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Suppose you had coffee cans full of pennies. And let's further suppose that you found yourself in a position of watching a little kid for a few hours. Could you keep that child entertained for a while with the following plan?
"Hey, Timmy. You know what would be fun? Why don't go through these cans and see if you can find any wheat pennies. I'll give you a special prize for every one you come up with."
A burglar described only as a man who jingled as he ran away was captured by a Spokane County sheriff’s K-9 team and patrol deputies early today.
Sheriff's K-9 Jet found Brian James Blankenship, 44, hiding in a bush at a home on East Salmon after a homeowner said he'd surprised a burglary in his garage in the 100 block of West Falcon about 5:15 a.m., according to a news release by Sgt. Dave Reagan.
The only description offered by the homeowner was that the thief made a "jingling" noise as he ran, but deputies Mark Melville and Bob Bond were able to track him with the help of Jet.
Blankenship surrendered to police and was booked into jail on a felony residential burglary charge. He had a pocketful of coins that jingled as he moved, Reagan said.
Burglars used a wheeled dolly to steal a safe from a Spokane Valley bakery early today or Wednesday, police say.
Employees at Oroweat Bakery, 5424 E. Sprague Ave., believe the theft occurred between 6:45 p.m. Wednesday and 7 a.m. today. An employee arrived at 7:30 a.m. to find the garbage man standing by the unsecured front door.
Police believe the burglars disassembled the front door locket, then rifled desk drawers and files before pulling the "large and heavy" safe from its concrete fixture and rolling it outside on a dolly, according to a news release by Sgt. Dave Reagan. The safe contained cash, business keys and paperwork.
Police also are looking for tips on a burglary that occurred early Wednesday at Spokane Quik Lube, 14704 E. Sprague.
Police responded to an alarm about 1:45 a.m. and found loose change scattered on the floor. The manager said the suspect entered the officer but did not steal cash.
Anyone with information on the burglaries is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
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
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.
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.
A convicted burglar accused of stealing a Spokane man's gold and silver coin collection began this week after the suspect backed out of a scheduled plea hearing at the last minute.
Gary D. McCabe, 45, is facing up to seven years in prison in connection with a burglary that occurred last August in the home of Dennis and Bette Miller.
Attorneys gave opening statements today before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Linda Tompkins. Stolen were thousands of dollars worth of gold and silver coins, including some from the U.S. Mint dating back to 1960.
Some of the coins have been recovered and efforts continue to recover the rest. McCabe had been scheduled to plead guilty to the current charges on Monday. He was convicted in October for a different burglary that occurred in October 2009 on South Glenrose Road.
McCabe’s rap sheet also includes property crime convictions that date back to age 12.
The case of the missing gold coins has become one of recovered treasure – at least partly.
Spokane County Sheriff’s Detective Richard Gere has located some, and has information that may lead to the recovery of many more, of the gold and silver coins boosted during an August burglary from Spokane coin collector Dennis Miller.
Charged in the theft is Gary D. McCabe, 45, who recently was sentenced to seven years in prison for a 2009 burglary. McCabe is currently facing the same time in prison at a Jan. 10 trial for the Miller burglary.
“Through the good police work of Deputy Brandon Armstrong and Detective Richard Gere, they were able to recover part of the stolen coin collection,” Deputy Prosecutor Bob Sargent said. “Information gathered by the detectives so far indicates that others were involved and there is an ongoing investigation.”
A convicted burglar accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of rare coins in August was convicted today of a separate home burglary.
Gary D. McCabe, 45, faces up to seven years in prison when he is sentenced in connection to the conviction Thursday.
In that case, McCabe broke into a home in the 2000 block of South Glenrose St. in October 2009. A retired school resource officer saw McCabe force open the home’s front door. Deputies arrived and found McCabe leaving the covered entryway of the home. They found stolen jewelry, silver ingots and Egyptian currency in his pockets.
McCabe - who has five previous convictions for residential burglary - also faces a trial in December in a case where a local coin collector arrived at home to find his 60-year-old gold and silver coin collection missing.
When McCabe was arrested in that case, a deputy found a certificate of authenticity from one of the coins in his pocket. He faces an additional seven years if convicted in that case, according to court records.
Dennis Miller had been collecting gold and silver coins since 1950, but this summer he began selling some to help finance a move to a retirement home.
Then Miller and his wife, Bette, returned home two months ago to find their basement ransacked and the coins missing. Although property crimes aren’t routinely investigated – and only a small percentage are ever solved – the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office located the suspected thief.
But so far, only three or four of the rare coins have been recovered. In this case, the Sheriff’s Office arrested Gary D. McCabe, 45, a prolific burglar who has three cases pending and property crime convictions that date back to 1976, when he was 12.
“This is downright personal,” said Miller, a 67-year-old retired highway engineer. “I was 7 years old when I started this collection.”