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Would-be booze robber leaves store without liquor, freedom

A man accused of stealing a $13 bottle of vodka from a Spokane grocery store was arrested on suspicion of first-degree robbery after he allegedly punched a clerk and heaved the liquor bottle into the road.

Chad Burk, 40, was arrested late Friday after witnesses said he left a Safeway store on North Market Street without paying for his alcohol. A clerk watched Burk grab a bottle of vodka and a can of beer, walk to the frozen foods section and place the can of beer inside. Burk placed the vodka in his jacket and walked out without paying, according to the store clerk.

The clerk chased Burk out of the store, where Burk allegedly punched him twice and pushed him up against a wall. The employee wrestled Burk to the ground when police arrived.

At some point during the altercation, Burk threw the vodka into the street, according to court records.

Burk was released from custody without bond this weekend. He is expected to make a first-appearance on the charge against him Monday afternoon.

Police arrest man for DUI after finding him eating a taco

Ronald R. Hebert was hungry the night he was arrested for driving under the influence.

Hebert allegedly hit a car in the parking lot of a Spokane Valley Safeway at 10 p.m. on July 11, according to an affidavit. When police tracked down his car, they found him parked on a landscaped median, eating a taco. His speech was slurred and his eyes were bloodshot.

The front end of Hebert's car was badly damaged, according to the affidavit.

When asked what he was doing, Hebert said he was out to buy a hamburger, according to the affidavit.

Hebert told the officer he’d had four or five beers, according to the affidavit.

Rosauers’ CEO Jeff Philipps is rare instance of open, transparent information

It wasn't surprising to find many grocery companies are reluctant to give too much information about their deployment and investments leading up to June 1, the day liquor can be sold privately across Washington state. That's the day Initiative 1183, approved last fall by state voters, takes all liquor sales out of the hands of the state and transfers it to thousands of retail locations.

We were mostly surprised by how candid and helpful Rosauers Supermarkets CEO Jeff Philipps has been. See the story we printed here

Our online story now includes comments unavailable when we printed the paper version. The new comments are from:

  • Winco Foods, based in Boise. Spokesman Mike Read noted that Winco is placing its liquor not near beer or wine shelves, but in a separate secure location in the customer service area of its two Spokane stores.
  • Gary Morgan of Trading Co. Stores, which operates three stores in Spokane County. Those three stores are still planning how best to install shelves, security systems and inventory controls, Morgan said. He said the stores aren't going to be selling liquor on June 1, as the planning proceeds.  They will later, he said.

Also, a number of other retailers didn't respond at all. Notably, Safeway repeatedly received requests for a comment but chose not to respond.

Man arrested for grocery store robberies

A man suspected of robbing four grocery stores in Spokane County was arrested Wednesday. 

Daniel W. Drake, 38, reportedly admitted to robbing three Safeway stores and one Rosauers store in Spokane and Spokane Valley recently, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Drake is allegedly pictured fleeing the Safeway store on Wellesley Avenue after a robbery Monday.

Detectives received tips that helped them identify Drake within hours of the Sheriff's Office releasing that surveillance photo and others Tuesday.

Court documents show Drake's sister, father and mother told police they were positive the man pictured was Drake.

The Spokane police Patrol Anti-Crime Team assisted detectives from both agencies in locating Drake. They found him at a motel after nine hours of surveillance, then arrested him in the area of Argonne Road and Montgomery Avenue without incident.

Drake is accused of robbing Safeway at 14020 E. Sprague Ave., in Spokane Valley May 2, as well as the Shadle Park Safeway, 2507 W. Wellesley Ave., May 7.

The other robberies occurred April 29 at Safeway at 933 E. Mission Ave. in Spokane and the Rosaurers at 2610 E. 29th Ave. on May 7 about 2:30 p.m., just two hours before the Shadle Park robbery. No money was actually stolen in the Rosaurers case.

Drake is to appear in Spokane County Superior Court via video from the jail, where he's booked on four counts of second-degree robbery.

“The Sheriff's Office Major Crimes Unit has recently assigned a detective to investigate all robbery reports that are taken,” sheriff's spokesman Deputy Craig Chamberlin said in a news release. “The ability to assign a lead detective to these crimes has been, and will continue to be, imperative in solving these types of crimes and ensuring the safety of the citizens of Spokane County.”

Spokane Valley robber strikes again

Police believe that a man who robbed the Spokane Valley Safeway on East Sprague last week may be the same man who robbed the Shadle Safeway on Monday. He is described as a white man with short hair and a medium build in his 30s. Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information that helps solve the robberies. Reporter Meghann Cuniff has surveillance photos of the suspect and more details here.

Pics show suspect in Safeway robberies

Police believe the same man robbed two Safeway stores in the Spokane area recently, and they're asking for help identifying him.  

Surveillance photos (above and below, left) released by the Spokane County Sheriff's Office today show the suspect at WalMart before detectives say he robbed the Safeway at 14020 E. Sprague Ave., in Spokane Valley on May 2.

Another photo (right) shows the robber just after he left the Shadle Park Safeway on Monday.

In the first robbery, a man described as white, in his 30s with short hair and a medium build placed a backpack at the customer service counter and ordered an employee to fill it with money. The victim was under the impression the man had a weapon in the bag, according to the sheriff's office. 

Detectives located the man's discarded clothing and tracked them to a WalMart store where he's believed to have been before the robbery.

The same man is believed to have robbed the Safeway in the Shadle Park area, 2507 W. Wellesley Ave., about 2:30 p.m. Monday.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that help identify the man. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Tips sought on CdA gymnasium thefts

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 Coeur d'Alene police are asking for help identifying men believed to be responsible for thefts at local gymnasiums.

At least two gyms have reported at least four thefts since March 20 in which thieves walk into the gyms and help themselves to keys and wallets in the men's locker rooms, according to the Coeur d’Alene Police Department.

They use the keys to prowl vehicles in the parking lot.

Surveillance video released today from 360 Fitness, 410 W. Neider Ave., on March 20 shows one of the suspected thieves.

Photos from video at Safeway in Liberty lake show two men believed to be connected to the use of a credit card stolen from Peak Fitness on April 16.

The men are driving a dark-colored compact car.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Coeur d'Alene Police Department at (208) 769-2320.

Photos show suspects in alley assault

Spokane police today released surveillance photos of two possible suspects in a late-night assault in an alley last month that left two men unconscious.

The assailants were described as a man and a woman. The assault occurred Feb. 25 just after midnight in an alley behind Safeway near 4100 N. Regal St. One of the victims was hospitalized with cuts to his face, and both had numerous bruises, police said.

Witnesses told police the attackers may be near the Special K Tavern at 3817 N. Market St. Officers found two more victims at the bar who didn't notify authorities about their attack but were able to provide additional information on suspects.

The male attacker is described as white, 6-feet tall, 160 pounds, bald with short hair and an eyebrow piercing. He wore jeans and a gray t-shirt.

The female assailant was described as Native American, 21 to 30 years old, 5-foot-5 and 160 pounds with black should-length hair and facial tattoos.

They were last seen walking toward the Safeway at 3919 N. Market St. The photos released today are from surveillance video at the store before the assault.

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

Deputy avoids spit; suspect faces felony

A Spokane man arrested on a disorderly conduct charge Friday upped the judicial ante by spitting at a deputy's face, authorities said today.

Christopher Joseph Davison, 23, faces a felony third-degree assault charge after the incident at the jail with Deputy Liljenberg. Liljenberg arrested Davison on a misdemeanor charge after contacting him in the parking lot at Safeway on West France Avenue.

Davison was confrontational and drunk and had been walking in the roadway and disrupting traffic, according to a news release by Deputy Craig Chamberlin, spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Liljenberg asked Davison if he could give him a ride somewhere, but Davison declined “and told the deputy he was going to walk to the moon,” Chamberlin wrote.  “As expected, Davison continued to yell and kick at traffic causing traffic to slow due to Davison unpredictable actions.”

Davison was transported to jail, where he spit at Liljenberg's face while being escorted to the booking area. Liljenberg avoided the saliva, Chamberlin said.

Davison remains in jail on $1,000 bond after appearing before a judge Monday.
  

Tips sought on Safeway robber’s ID

Spokane police are asking for help identifying a man accused of holding a knife to a Safeway employee's throat.

The employee approached the man about stealing items from the store at 2507 W. Wellesley Ave. when he was attacked Jan. 4 about 4:30 p.m., police said today.

The thief threatened to slit the employee's throat and fled on a bicycle with a pocket knife in his hand, police say

The victim described the man as in his late 30s and wearing a dark beanie, button-up flannel shirt and grayish tan Carhartt jacket.

Police released a surveillance photo of the man today.

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

Bell Ringer Gives Voice To Christmas

David Farmer uses the power of his voice to encourage people to give. The Salvation Army bell ringer abandoned his bell to sing by the donation box instead.Farmer turned the Safeway in Coeur d'Alene into his stage on Wednesday. His audience was made up of people coming in out and of the store.Farmer described himself like a juke box. He runs through the first verse of 16 different carols over and over again through out the day.Farmer has turned heads and been called amazing. But for the 63-year-old, he's out there to encourage people to donate/Anusha Roy, KXLY. More here (including video)

Question: Do you prefer your Salvation Army bellringers to sing or just ring their bells?

2 arrested in armed robbery at Safeway

A robber threatened a customer with a knife during a robbery at a grocery store in west Spokane on Tuesday.

The customer noted the license plate of the car the assailant left in, leading Spokane police detectives Neil Gallion and Tim Madsen to locate a suspect at the West Wynn Motel on Wednesday.

The Honda's owner, Charles D. Stanfield, 38, told police he met a man at the House of Charity who suggested they rob the Safeway on Northwest Boulevard with a knife, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Stanfield said he drove the man, later identified by police as Frank L. Uhyrek, 35, (pictured) to the store and watched him put a yellow and blue ski mask on. He said Frank came running across the street minutes later holding a large amount of cash as two men chased him.

“Frank told him a guy tried to box him in and he told the guy 'don't be a hero,'” according to the affidavit. Stanfield said Uhyrek got about $400 and gave him $10 for gas, as well as money for the motel room.

Stanfield and Uhyrek each were booked into the Spokane County Jail on seven charges of first-degree robbery for each clerk of customer whom allegedly was approached.

Uhyrek was arrested for robbing an 82-year-old man in a wheelchair when he was 19, according to news archives.

Looking for a job at Grocery Outlet’s new store? Here’s the protocol

Grocery Outlet will open its third area location this fall in the former Safeway store at Third and Maple, near downtown Spokane.

The full story ran earlier today at Spokesman.com.

To those who want to apply for the 30 to 40 jobs to be filled there, here's the advice:  Don't start contacting the company via phone or email. Don't call the other two Grocery Outlets here.

VP of Real Estate Marc Drasin said wait until you see signs posted at the new store. At that point, people can come in and apply.

That could happen by mid-September. 

Drasin expects the store to open in October.

Safeway beer theft leads to robbery arrest

A beer theft at a north Spokane grocery store led to a felony robbery arrest for a 19-year-old man accused of fighting with a store clerk.

Cole Matthew Kendall and a friend were trying to steal beer from Safeway at 902 W. Francis Ave. when Kendall pushed a clerk as they fled, Spokane police say.

A police dog helped track the thieves, and witnesses identified Kendall as the man who stole beer and pushed the clerk.

He was released from jail on his own recognizance after appearing in Superior Court Wednesday on a first-degree robbery charge. The name of the second suspect was not included in documents details the case against Kendall.

Theft-turned-robbery cases have become a hot topic in Spokane County. A judge gave an exceptionally light sentence to a college student arrested on robbery charges after bumping into a clerk while shoplifting.

A jury also recently convicted a drug addict of robbery for using force while stealing a single sheet of tinfoil.

Pawn shop video helps nab theft suspects

Surveillance video from a local pawn shop helped identify a young couple who police believe stolen purses from at least four women in grocery store parking lots.

Samantha D. Thomas, 21, and Andrew V. Auerbach, 24, were arrested Saturday but are out of jail on their own recognizance.

Police say Thomas implicated herself in four robberies in April and May during an interview with police at the Public Safety Building on Saturday. She and Auerbach, who applied for a marriage license last year, were seen on camera pawning a victim's camera after police developed information that they were suspects.

They are believed to have stolen purses April and May 7 at Safeway, 2509 E. 29th Ave., and again May 7 at Fred Meyer, 525 E. Francis Ave.

Thomas confessed to another purse snatching outside Winco on North Nevada Street during her interview with police. The victim came forward after media reports, and police plan to recommend an additional theft charge.

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate a purse theft outside Fred Meyer in Spokane Valley May 9.
  

Photos show suspects in gift card fraud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that identify a man and woman who,k between Dec. 1 and Dec. 3, used stolen credit card information to reload Visa gift cards purchased from Safeway at 1001 N. 4th St. in Coeur d'Alene.

The thieves used the cards to buy $2,500 in items from local businesses.

Safeway surveillance photos show a woman with light brown or blond hair and wearing a dark, v-neck shirt and dark pants. The man is wearing a blueish plaid coat with a light-colored collared shirt and has dark hair.

Anyone with information on their identities is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (208) 667-2111 or 1-800-222-TIPS. Tipsters do not have to use their name but should provide a code name or number.

Raspberry theft leads to fugitive’s arrest

A second suspect in a burglary and stabbing late last month was arrested Friday after police said he tried to steal raspberry extract from a Spokane grocery store.

Tony N. Hairston, 42, (right) was wanted on burglary, assault and attempted robbery charges when security at Safeway, 1616 Northwest Boulevard, wrestled him to the ground and detained him on theft charges Friday about 10:50 p.m. Police say he had cocaine in his pocket.

Hairston is accused of stabbing Kenneth B. Barton in the head at 2821 N. Cincinnati Ave. Oct. 27, where police say he and Jarreau S. “Sweaty” Squetimkin, 26, fought with Barton and Audrey O’Grady while demanding money. 

Squetimkin, who knew Barton from prison, was arrested the night of the incident and remains in jail. (A police report from Squetimkin’s arrest incorrectly stated he was walking with victim Audrey O’Grady at the time of his arrest. In fact, O’Grady was with police in a squad car when they spotted Squetimkin.)

Witnesses told police that Hairston pinned Barton to a chair and punched him about 20 times while holding the knife, according to court documents. Barton was treated and released from a hospital. 

Hairston and Squetimkin (left) are charged with first-degree burglary, second-degree assault, attempted first-degree robbery, first-degree assault and conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery. Both are in jail on $100,000 bail. Hairston was given an additional $25,000 bond today for drug, theft and resisting arrest charges for Friday’s incident.

According to Crime Stoppers, Hairston has a nine-year local criminal history with convictions for city theft, drug possession, riot, second-degree possession of stolen property, driving on a suspended license, domestic violence assault, refusal to cooperate and probation violation.

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.

Photos show woman robbing Spokane bank

Spokane police are still looking for a woman robbed a bank inside a Spokane grocery store on Wednesday. 

The woman left with an undisclosed cash after threatening a teller at Banner Bank in Safeway, 933 E. Mission, about 1:25 p.m., police said.

The robber is described as a white, 45 to 50, 5-foot-5, heavy set and wearing red hair and dark sunglasses.

She fled out the north door of the store. Police converged on the area but haven’t located a suspect. 

The same bank was robbed in February.

Douglas E. Labish, already convicted of three bank robberies in 2002, is set to enter a plea for that robbery on July 8.

Anyone with information on today’s robbery is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.