Deputy's Shared Information Led to Arrest of Robbery Suspect After Alert Deputy Recognized the Suspect Vehicle
Spokane Valley Patrol Deputy received information regarding a robbery suspect and his vehicle. He provided the robbery information, including pictures, to Spokane Valley and Spokane County Patrol Deputies. Several hours later, a Spokane Valley Deputy observed a vehicle without license plates or taillights. During the traffic stop and investigation, the driver and SUV were identified as the robbery suspect and vehicle.
On September 23, 2020, at approximately 1:40 p.m., Spokane Valley Deputy Jeffrey Zickler responded to a reported robbery at a store located in the 11500 block of E. Sprague, in Spokane Valley.
The victim said she was working at the store on September 20, 2020. At about 10:30 p.m., she noticed a male enter the store and pick-up several items. The male suspect, later identified as 28-year-old Gean R. Mickelson, turned and hurriedly left the store without paying for the merchandise.
She followed him into the parking lot to a white 4-door SUV. He got into the driver’s seat as the employee approached the passenger side door. A female in the passenger’s seat blocked the view of her face as Mickelson backed the vehicle up. The employee/victim stepped in front of the car, which came to a stop. It then rapidly accelerated forward, knocked the victim to the ground, and left the area.
The victim said she feared for her life when Mickelson accelerated toward her and may have momentarily lost consciousness when she fell to the ground. She did not initially report the robbery because she was afraid. The victim received injuries to her arm, neck, and hip.
Deputy Zickler reviewed the store’s security camera video and noticed the white SUV appeared to be an early 2000’s Chevy Trailblazer. He sent out the information to all Patrol Deputies, hoping to identify and locate the suspect or vehicle.
Later that day, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Spokane Valley Deputy Joseph Reno noticed a white Chevy Trailblazer without license plates or taillights on Mullen, near Boone. He conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle and identified Mickelson as the driver. A check of Mickelson’s name revealed his driving privileges were suspended in Washington, and he was arrested.
Recognizing the Trailblazer and Mickelson as possibly being connected to the robbery, Deputy Reno reviewed the pictures provided by Deputy Zickler and continued the investigation. He matched several of the vehicle's features and Mickelson to the pictures from the robbery, including specific jewelry and the bandana worn by Mickelson, which was now hanging on the SUV's rearview mirror.
Mickelson was advised of his rights and agreed to answer questions. He admitted taking items from the store without paying for them. He explained because he was “high on adrenaline”, he did not see what happened to the victim when he drove away.
Mickelson was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Robbery 1st Degree. He was also issued a misdemeanor criminal citation for Driving While Suspended.