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Couple hurt in Fourth of July attack

 Police are trying to identify a group of assailants who beat a young couple near the Spokane Arena on the Fourth of July.

Shantell Rushing, 21, and her boyfriend Jorge Ruiz, 21, were walking north on Howard Street from Riverfront Park when a group of about 10 juveniles attacked them near Cataldo Street.

Ruiz was knocked unconscious and needed stitches for to seal a head wound; Rushing suffered facial wounds and other injuries.

Rushing said they passed the group on the walk but didn't have any contact until the assault. They said the juveniles appeared to be about 15 and said nothing during the attack. Four of them returned to continue beating Ruiz and stole his wallet, keys and cellphone, Rushing said.

Spokane police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said detectives have little information regarding possible suspects.

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

South Hill Subway robbed at gunpoint

A South Hill sandwich shop was robbed at gunpoint Wednesday night.

A man walked into Subway, 3014 E. 29th Ave., at 8:40 p.m. and demanded money from the store clerk. He displayed what appeared to be a handgun and left with an undisclosed amount of cash.

The robber is described as a white man in his 20s with a long-sleeve gray shirt, white sorts and white shoes.

No injuries were reported.

Major crimes detectives ask anyone with additional information to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Hit-and-run victim dies of heart attack

A north Spokane man who was injured in June by a hit-and-run driver died of a heart attack Wednesday

Dennis Widener was struck while out exercising on his bicycle at Division Street and Garland Avenue about 5:45 a.m. on June 23.

He was hospitalized at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center with broken ribs and other injuries and then transferred to St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute.

The collision was the subject of a story in Wednesday's edition of The Spokesman-Review.

Spokane police said they had little evidence to solve the felony case other than a vague vehicle description, possibly a brown Toyota Avalon.

Anyone with information should call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
  

Kid’s cellphone photo helps nab suspects

A 5-year-old child who grabbed his mother's cellphone from her purse during a shopping trip inadvertently helped arrest two repeat theft suspects in Spokane.

The child accidentally took pictures of the suspects' vehicle as they fled with the woman's purse just after 5 p.m. Tuesday outside the Walmart on North Colton Street, according to the Spokane Police Department.

The pictures included the car's license plate number, which police say matched the car driven by purse-snatching suspects Andrew V. Auerbach, 24, and Samantha D. Thomas, 21.

The couple already is accused of purse snatchings in April and May but was allowed to stay out of jail pending trial. Police arrested them again today and booked them into Spokane County Jail on new felony theft charges.

Police are looking for the victim of an attempted purse snatching outside Winco on North Nevada Street that occurred about 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The victim is urged to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Shooting victim ID’d; clues still sought

UPDATE: Three people have been arrested. Read more here.

A 23-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound to his upper left thigh during a part in South Spokane County last week.

Detectives with the Spokane County gang and major crimes units say they were hampered by a non-cooperative victim, identified in court documents as Christopher M. Comer, and uncooperative witnesses.

Comer's wife, Christina Pearson, called 911 about 1:39 a.m. Sunday and said her husband had been shot. She said she was unsure of her exact location, but sheriff's deputies located the home at 16016 S. Molter Road after responding to the area of Molter and Elder Road.

Comer was lying on the back outside stairs; Pearson said she was “extremely drunk” and that she and Comer had been driven to the party, and that she “could not remember anything prior to hearing a 'pow' and going outside,” according to a search warrant.

She found Comer bleeding on the stairs and a black man standing near him holding what she soon determined was likely a gun. The man hit Comer in the head, causing a large laceration, Pearson told police.

But Pearson had a bloody nose, cuts on her nose, bruises on her right arm, side and back and blood on her clothes, along with “an old healing black eye,” according to the search warrant , which was used to seize items from the home, including shot gun pellets, cell phones, a digital camera and a box of shotgun shells.

“Pearson said that she must have been in a fight with someone recently but could not remember who or where,” according to the warrant. “Pearson said that she didn't know who lived at the house and did know anyone who was there at the time of the shooting.”

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

Purse thieves drag victim w/ stolen car

A woman was dragged through a Spokane Valley grocery store parking lot by two purse snatchers last week.

The woman told detectives she was getting into her car outside Fred Meyer, 15609 E. Sprague Ave., May 9 about 3:05 p.m. when a white vehicle pulled up and a woman tried to grab her purse.

The male driver accelerated, and the victim was dragged for 15 to 20 feet before she was able to free herself from the purse’s shoulder strap, accordng to a search warrant. The purse contained cash, car keys, a checkbook and business credit cards.

The male driver was described as a wearing a blue baseball cap and white t-shirt. The victim could not describe the female.

Witnesses recorded the license plate of the robbers’ white Honda Accord, which police found abandoned in the area of North Pines Road and Mirabeau Parkway. It had been stolen from 14730 E. Indiana Ave. earlier that day. Police found vehicle theft tools inside.

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

Camera catches man w/ stolen credit card

Police are asking for help in identifying a potential suspect in a residential burglary.

Surveillance photos at the Washington Trust Bank ATM on Sullivan Road in Spokane Valley captured images of a man in a black hat, dark glasses and jacket using the victim's credit card last Tuesday just before 9 a.m.

The suspect arrived and left southbound on Sullivan on foot.

Anyone with information on the man's identity is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233 or Spokane Valley police Detective Mark Renz at (509) 477-3330.

Driver loses 100 gals. of fuel in Valley

Police are looking for a driver who lost as much as 100 gallons of diesel fuel on a busy Spokane Valley road this morning.

Fuel began spilling from a vehicle in the southbound lanes of 2400 North Sullivan Road just before 9:25 a.m.

The trail of diesel continued south and into the left turn lane for Euclid Avenue, then about two blocks eastbound on Euclid.

Police believe the driver stopped there to fix the leak but did not report the spill to police “leaving a quarter-mile long mess for officers and firefighters to eliminate,” Sgt. Dave Reagan said in a news release.

Lanes on Sullivan Road were closed while crews tried to clean up the mess.

Sgt. Dale Golman said he doesn't know if the culprit vehicle was a commercial truck or a jerry-rigged vehicle used to steal fuel from construction sites, which has occurred several times recently.

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

Man robs Subway at knifepoint

A man robbed a northeast Spokane sandwich shop at knifepoint today.

The man displayed a knife at Subway, 3900 N. Market St., and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash about 3:30 p.m., police said.

Witnesses said the man escaped in an older model white Subaru.

The vehicle was last seen southbound on Regal.

The man wore a teal bandanna over his face and a brown, hooded sweatshirt and jeans.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to an arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Tips sought to crack concrete caper

Police are asking the public’s help to identify the thief or thieves who struck a Spokane Valley business last Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

The owner of Clark’s Concrete told Officer Glen Hinckley that someone cut a hole through the south security fence, which is just north of Centennial Middle School at 1303 N. Ella.

Two padlocks were cut from semi-trailers used for storage, and an $800 Subaru generator and $500 pressure washer were stolen.  A pair of grinders also was stolen.

A small flashlight was left at the scene, as well as bolt cutters that appeared to have been broken on the heavier shank of a third padlock.

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

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.”

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.

Suspect: Gunfire, robbery targeted meth

A suspect in a home-invasion robbery in which a woman was shot told police he intended to steal two ounces of methamphetamine, according to court documents filed Monday.

 Bradley Bain Cooper, 36, is jailed on $250,000 bond after appearing in Superior Court Monday on a first-degree burglary charge.

He was arrested with a BB gun after an officer spotted him running from 11309 E. 40th Ave., just after the robbery was reported about 12:34 a.m. on Sunday.

The victim, Tammi L. Putnam, was shot in each leg and lost a tooth during the altercation in the kitchen. The men fled empty handed.

Putnam was treated at a hospital for a pellet wound to each thigh as well as her mouth injury.

“She told officers she had no idea what the suspects were looking for, but that she did occasionally provide housing to people who use controlled substances,” according to a news release by Sgt. Dave Reagan.

Cooper, a repeat offender with several felony convictions, told police his friend, whose name has not been released, shot the woman.

Woman shot, loses tooth in break-in

A Spokane Valley woman who admitted to housing drug users suffered a gunshot wound to her thigh and lost a tooth during an attempted home-invasion robbery early Sunday.

One man remains at large, but, Spokane Valley police arrested suspect Bradley Bain Cooper, 36, a longtime felon who they say was carrying a high-powered BB or airsoft gun shortly after the incident.

Police believe Cooper and the other man broke into the woman's home in the 11300 block of East 40th Avenue wearing gloves and ski masks. The woman fought the first man until a second man appeared with a handgun and threatened to shoot her, police said.

The woman realized she'd been shot in the thigh and soon lost a tooth during the altercation in the kitchen. The men fled empty handed. The woman was treated at a hospital for a pellet wound to each thigh as well as her mouth injury.

“She told officers she had no idea what the suspects were looking for, but that she did occasionally provide housing to people who use controlled substances,” according to a news release by Sgt. Dave Reagan.

Cooper is due in Spokane County Superior Court this afternoon via video from the jail, where he was booked on one count of first-degree burglary.

He's a repeat offender whose previous convictions include first-degree possession of stolen property, first-degree theft, second-degree burglary, hit and run, and domestic violence harassment and at least seven probation violations, according to a 2008 Crime Stoppers news release.

Anyone with information about Sunday's incident is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 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.

$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.

Thieves strike Christian thrift shop

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Spokane police are looking for help identifying two men who stole from a Christian school's thrift shop.

Surveillance video shows the men remove the rug, which is worth more than $750, from a wall of the Northwest Christian Thrift Shop, 6607 N. Maple St., last Saturday about 1:15 p.m.

The thieves then leave in an older model, four-door Chrysler sedan that was silver or dark gray.

Proceeds from the thrift shop fund the religious school and community activities. All items are donated.

Video shows one man wearing a leather jacket, light-colored pants and a yellow bucket hat and another man in a black and white striped stocking hat, dark pants and a light blue plaid jacket.

Police say the men each face a felony theft charge. Anyone with information on their identities is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Tips sought on missing man w/ dementia

Spokane police are asking for help finding a 66-year-old man last seen in the 3400 block of East 30th Avenue on Monday. 

Patrick Willard has dementia and schizophrenia, according to police. He was last seen wearing a red flannel jacket, jeans and a baseball cap. Police say he likely is on foot.

Willard is 5-foot-9 and 100 pounds with long dark hair and a long gray beard.

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

Photo shows 7-Eleven beer robber

Police are trying to identify two beer thieves who assaulted a clerk outside a convenience sore last month.

The man and woman stole beer from 7-Eleven, 323 W. Indiana Ave., about 4:05 a.m. on Nov. 14, Spokane police said today.

The man assaulted a clerk outside the store before fleeing.

The woman is described as white, 5-foot-7, 160 pounds, about 35 years old with shoulder-length brown hair and blond highlights. She wore a baggy jacket and shorts. The man was described as white with a shaved head.

Surveillance video captured an image of the woman.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Convenience store robbieries

On the heels of last week’s bank robbery are two convenience store robberies, the most recent this morning. An armed man entered the Zip Trip at 15504 E. Fourth at about 2:30 a.m. today. The clerk told police that the man brandished a black pistol and demanded cash from the till. He ran south toward an apartment complex. A K9 team tracked the robber to the complex parking lot before losing the scent, said police spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagan.

He was described as a white male in his early 20’s, about 6’ 01” tall and 170 pounds. He was wearing a black ski mask, black gloves, black pants and shoes and a black “puffy” coat over a white shirt.

The other robbery was at the Holiday Gas Station at 2303 N. Argonne just after 3 a.m. Saturday. The clerk reported seeing a black semi-automatic pistol. The robber in this case was described as a thin white male in his late teens or early 20’s. He was wearing dark pants and a white t-shirt as well as a ski mask and gloves. He left heading north on foot.

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

Bank robbery update

No arrest has been made in yesterday’s bank robbery. A K9 team was unable to track the suspect and people in a home that drew police’s attention for a time turned out to be uninvolved, according to police spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagan.

The robber got away with an undisclosed amount of cash, which was placed into a green and blue bag. Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to call Crime Check at 456-2233.

In other police news, detectives pursuing leads in a counterfeiting investigation seized drugs, guns and cash from a home in an undisclosed location in Spokane Valley yesterday. When detectives arrived at the home they smelled the odor of marijuana and the residents gave them permission to search the home, Reagan said.

Police found two pounds of harvested marijuana, more than two pounds of psilocybin mushrooms, a small amount of ecstacy, a 12 gauge shotgun, a stolen 9mm pistol and $5,000 in cash. No additional details on the identity of the residents is being released at this time.

Update: Crimes Stoppers of the Inland Northwest is now offering a cash reward for information that solves yesterday’s bank robbery. Anyone with information can call (800) 222-TIPS or visit the web site. Tipsters do not need to identify themselves.

Mead pot shop burgled 2x in 1 week

Detectives are investigating the second burglary at a Mead medical marijuana dispensary in a week.

Spokane County sheriff’s deputies responded to a commercial burglary alarm at Evergreen Medical Inc., 12004 N. Market, about 10:15 p.m. Tuesday and found the south side door open with the Plexiglas window removed.

Nothing was stolen, but about $1,000 worth of glass bongs, bubblers and pipes were stolen last Friday. A motorist notified police of an open and broken glass door about 8:30 a.m. Deputies found a tire iron on the floor and pry marks on several locked drawers.

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

Spokane Deputy Prosecutor John Grasso said Thursday that he considers marijuana dispensaries such as Evergreen to be violating state law. It’s unclear if drug detectives also are investigating the business.

Tips sought on Avista copper caper

Thieves stole more than $1,000 worth of copper cable from an Avista substation in north Spokane this week.

Police are looking for tips on whoever cut the padlock at 8307 N. Regal and stole the coils of copper, which were discovered missing about 6:30 .am. Wednesday.

A copper ground cable embedded in the ground had been pulled out and stolen as well, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

“Three different types of Shawflex-brand cable were stolen: a 12-conductor #9 gauge, a seven-conductor #9 gauge and a four-conductor #9 gauge,” according to a news release. “In all, about 25 30-feet-long lengths of cable were stolen.”

Thieves often steal copper to sell to recycling firms.

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

Tips sought on woman last seen Sept. 20

Spokane police are asking for help finding a woman who has not contacted her family since Sept. 20. 

Heather L. Higgins, 39, was last seen in downtown Spokane.

Family members have posted flyers at area businesses asking for help finding her, but she remains missing.

Police say she has two misdemeanor warrants out for her arrest. She is bipolar and possibly an alcoholic, police said.

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

Valley Precinct offers after hours call box

Some people have gone to the Spokane Valley Police Precinct on Sprague (next to Conley’s Restaurant) to report a crime only the find the office closed. As of today, the department has installed a bright red call box at the front of the building. There is a single button to push that will connect people directly with Crime Check to report a crime or request police assistance at any time.

Cops: Pics show gunman in wheelchair

New surveillance photos show a suspect in an Oct. 5 shooting entering a convenience store in a wheelchair prior to the incident, which injured a teenager in both legs. 

Spokane police do not believe the man needs the wheelchair and described him as a Hispanic man in his late teens or 20s.

Photos released today from Tesoro, 901 E. Sharp Ave., show the suspected gunman wearing a dark sweatshirt and being pushed by a man wearing baggy pants and a gray sweatshirt about 12:15 a.m..

After the men left the store, police believe the man in the wheelchair shot a 19-year-old Spokane man in both legs during an argument involving four men at Sharp Avenue and Hamilton Street about 12:30 a.m. The gunman fled before police arrived.

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

Pics show beer robber in clerk’s stabbing

Spokane police are looking for help identifying a beer-toting robber who stabbed a convenience store clerk last week.

The man grabbed beer and ran from the Zip Trip at 1503 E. Illinois Ave. about 9 p.m. Wednesday, according to police, then stabbed a store clerk in the back after the clerk chased him down.

A police dog was unable to track the robber, who police believe was on foot and likely lives in the area.

Grainy surveillance photos released Friday show a man wearing a black “DC” t-shirt, black pants and a black and royal blue hat.

  He is described as Native American, about 5-foot-5 and in his late teens or early 20s with long dark hair and a thin build.

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

Shoppers turn burglars after store closes

Burglars stole nearly $1,000 in merchandise from the Salvation Army thrift store in Spokane over the weekend.

The intruders apparently entered the store at 2020 N. Division Street when it was open and were able to stay inside after it closed Saturday at 5 p.m., according to the Salvation Army.

Several boxes of merchandise were stolen from large display cases, including jewelry and other expensive items.

The thieves broke the fire exit as they fled, according to a news release.

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

Valley synagogue vandalized with swastika

A swastika was painted on a sign outside a Spokane Valley synagogue last weekend.

The congregational leader at the Kehilat HaMashiach, David D’Auria, discovered the swastika painted in red on a white sign Sunday morning outside the building at 13506 E. Broadway Ave.

The vandal, or vandals, left “no discernible evidence at the scene,” said Sgt. Dave Reagan, spokesman for the Spokane Valley Police Department.

“I was really shocked,” D’Auria said.

It was painted between 10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Saturday, D’Auria said.

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

Wigged woman sought in 2 bank robberies

A woman who wore a red wig to rob a Spokane bank in late June may have struck again this week.

A robber matching the description of the culprit in the June 30 heist at Banner Bank, 933 E. Mission, stole an undisclosed amount of cash from Banner Bank, 3919 N. Market, just before 1 p.m. Monday, Spokane police announced Wednesday.

The woman did not display a weapon and appears to have worn a black wig (left). 

Police say she appeared 45 to 50 years old, 5-foot-5 with black hair and dark sunglasses.

In the June 30 robbery, police say the same woman wore a wig and sunglasses (left, right) while demanding cash from  employees at the bank,  which is located inside a Safeway grocery store.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to an arrest.

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

Tipsters don’t have to leave their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

The woman is the second alleged serial bank robber operating in Spokane. The FBI still is looking for a bicycle-riding bandit linked to six robberies since December.