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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Employees help thwart shoplifting attempts

A trio of would-be shoplifters had their plans foiled by police and store employees over the weekend.

Chad Burk, 40, was arrested late Friday after witnesses said he left a Safeway store on North Market Street without paying for his alcohol. A clerk watched Burk grab a $13 bottle of vodka and a can of beer, walk to the frozen foods section and place the can of beer inside. Burk pocketed the vodka in his jacket and walked out without paying, according to the store clerk.

The employee followed Burk outside and a scuffle ensued, during which Burk allegedly threw some punches and the bottle of vodka into the street, where it shattered. He was booked into Spokane County Jail on a first-degree robbery charge but was released without bond this weekend.

Heather Duncan, 32, was arrested outside the NorthTown Mall on Sunday afternoon, where she was accused of stealing clothing worth roughly $110. When a store employee approached Duncan outside the store with the merchandise, she used pepper spray in an attempt to get away, according to court documents.

When police arrested her, they said they found drugs in her purse that field-tested positive for heroin. Duncan said the drugs were not hers, but that a woman she was with earlier must have put the drugs there. Duncan had an outstanding warrant on an identity theft charge, according to court documents. She was booked into jail on first-degree robbery and drug possession charges.

Late Sunday, police arrested 46-year-old Rodney Knutson outside a downtown Spokane sandwich shop after witnesses said he shoved a can of beer down his pants and threatened an employee with a knife.

An employee said he saw Knutson take the beer, valued at $2.16, from a cooler in the Port of Subs shop at 525 W. Sprague Ave. around 10:30 p.m., according to court records. When the employee confronted Knutson, the would-be robber pulled a folding knife out of his pocket and ran from the store.

Police picked him up a few minutes later, knife and beer still on his person. He was booked into jail on a first-degree robbery charge.

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