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Two Robbery Suspects Arrested In Two Days

Posted 10/15/2013 12:56 PM by MDGREGORY

On Monday, October 14th, 2013, at about 8:30 p.m., Spokane Valley Sheriff's Deputies Joe Bodman and Jacob Spitzer responded to a robbery call at the Dollar Tree located at 9211 E. Montgomery. A female employee said a white male, later identified as 43-year-old Harley Smerz, was at the check stand purchasing a bottle of water. She said when she gave him his change, Smerz reached over the counter, grabbed money out of the cash register and fled in a Ford Freestyle station wagon.

She described Smerz as wearing blue jeans, a dark Harley Davidson T-shirt and a dark hat with a Harley Davidson decal on the front.

Sheriff's Deputy Nathan Bohanek was en route to assist with the investigation when he observed a similar vehicle enter eastbound I-90 from Argonne. Deputy Bohanek followed the vehicle, confirmed it was a Ford Freestyle and attempted to stop the vehicle but it continued approximately one-mile eastbound on I-90 before exiting at Evergreen Road.

Deputy Bohanek contacted an elderly female in the front passenger seat and the driver. Deputy Bohanek immediately observed Smerz, the driver was wearing a dark, long sleeved shirt with a Harley Davidson logo on the chest. Deputy Bohanek requested another unit and Smerz was detained.

Deputy Bohanek spoke with the passenger, who was Smerz's mother. She told him they were on their way to Idaho Falls from Edmonds, Washington, her son was out of work and she was trying to help him find a job. She also stated they left on Sunday, had been asking strangers for money along the way for fuel and they’ve been sleeping in the vehicle because the $700 she received from Social Security was not enough for the trip.

Deputies brought employees from the Dollar Tree to Evergreen and I-90 and Smerz was positively identified as the person who robbed the business. Deputies located a large amount of money in Smerz's wallet. Dollar Tree employees knew the amount taken from the business and that money was returned. The remaining money was given to Smerz's mother. Deputies also set Smerz's mother up with a hotel room in Spokane Valley, paid for it with their personal credit card and transported the vehicle to the hotel.

• Smerz was booked into Spokane County Jail for 2nd Degree Robbery.