A suspect in the case of a toothless intruder whacked by a north Spokane homeowner last week has been linked to a gunpoint robbery spree that victimized coffee stands and fast food restaurants.
Shoe prints, surveillance video and detective work led police to identify Shawn Michael Westlie, 44, as a suspect in at least nine armed robberies, police said Tuesday.
Westlie was arrested after a SWAT team standoff Friday at 2109 W. Mansfield Court, one day after a man returned to his Nettleton Avenue home to find a toothless intruder police believe was Westlie rifling through his belongings.
Westlie allegedly tried to Taser the man but dropped the weapon and lost a shoe when he fled.
A police dog tracked the burglar to the home across the street from where Westlie was arrested Friday.
“We’re ecstatic,” said Lt. Dave McGovern. “He would have just kept right on going and going until he hurt somebody or somebody hurt him.”
Westlie is accused of terrorizing employees of small restaurants and coffee shops – often in broad daylight – for money to feed his drug addiction.
He declined interviews Tuesday at the Spokane County Jail.
Police say he confessed to a robbery at a Zip Trip in 2008, but his recent crime spree appears to have begun three months ago with back-to-back robberies at north Spokane coffee stands Oct. 12, followed by robberies at two north Division Quiznos restaurants on Oct. 24.
Also accused in the Quiznos robberies is Victor A. Hackett, 45. Hackett was already in jail on car theft and drug charges when police connected him to the robberies last week.
Police also believe Westlie is the shotgun-toting robber who held up the Sunset Market in Browne’s Addition Nov. 8 wearing a military-style gas mask. The next robbery he’s connected to came Dec. 29 at the Jitterz Java, 2135 Northwest Blvd. – five blocks south of the Mansfield Court home.
That robbery occurred less than two weeks after Westlie was released from jail, where he’d been since Nov. 19 on drug and car theft charges. He was released on his own recognizance Dec. 17 after being arraigned on the charges, according to court documents.
The break for police came last week when a gunman stole a credit card from an employee at Spokane’s Best Espresso, 5226 N. Division.
Twelve minutes later, a man used the stolen credit card at the U.S. Bank at Garland Avenue and Lincoln Street.
Detective Brian Hamond recognized Westlie from the bank’s video surveillance. A shoe print at the bank matched a shoe print at a 7-Eleven, where police say Westlie used the stolen card again 30 minutes later.
Westlie also was spotted in video surveillance using the card to rent movies the same day, according to a search warrant used to search the Mansfield Court home.
In the bank video, detectives could tell Westlie was missing several front teeth, according to court documents.
Those missing teeth were a key clue for police connecting Westlie to the home burglary Jan. 14 in which the only witness had described the intruder as “toothless.”
The homeowner identified Westlie through a photo montage, according to court documents.
Police seized several items from the Mansfield home Friday, including a sneaker detectives believe may match a shoe print left at an October robbery.
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