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Tuesday, October 20, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Spokane police recommend charge of second-degree arson for man accused of setting downtown ATM on fire, returning to pee on it

UPDATED: Fri., June 28, 2019

Police say 53-year-old Philip B. Lewis set fire to this ATM in downtown Spokane on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, and then returned to urinate on it. (Jonathan Glover / The Spokesman-Review)
Police say 53-year-old Philip B. Lewis set fire to this ATM in downtown Spokane on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, and then returned to urinate on it. (Jonathan Glover / The Spokesman-Review)

A man accused of setting an ATM on fire – and then urinating on it – was arrested Friday on suspicion of second-degree arson.

According to Spokane police, at about 1 a.m. Wednesday a security guard at the Bank of America Financial Center building at 601 W. Riverside Ave. witnessed a man setting something on fire and placing it on the ATM’s braille pad.

Sgt. Terry Preuninger, a spokesman for the Spokane Police Department, said the security guard was able to put out the fire. But sometime later, the man returned and urinated on the ATM.

“There is surveillance footage of that,” Preuninger said. “You can clearly see it.”

The man was identified as Philip B. Lewis, 53, of Okanogan, Washington.

The ATM, on the back side of the building along Sprague Avenue between Wall and Howard streets, was cleaned and is still operational, a bank manager said Wednesday. It was unknown if the braille pad or other parts would need to be replaced.

Preuninger said a written victim statement provided by the bank indicated it cost $700 to clean the machine.

Lewis, according to police, has six felony convictions on his record. In 2017, he was charged with setting several fires along the Fish Lake Trail west of Spokane. He pleaded guilty in connection with those fires last year.

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