Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308
Monday, March 12, 2018 at 9:37 a.m.
You’ve seen the shattered glass car prowlers leave in their wake. Now Spokane police have put a face on the problem.
“You are not free to go, you have a warrant out for your arrest,” announces officer Micah Prim as he steps out of his patrol car at Division and Pacific Avenue.
Zachary Hutsell seems surprised he’s a fugitive and tells arriving officers he’s not behind a recent rash of car break-ins.
“How often are people funding their drug habit by breaking into cars? Is it very often?” Prim asks of the young man now in handcuffs. “I don’t know. That’s not me,” responds Hutsell.
However, once he’s under arrest, police search his backpack and find Hutsell is hooked on meth.
“Based on my training and experience this is crystal methamphetamine,” Prim says after finding white crystals in a contact lens container.
Hutsell was also carrying around bolt cutters and brass knuckle officers think he uses to smash out car windows.
Inside Hutsell’s backpack police also discovered three cans of spray paint and what appears to be a stolen game camera.
“We found some prowling tools in his bag and methamphetamine so that screams to me that he’s out there actively stealing from other people to get high every day,” concluded the officer.
Police say unfortunately, car prowlers can still find easy pickings in parking lots and driveways all over the city.
“This is the first vehicle in this parking lot that I walked up to,” said officer John O’Brien as he began peering into cars outside a downtown grocery store.
“There’s a cell phone on that white box that’s currently charging next to what look like a nice pair of sun glasses and ear buds,” O’Brien said of the prospective loot left in plain sight.
Even when people stash all of their obviously valuable items where they can’t be seen, seemingly worthless bags can invite a thief to break out your window.
“There’s a cinch sack. Might be somebody’s sweaty workout clothes, but so many windows have been broken out for a bag like that,” lamented O’Brien.
The officer also warns drivers to not forget locking up their cars because of a technique used by thieves known by police as “door jiggling”.
“They are just walking by, riding their bikes by trying each door handle on a car hoping it will be unlocked. If they’re only successful 10 percent of the time, that means one out of every ten car handles they try will be unlocked an open and they’ll be able to get in and steal whatever you’ve left behind,” warned O’Brien.
So police hope you’ll avoid making your car be an easy target because there’s a lot of thieves out there who are highly motivated by their habits.