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

Manito area burglary targets holiday gifts

Homeowner thinks thief entered through dog door

Celeste Emmerson comforts her nervous German shepherd puppy, Daisy, who escaped from her South Hill home Friday afternoon after the home was burglarized. (Nicole Hensley)

The 11-month-old German shepherd paced up and down Manito Boulevard on Friday, ragged from the cold rain and wind.

A neighbor wondered why Daisy was loose.

When Celeste Emmerson returned home after retrieving her family’s puppy, she learned the answer: a holiday burglary.

The family’s front door was ajar, their Christmas presents were ripped open and one gift – a fish finder from Emmerson to her husband – was missing. The Emmersons also discovered a mess on the kitchen floor where a clearly frightened Daisy had encountered the thief and defecated.

The break-in occurred the same day several homes were burglarized along West 13th Avenue, and Spokane police arrested a man in connection with a burglary of Christmas presents from a home just a few blocks from the Emmersons, in the 2800 block of South Manito Boulevard.

Kyle Murphy, 26, was wearing gloves and carrying jewelry and cameras when police found him coming out the back door of that home, Officer Jeff Graves said. Murphy allegedly broke a door in the kitchen to get into the home, police said.

Vigilant neighbors reported a suspicious-looking man checking out homes while smoking what appeared to be marijuana.

Murphy was booked into Spokane County Jail with a $15,000 bond on a charge of residential burglary.

He appeared in Spokane County Superior Court on Monday afternoon, where Judge Annette Plese detailed a criminal history in two counties that includes six felonies, seven misdemeanors and 13 occasions where he failed to appear in court.

Murphy has not been charged in connection with the burglary at the Emmersons’ home, where Graves estimated $5,000 in jewelry and other items were stolen.

Emmerson speculates the thief almost used a chunk of chopped wood to break a window in her home but found the dog door and gained entry that way.

The family is glad that Daisy wasn’t lost for good after her unintentional freedom, because a day earlier they had put down their other German shepherd due to old age, Emmerson said.