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Wednesday, October 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Deputies find family’s stolen cabin 10 miles away; suspect sought

The small cabin hoisted off its foundation and stolen from a remote parcel near Springdale has been found.

Stevens County sheriff’s deputies located the cabin Thursday morning after receiving a phone tip following a social media blitz that included emotional appeals for help from the family that owned it.

Deputies found the cabin on private property a few miles northeast of Springdale, about 10 miles from the original location, Sheriff Kendle Allen said.

“It’s in a very remote, narrow road down in a ravine, so it’s going to be very difficult getting it out of there,” said Chris Hempel, who owns the cabin and the property it sits on with her husband, Moose. The thief seems to have taken the cabin to live in, Hempel said, because detectives found personal belongings inside.

“He had it tucked back up in the woods on stilts and a deck built around it,” she said.

The family reported the cabin stolen Tuesday after finding it had been hauled off of their property. They live north of Nine Mile Falls and used their cabin as a weekend getaway to relax in the woods and hunt, Hempel said.

They don’t know exactly when it was stolen, but were last at the property on March 21. Hempel said the cabin was built by a Clayton company and delivered by trailer, and she suspected thieves had hauled it out the same way.

Getting it back home will be a challenge, since it was found in such a remote area. Hempel said the cabin also had some structural damage, and the thief appears to have dismantled several bunk beds inside to build the deck.

While a cabin theft sounds unusual, Allen said he has seen several other thefts of similarly sized sheds.

“It’s a 10-by-20 pre-built shed that they’ve made into a cabin,” he said.

Deputies served a search warrant at the recovered cabin on Thursday. They have a suspect in the theft, but have not made any arrests, Allen said Thursday morning.

Hempel said when she visited the property Thursday afternoon, detectives said they were looking for a male suspect who they believe had been living in the house.

“I don’t think he could have done that job by himself just looking at where it was and how it was set up,” she said.

After learning the cabin was found, Hempel posted in a Facebook group called To Catch a Thief – Spokane, where she first shared news of the theft.

“Thank you for all the support and helping to get the word out for us,” she wrote. “We are so grateful to live in a community that helps each other out.”

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