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

Airway Heights police follow snowy footprint trail to suspected burglar

Airway Heights police arrested a suspected burglar on New Year’s Day after following the man’s snowy footprints back to his home.

Ronald L. Smith Jr., 34, was arrested Friday on suspicion of armed burglary and firearm theft, court documents say. A homeowner on South Easy Street told police he returned home around 4 a.m. on Jan. 1 and found his bedroom window open and house ransacked. He reported four guns had been stolen from his gun safe, according to court document.

After the sun rose, police were able to see a set of footprints near the driveway, which went around the victim’s home before eventually stopping at the bedroom window. The shoes were athletic sneakers with a distinctive tread pattern.

An Airway Heights officer followed the prints along the road to the driveway and front door of a home on South Beeman Street, just a few blocks away. Along the route, the officer found two paper bags from the victim’s house, one of which had several DVDs inside, according to court documents.

The officer later arrested Smith as he left the house on Beeman Street. Officers searched the house with a warrant and located the shoes that left the prints, as well as the guns and other missing items from the victim’s home, according to documents.

Smith’s girlfriend told investigators the suspected shoes belonged to her boyfriend, though Smith denied owning them and said law enforcement was setting him up. He is being held in jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond.