No Front License Plate Leads to Stolen Vehicle Recovery
After observing a vehicle drive past without a front license plate, a Spokane Valley Sheriff’s Deputy’s traffic stop and subsequent investigation yielded the arrest of two suspects for multiple charges and the recovery of a stolen vehicle.
On February 18, 2020, just after 9:00 p.m., Deputy Vincent McKenzie observed a white Buick LeSabre lacking a visible front license plate drive past his location. He caught up to the vehicle as it turned from Pines into the parking lot of some apartments located in the 2800 block of N. Cherry.
Deputy McKenzie activated his emergency lights to conduct a traffic stop, and the Buick stopped as required. As he approached the vehicle to contact the driver, he noted the car had a paper dealership advertisement instead of a rear license plate and what appeared to be a temporary registration permit in the back window. A check of the temporary tag showed it should be on a Honda CRV.
Deputy McKenzie contacted the female driver, identified as 33-year-old Jessica D. Liggett. A check of her name revealed her driving privileges were suspended, and there was a valid misdemeanor warrant (Theft 3rd) for her arrest. Jessica was informed she was being arrested and taken into custody without incident.
Deputy Becky Lederle and Deputy Veronica Van Patten arrived at the scene to assist.
Deputy McKenzie contacted the male passenger who verbally identified himself, providing what was found to be a false name. Deputy McKenzie learned via his radio, Jessica and her husband 34-year-old Michael D. Liggett were named as suspects in a recent theft of a white Buick. Not knowing the male’s identity and believing the Buick was possibly stolen, Deputy McKenzie safely detained him, pending further investigation.
A check of the Buick’s VIN confirmed the Buick was reported stolen on February 9, 2020. Dispatchers also advised there was a valid Domestic Violence No Contact Order prohibiting Michael from contacting Jessica, and Michael had a valid felony Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) Escape Community Custody warrant for his arrest. Despite being confronted about lying by Deputy McKenzie, Michael continued to falsely identify himself.
After being advised of her rights, Jessica said she got the car from a friend named Karen but was unable to provide any contact or additional information. She eventually claimed the Buick was hers, and she identified the male passenger as her husband. She later admitted Michael showed up with the Buick, and she didn’t know if it had been stolen or not.
Michael was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Violation of a No Contact Order, Making False Statements, and his felony DOC warrant.
Jessica was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle, Driving While Suspended 3rd Degree, and her misdemeanor warrant.
Later, the victim responded to take possession of her vehicle and explained she had allowed Michael and Jessica to stay at her home for several days because they were homeless. On the 9th, Jessica left her home on foot, and Michael stayed. When she later went into her bedroom, she noticed her purse was open, her keys were missing, the Buick was gone, and Michael was nowhere to be found.