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$27,050 In Animal Mounts Recovered

Posted 8/27/2013 1:00 PM by CKCHAMBERLIN

On Monday night, August 26th, 2013, at 9:45 p.m., Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy D. Smith responded to a suspicious vehicle call on Perry Road north of Hawthorne. The complainant had been at a storage facility across the street and saw three vehicles parked in the parking lot of a business for rent. Thinking this was suspicious, he contacted the juvenile males and females at their vehicles after he heard what he described as a loud metal "clang" that came from their vehicles. The complainant said when he spoke with the juveniles they told him they were all just hanging out in the parking lot.

Deputy Smith and Deputy D. Anderberg contacted and identified the juveniles. After speaking with them, and not finding any damage to the business, the juveniles were asked to leave the property. At about 10:30 p.m., Deputy Smith and Anderberg responded to Knopp Taxidermy at 10816 N. Newport Highway on a commercial burglary call. This business is about 300 yards west of the parking lot where the deputies contacted the juveniles.

An on-site security guard said he checked the business at about 10:30 p.m. and found it had been burglarized. A panel had been pried off the side of the building, the front door was ajar and several animal mounts were missing. These included a full size polar bear, wolf, monkey, raccoon, zebra and boar. Total value for all the mounts was $27,050. The polar bear alone was worth $20,000.

After processing the scene, Deputy Smith followed a dirt track that led to the same location he had contacted the juveniles. He located the polar bear, raccoon, zebra and boar mounts along the trail. When he reached the parking lot the juveniles were contacted at, he located a crowbar on the ground with animal hair next to it.

Deputy Smith drove onto Perry looking for the remaining wolf and monkey mounts. As he drove south, he saw three juvenile males walking towards him. When they saw Deputy Smith, they turned and walked the opposite direction.

Deputy Smith recognized the males from his earlier contact and detained them. All three admitted they had been inside the taxidermy business and stole the mounts. They also provided additional names of friends that were inside the business and told Deputy Smith where the wolf and monkey mounts were dumped, which was in the weeds near Clover Park and Pineglen. They were located and eventually returned to Knopps.

Deputy Smith contacted a fourth juvenile male the other three said was with them. He also admitted he had been inside the business.

• All four juvenile males were booked into the Juvenile Detention Center for 2nd Degree Burglary. Additional arrests are expected as the investigation is ongoing.