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Thursday, September 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Detectives arrest suspected habitual thief recently released from jail

A Spokane County Sheriff’s Office detective nabbed a suspected prolific thief again Monday, only three weeks after he was accused of stealing tools and released from jail without having to post bail.

The detective was at Sears at NorthTown Mall investigating the Friday theft of a power saw, which he suspected was committed by Phong Quang Do, 37. It was the same store where Do allegedly stole an expensive trimmer three weeks ago while detectives were tracking him, before immediately driving to the nearest pawn shop to sell it.

The detective saw Do in the store Monday and alerted store security, who watched via surveillance video as Do pocketed a silver necklace and left the store without paying, according to court documents. Do got on a Spokane Transit Authority bus, which was pulled over, and he was arrested on two counts of second-degree retail theft with special circumstances.

The necklace, with the price tag still attached, was recovered from Do’s pocket, according to court documents.

When Do was arrested earlier this month, a weekend court commissioner ordered him released on his own recognizance. When Do appeared in court, Spokane County Superior Court Judge Greg Sypolt upheld that decision, saying that a pretrial evaluation did not recommend a bond and that Do’s criminal history wasn’t recent.

But Sypolt was having none of it Tuesday when Do’s defense attorney tried a similar argument, saying that his client’s alleged crimes were nonviolent and he should be released again.

“He insists he will not commit any law violations,” attorney Anna Timberlake said.

Sypolt said there have simply been too many new crimes in a relatively short amount of time. He also noted that the alleged theft on Monday happened only hours after Do appeared in his courtroom and pleaded not guilty to five felony charges.

“I will indicate my strong disagreement with the comments of defense counsel,” Sypolt said.

Sypolt set Do’s bond on the new charges at $12,500, more than the $10,000 the prosecuting attorney requested. He also ordered a bond of $12,500 on the previous case with five felonies because Do violated his release conditions by allegedly committing new crimes.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Mark Gregory said he was pleased by the bond amount in the case.

“We have to start taking property crimes seriously,” he said. “The community demands it.”

The Sheriff’s Office news release about Do’s most recent arrest mentioned Judge Sypolt by name, noting that he did not require bail when Do was released earlier this month, “even though prosecutors requested a substantial bail.”

Gregory said every property crime is only a moment away from being a violent crime.

“It has the possibility, the extreme possibility, of turning violent if they get caught in the act,” Gregory said.

Detectives have been investigating a series of thefts they believe Do committed. In most cases, Do allegedly stole pricey power tools and pawned them for cash, according to court records.

In addition to the five felony charges filed earlier this month, Do also was arrested and charged with theft in May. He has nine previous felony convictions that include delivery of a controlled substance, second-degree theft and riot with a deadly weapon.

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