taco stand also was burglarized Dec. 6, some time after 6:30 p.m. Someone pried open the trailer's main door and stole cash, laptop computer, an MP3 player and DVD player.

Anyone with information on the crimes is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (208) 667-2111 or 1-800-222-TIPS. Tipsters do not have to use their name to collect a reward.

The stand also has recently been picketed by white supremacists.

Killer w/ 67 arrests sentenced for drugs

A convicted killer who has been arrested 67 times since leaving juvenile detention is headed to state prison.

Nicholas A. Limpert, 25, was sentenced this week to one year and one day in prison with credit for 18 days served after pleading guilty to two counts of drug possession.

The felony convictions are his 10th and 11th since 2007. He still faces a second-degree burglary charge after police say they caught him in the act Feb. 7.

Limpert avoided prison as a teenager for his role in a murder because a judge believed he could be rehabilitated. He has been arrested 67 times since, mostly for property-related crimes.

Limpert's demeanor seems to have changed since he was a teen. He was described as smirking and laughing during his sentencing for first-degree murder in 2001; Spokane police say he’s now well known for crying upon arrest.

After three trials, jury convicts burglar

It took three tries, but a Spokane County jury has convicted Gary D. McCabe of his 17th burglary.

  A jury late Friday found McCabe, 45, guilty of residential burglary and possession of a controlled substance.

They acquitted him on one misdemeanor count of possession of stolen property. McCabe was convicted of stealing more than $25,000 worth of rare gold and silver coins from a man who began his collection in 1960.

McCabe, who recently was sentenced to seven years in prison for an earlier burglary, faces a similar sentence when he is sentenced on March 8 before Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque.

Two previous trials ended in mistrial, including when a juror deduced — correctly — that McCabe burglarized her home last August and a potential juror said he'd transported McCabe as a corrections officer.

Past coverage: Oct. 12: Burglar stole more than gold

March 27, 2009: Arrests may crack burglaries

Police juggernaut thwarts crafty crime

OK, maybe the headline is a bit of an exaggeration.

Two burglary suspects were arrested Monday after one invited police to search his apartment and they found a stolen TV.

Jarrod J. Howard, 29, assured Spokane Valley police Officer Chan Erdman he wouldn't find anything in his apartment at 10101 E. Main Ave. when Erdman arrived to investigate a burglary at a neighbor's apartment.

Erdman found the TV under a blanket on a bed.

A witness had called police after spotting Howard and another man stealing from the apartment. Police also found stolen knives and X-Box games.

Howard was booked into jail on a burglary charge with suspected accomplice Justin Spenser Johns, 25.

Burglar hits Spokane Valley tattoo shop

Five tattoo guns were stolen from a Spokane Valley shop last Friday.

The owner of Feel Good Tattoo, 12 N. Skipworth Road, said he slept through a 4 a.m. call from his alarm company but awoke at 9 .am. and had an employee check the business.

The burglar entered the shop through a damaged door, according to Spokane Valley police Officer H.J. Whapeles.

Items stolen include a Kodak camera, a Ted Tattoo gun, a OnePulse tattoo gun, two Spalding tattoo guns and a Dixon tattoo gun, as well as Eternal and Starbright paints, safety glasses, disposable tubes and numerous tattoo needles.  Value of the items exceeds $1,000.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Drug robbery targets chronic DUI suspect

A violent home-invasion robbery in Spokane Valley last month targeted a former sheriff's deputy with a history of DUI crashes.

James L. Crabtree, 49, was struck in the head with a claw hammer early Jan. 21 by a man who demanded "dope and money," according to charging papers filed Wednesday against suspects Matthias "Payback" Piggot and Sandy K. Perreira, both 29 (pictured left to right). 

The man, who detectives believe was Piggot, had arrived at the apartment in the 12700 block of East Shannon Avenue with a woman Crabtree said had been at his home two days earlier, police say. Detectives believe that woman was Perreira.

Crabtree told police he grabbed a folding knife but dropped it after he was threatened with the hammer. He told his attackers he didn't have any drugs or money, so the two left with his checkbook, wallet and credit cards, according to court documents. Crabtree suffered a concussion in the attack. His girlfriend, Cheryl L. Dassow, told police the robbers threatened to harm them further if they reported the attack.

Perreira faces an additional forgery charge for cashing a check on Crabtree's Numerica Credit Union account. She also faces drug and malicious mischief charges for an unrelated incident last December. 

Piggot's criminal history includes convictions for domestic violence and attempting to elude police. In June, he was suspected of stabbing a man in Spokane Valley but an uncooperative victim halted the police probe. He also was present when Andrew T. Burns allegedly shot a man last June.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that help arrest Piggot, who last gave an address in the 2900 block of North Maple Road, and Perreira, who last gave an address in the 800 block of East Sitka Avenue.

Anyone with information on their locations is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

In November, Crabtree, (left) who worked as a Spokane County sheriff's deputy in the 1980s and caused a crash that injured Lt. Earl Howerton in 2001, was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after motorists noticed him passing out at the wheel of his Cadillac and blocked in his car. Police found an open can of Four Loko in the car. But Crabtree's blood-alcohol level was under the legal limit for driving, and prosecutors haven't yet filed charges.

Man with 67 arrests pleads not guilty

 A Spokane man who avoided prison as a teenager for his role in a murder because a judge believed he could be rehabilitated pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a second-degree burglary charge. If convicted, it would be his 10th felony since 2007. 

Nicholas Adam Limpert, now 25, declined an interview request. His father, Thomas Limpert, attended his arraignment in Spokane County Superior Court and said his son has “had a rough life.”

Limpert’s criminal history began at age 15 with the November 2000 robbery and murder of a disabled janitor in northwest Spokane.

The decision to allow him to be charged as a juvenile angered the victim’s family, who said they doubted he could be rehabilitated.

Now news of a dizzying post-detention arrest record has the judge who sentenced him wondering the same thing.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 15: After lock up, teen killer arrested 67 times

After lock up, teen killer arrested 67 times

A Spokane man sentenced for murder as a juvenile because a judge thought he could be rehabilitated marked his 67th arrest in the last five years last weekend.

Nicholas A. Limpert, 25, was released from jail last week after prosecutors failed to file charges within 72 hours of his arrest for burglary.

A felony burglary charge was filed just after his release, so the Spokane Police Department's new anti-crime patrol team, which focuses on crime trends and fugitives, tracked him down Saturday night. He's now jailed on a $100,000 bond and a Department of Corrections probation hold.

Officer Brian Eckersley said Limpert is very well known to police and often cries when he's arrested. (It shows in his mug shots. Check out two others here and here.)

Limpert was convicted of accomplice to first-degree murder when he was 15 and was in juvenile detention until he was 20. Limpert was to be incarcerated until he was 21 but was released early after being credited for time already served.

His release angered the family of his victim, Kenneth D. Brown, a 59-year-old mentally disabled janitor who was robbed by Limpert and Brandon R. Molony in November 2000 before being stabbed to death by Molony. 

Limpert smirked and laughed during his sentencing in 2001, (pictured left) and Brown's family doubted he could be rehabilitated.

His adult criminal history began shortly after his release and includes at least eight felony convictions and eight misdemeanors, including theft, malicious mischief domestic violence, vehicle prowling and possession of a dangerous weapon.

K-9 helps nab sibling burglary suspects

A sheriff's dog helped deputies arrest two brothers suspected of an attempted burglary this morning in north Spokane County.

A resident in the 1000 block of West Eastmont Way called 911 a few minutes before 7 a.m. and said he was following two burglars. He lost sight of them, but deputies spotted suspects Joseph E. Whipple, 23, (pictured) and Luke R. Whipple, who turns 22 on Tuesday, behind a bank at 7300 N. Division St.

Joseph Whipple was arrested just after fleeing; Deputy John Cook and his K-9, Ekko, tracked Luke Whipple to a basement window well of a home north of Holy Cross Cemetery.

Neither suspect was injured in the pursuit and arrest, but a sheriff’s deputy suffered a minor hand injury while climbing a fence, said Sgt. Dave Reagan.

The brothers were booked into jail on charges of attempted residential burglary and possession of marijuana.

Luke Whipple also faces a charge of obstructing a police investigation, and Joseph Whipple had an arrest warrant form the Department of Corrections for a 2009 second-degree robbery conviction.

Chainsaws stolen in business burglary

Here's a news release from the Spokane Valley Police Department:
    
"A thief smashed a window in the front wall of Country Homes Power Equipment overnight and made off with a pair of high-end Stihl chainsaws.  The store is located at 5323 East Sprague.

The company received an alarm at 1:09 a.m. Wednesday, but a manager opted to not call police.  When employees arrived later, they discovered the 7’ by 7’ window shattered and the two saws taken from a display shelf.

Value of the stolen saws was set at more than $1,800.  Anyone with information about this smash-and-grab burglary is encouraged to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233."

Police: Officers caught burglars in act

Two burglars were caught in the act this morning in north Spokane, police say.

Spokane police officers saw two men flee an unsecured garage and drop items in a backyard after responding to a burglary in progress in the 4000 block of North Cincinnati Street at 5:58 a.m. 

The men jumped fences and tried to hide, but police found suspect Nicholas A. Limpert, 25, (right) hiding under a car in the 900 block of East Heroy Avenue.

A second suspect, Robert J. McNabb, 20, (left) also was arrested and booked into jail on a second-degree burglary charge.

Limpert is a convicted felon who has been wanted by Crime Stoppers twice since 2008. 

His criminal history includes convictions for domestic violence assault, possessing a dangerous weapon, city theft, second-degree theft, first-degree theft, malicious mischief and vehicle prowling.

McNabb was sentenced in October to 33 days in jail and two years probation for first-degree attempted burglary, possession of a controlled substance, second-degree theft and forgery.

Criminal history leads to mistrial, again

A convicted burglar's criminal history has led to the wheels of justice getting derailed for him once again.

Jury selection was underway Tuesday when attorneys asked if any of the 40 prospective jurors knew Gary D. McCabe, 45, who is accused of stealing more than $25,000 worth of rare gold and silver coins.

One man said he'd transported McCabe several times while a correction officer at Geiger Corrections Center and has transported McCabe several times.

Because other potential jurors were present when the man referenced McCabe's criminal history, Superior Court Judge Ellen Kalama Clark dismissed all 40 people and reset the trial for later this month with a new jury pool.

The same case nearly went to a jury last month before one of the jurors realized that McCabe probably burglarized her South Hill home.

A mistrial was declared, and the woman identified her stolen camera in the evidence pool.

McCabe already is to serve seven years in prison for a 2009 burglary.

Past coverage:

Oct. 12: Burglar stole more than gold

March 27, 2009: Arrests may crack burglaries

New charges in senior home break-ins

A Spokane man suspected of burglarizing South Hill retirement homes has been charged with burglarizing another center in Spokane Valley.

Pavel V. Altukhov, 23, faces three counts of residential burglary and one count of second-degree burglary for break-ins at apartments at the Park Place Retirement Community, 511 N. Park Road, on Nov. 19.

He's already charged with five counts of burglary and one count of first-degree trafficking in stolen property for burglaries at the Waterford and Rockwood retirement communities about the same time.

Police say they found more than 1,000 pieces of jewelery in a Altukhov's car when they arrested him in December.

More than 50 victims had reported thefts from their apartments at just Waterford and Rockwood, police say.

Altukhov has pleaded not guilty and remains in jail. He's to be arraigned on the four new felonies within the next two weeks after making his first court appearance on Monday.

Woman’s suspicions spark burglary bust

Two burglary suspects were arrested early today after a watchful resident grew suspicious of two men who parked a car in her neighborhood.

Brian Keith Belton, 35, and Tracy K. Whiting, 44, were detained near West Marc Drive and North Pinecrest Drive in north Spokane County after a woman called Crime Check about 1:30 a.m. and said the men suspiciously left a parked car.

Spokane County sheriff's Deputies David Westlake and Thad Shultz found a suitcase with unopened mail for a nearby residence, as well as a walkie-talkie near the men. They also found a smashed window at a home that had been ransacked.

They believe Belton committed the burglary while Whiting waited outside, according the Sheriff's Office. Both men were booked into jail for second-degree burglary.

Belton also was booked on a felony drug charge for a small amount of meth found in his shoe.

In a news release, Sgt. Dave Reagan called the case "a scenario that would warm the heart of any Neighborhood Watch captain."

Read Reagan's drama-filled news release by clicking the link below.

Burglar wanted after ditching drug rehab

A convicted Spokane burglar who was given drug treatment instead of prison is wanted by police after leaving his rehabilitation center.

 Richard C. Hebert, 23, was ordered in December to complete residential drug treatment in lieu of a two-year prison sentence but left the center on Jan. 5 and never contacted the state Department of Corrections.

He had told his probation officer that treatment was going well just a couple weeks earlier, court documents say.

A no bail arrest warrant was issued Jan. 13 on second-degree burglary and second-degree theft charges.

Now Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information that leads to his capture.

Hebert, 5-foot-5 and 180 pounds, has previous convictions for first-degree driving while suspended, attempting to elude a police vehicle, residential burglary and probation violations.

He last gave a home address in the 400 block of East Fifth Avenue in Spokane, according to Crime Stoppers. Anyone with tips on his current whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online. Tipsters to not have leave their name to collect a reward.

Valley theft, burglary spree earns 2 years

A crime spree that included vehicle prowling, burglary and prescription fraud earned a 23-year-old Spokane Valley woman about two years in prison this week. 

Jenalee Jean Hall, who police say is a cousin of Eddie Ray Hall , was sentenced Tuesday to 25 months in prison, the same sentence handed to her former roommate and partner in crime, Miranda L. Watson, last April.

The duo was accused of a crime spree that included vehicle prowling and thefts at Spokane Valley and South Hill fitness clubs and locker room burglaries at East Valley and West Valley high schools.

Spokane Valley police were flooded with tips about the locker room thefts after distributing surveillance photos of the women (Hall is to the left; Watson is to the right.) Hall also was charged with fraudulently filling OxyContin prescription and once told detectives she and her friends plotted a theft while sitting in a car "ingesting narcotics" with her young son present, according to previous reports.

Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno ordered Hall to pay $985 restitution after pleading guilty to possession of a controlled substance, third-degree assault, first-degree theft and three counts of second-degree possession of stolen property and $3,342 restitution after pleading guilty to two counts of second-degree theft, second-degree identity theft, second-degree theft with intent to resell and forgery.

Watchful woman helps bust theft suspect

A suspected car prowler was arrested early today after a woman spotted him stash stolen property before he pilfered a neighbor's garage.

Loren Camron Kintner, 31, was arrested near Trent Avenue and Ella Street following the report of suspicious activity in the 8100 block of East Carlislie, according to the Spokane Valley Police Department.
 
The caller said she watched Kintner stash a red box behind a vacant house, then remove a white box from a neighbor's open garage. As police were speaking with Kintner, a waitress from a nearby restraint told officers a distinctive sweatshirt had been stolen from her car.
 
Police found Kintner with the sweatshirt, along with a stolen cordless drill and a calculator stolen from a car in the 8700 block of East Courtland. He also had 38 vehicle keys, police say. The red box allegedly stashed by Kintner contained a $4,000 fan stolen from a truck in the 8300 block of East Jackson, and the white box contained an ornamental Christmas doll.
 
Kintner, a transient, was booked into jail on charges of second-degree burglary, second-degree theft, possession of motor vehicle theft tools and three counts each of second-degree vehicle prowling and third-degree theft.
 
The stolen property was returned to the victims after it was photographed for evidence.

Robbery targets medical pot patient

A home-invasion robbery targeting a medical marijuana patient led to the arrests of two suspects this week.

Nicholas S. Gardner, 28, and his girlfriend, Jill A. Benton, 26, are in jail on robbery, assault and kidnapping charges for allegedly attacking John J. Beck, 30, on Jan. 15 at his home in the 5400 block of North Lincoln Street. 

Beck has a medical marijuana prescription and grows a small amount in his basement, according to police. He'd met Benton on two occasions when she stopped by about 12:30 p.m. last Friday and stayed for about 10 minutes.

About 15 minutes after she left, two men - one with a gun and the other with a baseball bat - knocked on Beck's back door, then pushed him into the house, according to police.

They asked where his "stash" was and tied Beck's hands behind his back and feet together using electrical cords. One of the robbers said "we got the gimp" during a phone call, then fled, Beck told police.

Benton told police she'd stopped by Beck's to look for her $350 sunglasses. She said "she has no idea about any robbery," Spokane police wrote in a search warrant. But police say her phone records showed a call just before 1 p.m. through a tower near Beck's home.

Gardner was given $150,000 bond after appearing in Superior Court Thursday. Benton's bond is at $20,000. A third suspect has not been identified.

Juror links defendant to home burglary

A Spokane woman never imagined that serving on the jury of a burglar would solve her burglary, as well.

“In all my time as a prosecutor, that’s the first time I had a juror solve her own case,” Deputy Prosecutor Bob Sargent said. “What are the odds of picking a jury and picking a gal who is a victim of the defendant but doesn’t know it? Then she gets a suspicion that is correct.”

Shea Swoboda, 28, had her South Hill home pilfered Aug. 16. Last week, she realized defendant Gary McCabe (right) may have burgled her own house, which led to a mistrial.

Read Thomas Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

Oct. 12: Burglar stole more than gold

March 27, 2009: Arrests may crack burglaries

Thieves rob Redeemer Lutheran Church

Someone stole thousands of dollars in electronic equipment from Redeemer Lutheran Church, 3606 S. Schafer Road, this week. The theft was discovered Wednesday. Since there was no sign of forced entry, Spokane Valley Police believe someone may have hidden inside the church Tuesday night when it was locked up. Click here for more on the story. Anyone with information on the theft is asked to call Crime Check at 456-2233.

Reward offered for tips on Avista theft

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that solve a burglary in which two Spokane-area companies lost more than $5000 in copper wire and power tools.

The crime is believed to have occurred between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. Wednesday at an Avista Utilities storage site at 2400 N. Dollar Road in Spokane Valley.

Employees believe the thief or thieves cut a padlock from a gate and backed a vehicle into the lot, then removed more than $3,000 in items from five Avista work trucks using a wheelbarrow.

Bouten Construction, which also stored items at the site, lost several power tools valued at about $2,000, including two Skil circular saws, two roto hammers and two cordless battery charges.

Anyone with information on is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

2 arrested in Valley post office break-in

An observant postal inspector arrested two mail theft suspects this week after recognizing them from surveillance video.

Tony L. Gust, 31, and Dustin C. Hoyle, 22, were arrested Tuesday after admitting to breaking into post office boxes at the Opportunity station and stealing mail, according to federal court documents.

The men are accused of breaking into 32 post office boxes and 18 parcel lockers at the post office at 11712 E. Sprague Ave early Monday.

Video showed two men breaking into the boxes about 12:52 a.m. and leaving at 1:07 a.m., then returning at 1:42 a.m. and using a knife to access the lockers, according to court documents.

U.S. Postal Inspector Shannon Saylor was patrolling the area of Pines and 5th Avenue Tuesday when she saw two men who looked like the burglars.

Hoyle and Gust were detained for questioning then arrested after reportedly admitting to the crime.

Both were allowed to leave jail after appearing in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, but Hoyle remains in jail on an unrelated negligent driving charge.

Pizza shop burglar escapes with dough

A burglar stole a credit card reader and a small amount of cash from a Spokane Valley pizza shop overnight Tuesday.

The owner of Buck's Pizza, 13221 E. 32nd Ave., told police the thief pried open a back door and an interior door to access the office.

A sounding alarm likely prevented the thieves from gathering "additional booty," Sgt. Dave Reagan said in a news release.

Tracks in snow and pry marks on a door at a neighboring business, R. Salon, indict the thief also tried to break in there, police said.

Police found the card reader and a pry bar inside a stolen truck processed on Tuesday, but no arrests have been made, Regan said.

$5k in tools, copper wire stolen at Avista

Someone stole more than $5,000 worth of tools and copper wire from an Avista Utilities storage site in Spokane Valley early Wednesday.

Employees at 2400 N. Dollar Road believe the thief or thieves cut a padlock from a gate and backed a vehicle into the lot, then removed more than $3,000 in items from five Avista work trucks using a wheelbarrow.

Bouten Construction, which also stored items at the site, lost several power tools valued at about $2,000, including two Skil circular saws,  two roto hammers and two cordless battery charges.

Based on the amount of snow accumulated in footprints, police believe the break-in likely occurred sometime between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Spokane Valley Police Department.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.