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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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South Hill homeowners detain suspected car prowler who displayed replica handgun

Samual A. Clopton, 35, was taken to a hospital after being tackled by two South Hill homeowners who suspected him of breaking into their SUV. He was booked into the Spokane County Jail on a first-degree robbery charge. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Samual A. Clopton, 35, was taken to a hospital after being tackled by two South Hill homeowners who suspected him of breaking into their SUV. He was booked into the Spokane County Jail on a first-degree robbery charge. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Homeowners on the South Hill who noticed a man in their parked SUV late Tuesday chased down the suspected thief and disarmed him of a replica handgun, police said.

Officers were called to the area near West 29th Avenue and South Howard Street just before 10 p.m. A husband and wife had chased the suspect from their home on 29th, and the husband was pinning him to the ground in some bushes, according to court documents.

Gerald and Stacey Ellis told police they arrived home at about 9:45 p.m. and noticed lights on inside two of their vehicles, according to court documents. The wife approached her Land Rover to turn off the light, the suspect leaped out and started running, and she told her children to call 911, according to court documents.

The husband tackled the suspect, and during the scuffle the suspect pulled a handgun from his pants pocket and pointed it at the husband’s face, the couple told police. The suspect allegedly said, “Get the (expletive) off me or I’m going to hurt you.”

Court documents say the wife “jumped on top of the pistol and used her chest to pin it to the ground. She then felt the defendant fire four times … She realized the pistol was a BB gun and was not injured by the BBs.”

The wife then struck the suspect in the head with a glass bottle that had been in her vehicle, according to court documents.

In the suspect’s backpack, police found bolt cutters, several flashlights and several items belonging to the couple, including a wallet, a headlamp and a refrigerator magnet, according to court documents.

Police identified the suspect as Samual A. Clopton, 35. He was taken to a hospital with minor injuries from the altercation, then booked into the Spokane County Jail on a first-degree robbery charge. He is being held on $50,000 bond.

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