A suspected burglar on the run from Spokane police sent his pursuers a first-class insult.
Fred W. Nolan Jr., who embarrassed officers on Monday by disappearing from the Public Safety Building while handcuffed, mailed the cuffs back.
The undamaged handcuffs arrived at the county courthouse Wednesday morning, officials said.
They were sealed in a legal-sized envelope to which Nolan had affixed nearly a dozen stamps, said Marshall Farnell, the county’s director of administrative services.
Police said Nolan - a career criminal - has been known to steal stamps during office break-ins.
There is no return address on the package, and the postmark isn’t legible, said Dick Cottam, police spokesman.
The envelope is addressed to Jay Mehring, the police officer whose name is etched on the handcuffs, but no note was included.
Police put Nolan in the restraints Monday after he had been arrested in connection with a series of business burglaries.
He still was wearing the cuffs when officers left him alone in an interrogation room for a few minutes that afternoon. Police speculate he put a jacket over his bound hands and just walked away before they could return to question him.
Officers said it was the first time in 25 years a suspect in custody at the police station has gotten away.
Cottam said Thursday he doesn’t know if internal affairs detectives plan to investigate the incident. Assistant Chief Roger Bragdon did not return calls seeking comment.
Farnell said courthouse clerk Becky Rausch, who sorted Wednesday’s mail, suspected the package contained handcuffs, although she didn’t open it.
“She took it over to the police desk at the Public Safety Building,” Farnell said. “On her way out, she joked with some deputies that maybe this man who escaped had sent the handcuffs back.”
She was right.
Nolan “is playing mind games” with police, Cottam said in a statement issued Thursday. “Police will have the last word when Nolan is arrested again, and with his record, that shouldn’t be too long.”
The 27-year-old Nolan has nearly 30 convictions, mostly for burglary, trespassing and possession of stolen property, according to court records.
Police think he still may be in the Spokane area. They have searched for him at several addresses around town.
Nolan is white, about 5 feet 8 and 140 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.