Neighbors help catch 12-time felon near Finch Arboretum



Posted on May 6, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 6 at 6:39 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Police arrested a prowler in the Finch Arboretum neighborhood Tuesday.

The male suspect, identified as Lelbert Williams, 42, had attempted to steal a car and break into at least two homes in the area of ‘F’ Street and Woodland Blvd, investigators said.

Spokane police said they first responded to the neighborhood earlier Tuesday morning but could not locate a suspect. About an hour later, officers said they were called out again - this time from a neighbor who was actively following the suspect and updating police on his whereabouts.

"I just saw him prying doors and I said, ‘hey Rumpelstiltskin!’ He looked at me and his eyes got big and he ran off through that fence there,” said neighbor John Johnston.

Johnston followed the suspect until Spokane police arrived on scene.

"Everyone started running in on him. It was great. A good adrenaline rush right there,” said Johnston.

Authorities said the neighbor did not confront the suspect.

After Williams' arrest, officers said they were canvassing the neighborhood and interviewing neighbors to see how many more homes he may have hit.

Officers said that through follow-up investigation they were able to connect Williams with several other burglaries, burglary attempts and taking of a motor vehicle without permission.

"I've been doing this job for almost 31 years and this ranks right at the top. This just goes to show you don't need multiple suspects to create a crime wave,” said Lieutenant Alan Arnzen with the Spokane Police Department.

Williams was booked into the Spokane County Jail on charges of Second Degree Taking a Motor Vehicle Without Permission, Residential Burglary, Second Degree Attempted Burglary and Second Degree Burglary.
Officers said Williams was a 12-time convicted felon with previous felony convictions including Theft, Forgery, Robbery and Assault.