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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Man jailed after reportedly threatening to burn neighbor

The Spokesman-Review

A man splashed his neighbor with gasoline Saturday then reportedly threatened to set him ablaze with a lighter.

The incident occurred during a dispute over stolen property, Spokane Valley police spokesman Cpl. Dave Reagan said.

About 2 a.m., police responded to the 6800 block of East First Avenue to find a man with a stack of gasoline soaked clothes, and his hair wet from a shower he took to wash the fuel out of his eyes and off his skin, Reagan said. His neighbor wasn’t home when police arrived.

The officer’s investigation revealed that Russell E. Bartz, 38, had accused his neighbor of stealing several items from his garage, including a paintball gun and three broken car stereos, Reagan said. Bartz had asked the man to secure his air compressor while he attended to an emergency and that’s when he assumed the theft had occurred.

While the two men were arguing about the stolen property, each on his own property with a fence between them, the neighbor became soaked in gasoline, Reagan said. A witness heard Bartz threaten to set his neighbor on fire.

Officers initially cleared the call with no arrests after determining there was no way to prove that anything was stolen or the identity of a suspect, if there was one, Reagan said. They also noted there have been reoccurring calls to the residences as each side has accused the other of stealing.

Bartz later was arrested on a charge of second-degree assault when he told police “he would burn the other man up,” Reagan said. Bartz was booked at Spokane County Jail on the felony charge.

Employee holds suspect for police

An athletic gym employee held a suspected burglar at gunpoint early Sunday until officers arrived.

Spokane Valley police charged Brian L. Dukes, a transient, with first-degree burglary and possession of methamphetamine, Reagan said. The 24-year-old told police he’d done meth earlier in the evening.

The 62-year-old employee responded to the business about 2:57 a.m. after a call from business’s alarm company, Reagan said. The man said he heard a noise in the supply room of Fitness Fanatics, 12525 E. Trent Ave., after he arrived and waited until the suspect entered the front area before ordering him to the floor at gunpoint.

The officer found the window of a door broken out, and a knife, coat and flashlight in the supply room, along with a stack of items that had been pulled off the businesses shelves, Reagan said. A quantity of methamphetamine was found on the man when he was searched at the Spokane County Jail.

Drugs found after car pulled over

Spokane Valley police found three golf-ball sized quantities of methamphetamine in a woman’s purse Sunday after pulling over the car she was a passenger in to arrest the driver on a warrant.

A majority of the drugs were discovered when the 32-year-old woman dumped out her purse to show she didn’t have a weapon, Spokane Valley police spokesman Cpl. Dave Reagan said. Wendy Christine Iwanow, 4422 N. Center Road, was charged with possession of meth.

About 4:15 a.m., an officer stopped a Chevrolet Camaro on East Sprague Avenue after discovering the driver had an outstanding warrant for resisting arrest. Bobby G. Mason, 40, was taken into custody on the warrant.

The officer then identified the woman as someone who had been armed with a firearm during previous contact with police and began checking her for a weapon, Reagan said. She dumped her purse out, drugs and all, on the hood of the car. She didn’t have a pistol, but in addition to the three meth balls, she also had a drug cutting agent.

Mason and Iwanow were both booked at Spokane County Jail.

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