One Burglar Caught, Second Flees in Vehicle
State Law Prevents Deputies from Pursuing Suspect Vehicle
Responding to a burglary in progress call, Spokane Valley Deputies captured one suspect, but a second fled in a vehicle, crashing through a tall chain-linked fence/gate. Deputies tried to stop the fleeing SUV that appeared to contain stolen merchandise, but the unknown suspect continued to try and evade capture. Due to the new Washington State Law (HB 1054 section 7 - RCW 10.116.060) passed by the legislature and signed by the governor in 2021, Deputies were prevented from pursuing the suspect and had to terminate.
On September 10, 2022, at approximately 3:25 am, Spokane Valley Deputies responded to the report of a Commercial Burglary in progress at Ziggy’s Home Improvement, 17002 E. Sprague Avenue, in Spokane Valley.
The caller, and employee of the business, said a male was at the location trying to break in and that they have had theft problems in the recent past. He stated he observed two to three people trying to get into the fenced lumber yard. He later observed two males stealing items from the back portion of the fenced lumber yard and placing the materials into a black SUV. He described one of the suspects as wearing all-black clothing and a red hat.
When Deputies arrived at the location, they observed a white male wearing a red hat running through the north side of the fenced lot. The male, later identified as 38-year-old Robert S. Rehfeld, did not follow commands and continued to run. He was eventually captured and detained.
Deputies also observed a black Mercedes SUV driving east through the back-fenced portion of the lumber yard at a high rate of speed. The SUV drove through a tall gate/fence on the northeast side of the business.
Deputies in fully marked patrol cars, who were just arriving, attempted to stop the suspect’s vehicle with their emergency lights and siren activated, but the suspect recklessly drove away. Miscellaneous items believed to have been stolen from the business could be seen through the open liftgate of the fleeing vehicle. With the trunk open, the license plate was not visible.
Due to the passage of HB 1054 by the Washington State House and Senate and with the approval of Governor Inslee when he signed it into law, Deputies were prohibited from pursuing and/or capturing the second, unknown suspect and retrieving the stolen property.
Deputies turned off their lights and sirens and returned to the business that was victimized.
The employee estimated the cost to repair the fence at $4,000 but was unsure how much property was stolen until they checked inventory.
Rehfeldt was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Burglary 2nd Degree and two active warrants for his arrest for Physical Control of a Vehicle while Under the Influence and Reckless Driving. Rehfeldt remains in jail with his total bond set at $5,000.