Man Arrested for Crime Spree Including Carjacking and Kidnapping

Julie Humphreys, Public Safety Communication Manager 509.622.5868

Wednesday, July 10, 2024 at 4:52 p.m.

On 7/5/24 just after 6pm, Spokane Police responded to a reported carjacking at a fast food restaurant downtown in the 700 block of W. 3rd Ave. A woman reported she was in the drive-thru of the restaurant when a man threw a rock into her car, striking her, and demanded she get out of the vehicle. Officers learned the woman complied out of fear for her safety. During the investigation officers were able to determine a suspect description, which was put out to other officers. The carjacked vehicle was spotted by police a short time later on the South Hill near Southeast Blvd and 17th Ave. Patrol officers began to follow the suspect who was driving recklessly at a high rate of speed, several times almost colliding with other vehicles including several marked police cars - one which narrowly missed being hit head-on by the suspect. Officers terminated the pursuit due to the risk the suspect driver posed to others.

A very short time later a citizen called in a suspicious vehicle located in the 3000 block of E. 28th Ave. The car was confirmed to be the stolen vehicle but it was unoccupied. A K-9 track was initiated in the area. While the K9 search was on, an attempted kidnapping call was reported in the 3100 block of Mt. Vernon. Callers reported a male, who matched the description of the carjacking suspect, had just tried to kidnap a child who was playing outside with a friend at the location. Fortunately, an alert citizen noticed the suspect grab the young girl from behind and try to drag her away, and heard the girl yelling. The man intervened, rescued the victim, and chased the suspect off. The girl relayed she thought she would never see her family again.

As police were talking with the girl and the citizen who helped her, a call came in that a woman had just scared a burglar out of her home in the 2600 block of E. 33rd. The suspect, who matched the carjacking and kidnapping suspect description, fled from the home with a pillowcase of items taken in the burglary. A K9 track was again set up, patrol officers surrounded the area, drones were utilized and instrumental in quickly locating the suspect in the area of 37th and Mt. Vernon. Daniel J. Pajas (38) was taken into custody. But not before striking an officer in the head with a rake with which he had armed himself. Also not before lighting fire to a shed next to a home in the 3500 block of S. Smith. The fire caught the side of the occupied home on fire before being put out.

This crime spree lasted an hour and a half, injured a number of people including officers, terrified several people, put many people in danger, damaged property, and took substantial police resources to contain. This incident could have had a much more tragic outcome if it weren’t for the exceptional work of police and the assistance of community members and witnesses. SPD thanks those who assisted.

Additionally, earlier in the day – around noon, a burglary was reported in North Spokane in the 2000 block of North Crescent Ave. Jewelry and cash were stolen. The suspect fit the description of the suspect in the evening crime spree and Pajas was charged for that burglary as well as numerous other crimes related to the crime spree. Pajas was booked into the Spokane County Jail and faces 13 charges, including a number of felonies. Charges include; 1st Degree Robbery/Carjacking, 1st Degree Kidnapping, 1st Degree Arson, 2nd Degree Assault, Residential Burglary, 2nd Degree Burglary, Attempt to Elude Police Vehicle, 2nd Degree Theft, and Malicious Mischief. Pajas is being held on a half million dollar bond.

Related Photos
  • Photo 1 (Suspect arrest)
  • Photo 2 (Officers returning stolen property to victim)
  • Photo 3 (Items taken in residential burglary)
  • Photo 4 (Shed burned )

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Julie Humphreys