Suspect Arrested for Theft of a Dog
Spokane Valley Patrol Deputies located a suspect who reportedly stole a German Shepard from a residence in California. The Shepard was a gift to the victim’s Autistic child and was taken from their yard on July 31, 2020.
On August 5, 2020, at approximately 6:55 p.m., Spokane Valley Deputy Krystal Bitzer and Deputy Natalie Woolard responded to a suspicious person call in a residential area, east of Sullivan and 16th Avenue.
The caller reported a male, later identified as 59-year-old Mark C. Steel, contacted her on Tuesday, inquiring about her neighbor. She knew her neighbor was out of town for a few days, so she called her neighbor’s family member and confirmed that Steel is the nephew of her neighbor.
Steel told her he and his dog, a German Shepard, needed a place to stay for a couple of days, and that’s why he showed up at his uncle’s home. Steel parked at his uncle’s residence and stayed in his vehicle, leaving periodically.
Wednesday, the caller said she was on the phone with the family member she talked with the day before and learned Steel stole the German Shepard from the neighbor of another family member who lived in California. She provided the victim’s name and contact information to the Deputies.
During a phone call, the victim confirmed the German Shepard was stolen from her yard on July 31, 2020. Her home surveillance video showed Steel take the dog from her fenced yard. She explained the Shepard was given to her Autistic son as a gift. She provided pictures of the dog and licensing paperwork from the state of California.
Deputy Bitzer and Deputy Woolard tried to contact Steel at the residence, but he had already left.
At approximately 8:30 p.m., the original caller reported Steel and the Shepard had returned, but he was gone again when the Deputies arrived.
On August 6, 2020, at about 12:10 a.m., Deputy Bitzer observed a truck matching the description of Steel’s, parked in a parking lot in the same general area, just off Sullivan. As she approached the vehicle, she observed Steel and the Shepard inside.
Once additional Deputies arrived to assist, they woke Steel up and detained him. He was informed of his rights and agreed to answer questions. He said last Thursday, July 30th; he observed the Shepard running free near a highway onramp (CA). He knew the dog belonged to his friend, José. He retrieved the dog and drove away. Steel didn’t return the dog to his friend, who he stated lived a half-mile away because he went to meet a friend, and after he did, he wasn’t going back. When he was asked if failure to return the Shepard wasn’t considered stealing, he replied, “Well, once you put it like that, it sounds like it.” Steel declined to answer additional questions and asked for a lawyer.
Steel was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Possession of Stolen Property 2nd Degree.
SCRAPS took custody of the Shepard until arrangements to have her picked up could be made.