A north Spokane resident discovered a knife-wielding man lying under his bed Tuesday afternoon.
During the next two hours, as he held the resident at knifepoint in the apartment, the intruder used the victim’s cell phone, drank his beverages and shot up drugs. He then stole the victim’s car.
Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies believe that just hours earlier the same suspect stole a woman’s car near Calispel Street and Price Avenue. Deputies spotted the vehicle later that day near the area, but the man fled on foot and a deputy lost sight of him in the area of 9000 N. Country Homes Blvd.
Hours later at about 6:30 p.m., a call came in regarding the apartment intruder. The resident told deputies about the intruder hiding under the bed, and included that the suspect wanted him to drive him from the area to escape drug dealers who were looking for him.
The man refused to comply, court documents state, so the suspect remained in his apartment. Eventually, the suspect demanded the man’s keys and fled the area in his rented 2016 Hyundai Veloster, which was found just before midnight near Atlantic Street and Lyons Avenue.
The suspect, described as a white male in his mid-20s to early 30s, with a medium muscular build, shaved head, and tattoos on his arms and neck, remains at large.
Mark Koch, a neighbor of the man who was held hostage, said the condominium complex on the edge of Spokane city limits has had issues with people scaling fences in the past, breaking into cars or causing a nuisance. He said the units on the ground floor of the two-building complex have sliding glass doors, which he assumes is how the suspect entered the unit.
“If they don’t lock the door, someone can just enter from the outside,” he said.
On Wednesday, law enforcement officers filed a warrant to set up a cell site simulator – a device that masquerades as a cell tower and is able to capture information from nearby cellphones that connect to it. According to the warrant, deputies have a cellphone number they believe is connected to the suspected robber. The attempt, however, was not successful.
It is the third seemingly random car robbery or carjacking in the Spokane area in two weeks. On July 3, a woman was carjacked in downtown Spokane while leaving from work. On July 6, another woman was carjacked in the early morning hours while sleeping in her car in northwestern Spokane.
Deputy Mark Gregory, spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, said they don’t get calls on incidents like these “very often.”
“I can’t think of anything recently,” he said.
The previous incidents this month were handled by the Spokane Police Department.
On Monday evening, police told KHQ News that a man was pistol-whipped before having his car stolen from his driveway near Grace Avenue and Hemlock Street in northwestern Spokane, the same location where the woman was carjacked on July 6. But police say that incident was between two people who knew each other.
“That was not a stranger’s carjacking,” said officer John O’Brien, spokesman for the Spokane Police Department. “That one in itself does not pose a known threat to the community.”
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