SPD arrests prolific burglary suspect

Sgt. Brian Eckersley

Thursday, May 11, 2023 at 4:52 p.m.

A burglary and theft binge that began at Gonzaga University’s Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center and ended at Fairmount Memorial Park Cemetery resulted in the arrest of 57-year old Patrick T. Brown earlier this month. Detectives with SPD’s SPEAR (Stolen Property Enforcement and Recovery) Unit, a SPD crime analyst, and SPD patrol officers, with the help of surveillance video and witness statements, were able to tie together a number of burglaries beginning in late March and develop probable cause to arrest Brown on 04/06/2023.

Police were called to the Performing Arts Center on 03/22/2023 after a host of historical relics were discovered missing from a room where the items were displayed for public viewing that morning. Later in the day someone broke through a secure door to the room and stole more than a dozen display items including a silver tea and coffee set, a candlestick, a watch and other antiques. Aside from the historical significance of the items, some have significant monetary value. Surveillance video and pictures determined Brown was in the room for the public viewing, returning later to pry open the secured exhibit and steal multiple items. As the investigation continued, several of the items were discovered by detectives when they served a search warrant at a residence where Brown was known to stay.

On 03/30/2023, an employee of St. John’s Cathedral reported that someone had pried the lock to the church’s china cabinet and stole a silver tea set and silverware. Again, a missing item from this theft was later discovered at the same residence as the items from the GU theft, including a teapot engraved with the church’s name.

On 04/06/2023, a man visiting the Fairmount Cemetery noticed broken glass at several plots, encased in glass, inside the mausoleum and witnessed a man running from the scene. Cemetery video showed someone taking something out of one of the personal plots, which was later determined to be a ring.  Police responded and interviewed the witness who provided a description of the suspect and a location of where the man had fled. Officers went to the location and found Brown lying on the front lawn of a residence with small cuts consistent with those from broken glass. Officers discovered a ring in Brown’s pocket.

SPEAR members also investigation 3 additional burglaries at businesses in Spokane and developed probable cause to charge Brown in those cases.

Brown was booked into the Spokane County Jail on four counts of 2nd degree burglary, one count of 1st degree theft, one count of 1st degree malicious mischief, three counts of 3rd degree theft and three counts of 3rd degree malicious mischief.  For his involvement in the cemetery theft, Brown was charged with cemetery violations including desecration of a grave - which is a felony.

Brown remains in the Spokane County Jail on a $76,000 bond. He has 23 felony convictions including 11 for burglary and 2 for attempted burglary.

The items taken from Gonzaga University were donated by Myrtle Woldson after her death in 2014. The Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center was built in her name and houses her story and her personal belongings. GU personnel would like to retrieve the stolen items and put them back in the museum for all to enjoy and honor Myrtle Woldson. Attached are pictures and descriptions of the missing items. If the public has any knowledge of these items, perhaps someone unknowingly purchased an item or has seen these items for sale, please contact SPD Sgt. Brian Eckersley at beckersley@spokanepolice.org.

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