Update: Detectives Identifies and Arrest Convicted Felon for Multiple Charges in Additional Charges Stemming from a New Crime Spree
Spokane County Investigative Unit (SCIU) Detectives continued the investigation into the multiple burglary calls where a suspect is believed to have used a stolen truck to smash into several businesses on December 11, 2021.
SCIU Detectives applied for and were granted a search warrant for the recovered stolen vehicle, and they recovered a large amount of property stolen during the crime spree. The recovered stolen property was returned to the victims.
Through the investigation, SCIU Detective James Wang, the lead investigator on this case, identified 20-year-old Nicholas O. Stratton as the suspect who committed these crimes.
On December 23, 2021, several Spokane Valley Deputies investigated two stolen vehicle reports. The driver of one stolen vehicle, later identified as Stratton, attempted to elude a Deputy by driving recklessly and at a high rate of speed. Due to the recent changes to Washington State Law, the Deputy was not authorized to pursue the stolen vehicle.
Deputies continued to check the area and located the stolen vehicle abandoned in the 12700 block of E. Mansfield. With the help of a witness, Deputies located Stratton on the east side of some apartments in the area. He was taken into custody without incident.
At this time, Deputies investigating the two stolen vehicle calls developed probable cause to charge Stratton with Burglary 2nd Degree (2 counts), Theft of a Motor Vehicle (2 counts), Attempting to Elude a Police Vehicle, Malicious Mischief 2nd Degree, and Vehicle Prowling 2nd Degree.
Deputies contacted SCIU Detective Wang and advised him that Stratton had been arrested. Detective Wang met Deputies at the Spokane Valley Precinct to interview Stratton regarding the extensive, ongoing investigation from December 11, 2021. A check of Stratton’s name had also revealed Stratton is a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing firearms.
After the interview, Stratton was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for the charges developed on December 23, 2021 (noted above).
After compiling all the evidence and Stratton’s statement, Detective Wang added additions charges of Burglary 2nd Degree (6 counts), Theft 2nd Degree (5 counts), Theft of a Motor Vehicle, Theft of a Firearm from a Motor Vehicle, Possessing a Stolen Firearm, Unlawful Possession of a Stolen Firearm 2nd Degree, Malicious Mischief 1st Degree (2 counts), Malicious Mischief 2nd Degree (3 counts), Malicious Mischief 3rd Degree (2 counts), and Vehicle Prowling 2nd Degree.
Initial Press Release from December 20, 2021:
Suspect Uses Stolen Truck to Commit Multiple Burglaries, Causing Over an Estimated $40,000 in Damage to Businesses
Deputy Unable to Pursue the Truck per State Law
Spokane Valley Deputies and Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to multiple burglary calls where a suspect is believed to have used a stolen truck to smash into the businesses. A Spokane Valley Deputy spotted the suspect at a business while responding to a different burglary report. The Deputy activated her emergency lights, but the suspect sped away in the stolen truck. The Deputy was prohibited from pursuing the suspect due to the recent changes to state law.
On the evening of December 11, 2021, Spokane Valley Deputies and Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies began to respond to several burglary calls along Trent, Pines, and Montgomery. As they began to investigate these independent reports, it became apparent they were probably all committed by the same suspect.
From information gleaned during the investigation, it appears these incidents started when a suspect stole a GMC Sierra from Cascade Windows, located on Montgomery. The suspect seems to have then used the stolen truck to smash into at least four businesses located in Spokane Valley and Spokane County, causing over an estimated $40,000 worth of damage.
While responding to one of the reported burglaries, a Spokane Valley Deputy noticed a truck that had smashed through the front doors of Arrow Concrete and Asphalt on E. Trent. The Deputy activated her emergency lights, but the male suspect immediately accelerated at a high rate of speed and fled. The Deputy advised she had located the suspect vehicle, and it fled the scene. The request to pursue and/or use a PIT technique to stop the fleeing vehicle was denied due to the recent state legislative reform laws.
The vehicle was quickly located a short distance away and seized for evidence.
Spokane County Investigative Unit Detectives continue to investigate these incidents. They are also coordinating with Spokane Police Department Investigators concerning three similar burglary reports that evening in Spokane.
Washington State RCW 10.116.060 (Full Text)
A peace officer may not engage in a vehicular pursuit, unless:
(a)(i) There is probable cause to believe that a person in the vehicle has committed or is committing a violent offense or sex offense as defined in RCW 9.94A.030, or an escape under chapter 9A.76 RCW; or
(ii) There is reasonable suspicion a person in the vehicle has committed or is committing a driving under the influence offense under RCW 46.61.502
(Additional provisions beyond the ones listed above follow-Full Text can be viewed at the provided link)