Deputies and SVIU Detectives Recover Recently Stolen Vehicle - Suspect’s False Claim of being COVID Positive Leads to Her Arrest
Spokane Valley Investigative Unit (SVIU) Detectives and Patrol Deputies collaborated to recover a stolen vehicle occupied by two suspects. During the investigation, the passenger falsely claimed she had just been informed she had tested positive for COVID. After she finally admitted her claim was a lie to avoid going to jail, she was arrested. The driver was also arrested for several charges.
On July 1, 2020, at approximately 8:25 a.m., Spokane Valley SVIU Detective Eaton and Detective Karnitz responded to the Spokane Valley Library to investigate a possible stolen vehicle. A concerned citizen told them a male was in the parking lot of the library trying to sell a Subaru GL.
In the parking lot, they observed a black 1984 Subaru with a front license plate but no rear plate. Knowing the removal of a rear license plate from a stolen vehicle is a common attempt to avoid detection by thieves, Investigators surveilled the possibly stolen car.
A few minutes later, the Subaru exited the parking lot, and the Detectives followed. Patrol Deputy Lawhorn was contacted to conduct a traffic stop for further investigation.
Deputy Lawhorn stopped the vehicle at the intersection of Sprague and Skipworth. The driver verbally identified himself as, 20-year-old Danielle K. Zurcher. A check of his name revealed his driving privileges were suspended. Zurcher was arrested for the misdemeanor charge.
The passenger, identified as 32-year-old Misty D. Huber, explained Zurcher purchased the car earlier that morning “for a few hundred dollars.” Huber said she didn’t know the car was stolen, and Zurcher got a really good deal because the seller owed Zurcher money.
A few minutes later, Huber told another Deputy at the scene; she had tested positive for COVID and just received the results earlier in the morning. Spokane Valley Fire and AMR personnel were requested to provide medical treatment and evaluate Huber. After her evaluation, where she showed no signs or symptoms, she told Detective Eaton she had never been tested and made the entire claim up because she was tired of answering questions and didn’t want to go to jail.
Huber was arrested for making false/misleading statements to law enforcement and obstructing an investigation.
Detectives determined the Subaru was indeed stolen, and the registered owner had just called in to report the theft.
Zurcher would not admit he stole the vehicle, but he did state he knew it was probably stolen.
Huber and Zurcher were both transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail.
Zurcher was charged with Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle, Possession of Motor Vehicle Theft Tools (shaved key), and Driving While Suspended 2nd Degree.
Huber was booked for Making False/Misleading Statements and Obstructing.
The vehicle was returned to the registered owner.