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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Open windows called invitation to burglars

Spokane police are warning residents during this hot weather to not expose themselves to crime by leaving windows open.

An open window began a series of events early Wednesday that culminated in police chasing a man from the North Side to downtown Spokane where he flipped a stolen car taken after he allegedly burglarized a home while the occupants slept inside.

The home in the 500 block of West 19th Avenue was robbed about 4 a.m., said Spokane police Officer Glenn Bartlett.

“Some people woke up and found a bunch of their stuff missing and their car gone,” Bartlett said.

A short time later an officer spotted the SUV near Chief Garry Park in northeast Spokane and chased the driver to the east end of downtown, where he flipped the car attempting to navigate a turn at Second Avenue and Magnolia Street.

Bartlett said a female passenger was injured in the crash and taken to the hospital.

Police found stolen credit cards, IDs and other items from the burglarized home inside the SUV.

They also found cocaine, methamphetamine and a homemade “zip gun.”

A zip gun holds one bullet and can fit in a pocket.

Home burglaries rise during the summer months when people break in through open windows and garages and by moving window air conditioners, said Spokane police Officer Jennifer DeRuwe.

“Criminals see these as a welcome mat to commit crimes,” DeRuwe said.

The window in the home burglarized Wednesday was difficult to access but was open, she said.

The man driving the stolen SUV, Alexander D. Riendeau, was arrested on felony charges of residential burglary, first-degree theft, second-degree possession of stolen property, vehicular assault, attempting to elude a police officer, drug possession and gun charges. The passenger could be charged later.

Riendeau also had a Washington Department of Corrections warrant.

“When you see someone as brazen as that, to go into an occupied house for a burglary, that ups the ante,” said Bartlett, adding that kind of situation can quickly become dangerous if the homeowner wakes up and confronts the burglar.