Couple arrested for prowling cars near hiking trails

Couple arrested for prowling cars near hiking trails

SPOKANE, Wash. — If you want to go hiking and enjoy many of the beautiful trails in the area you will probably leave your car behind in a parking lot.

Unfortunately, there are people who know that you may be gone long enough for them to break in.

A lot of people were out enjoying the trails Monday and they said having their cars broken into is something they think about each time they walk away.

“We do what we can and try to bring our valuables with us, but we do worry about it,” hiker Kristen Dickson said.

Another hiker said there is not much you can do to prevent it.

“There's not much you can do if you want to enjoy the outdoors,” hiker Rob Weaver said.

All the hikers KREM 2 talked to on Monday said they try not to leave anything behind that could tempt a car prowler to break in.

"We have our backpacks, so if we need something, our phones and wallets are going to be with us,” Victoria Stalder said. “But if we do have something, we just leave it in the trunk."

Dickson said something similar about her valuables.

“We try and either hide our stuff or make sure that when we leave the house we don't take any valuables with us,” Dickson said.  “Either that or put it in our backpacks.”

But as hard as people try not to become victims of a car break in, you are not always able to prevent it.  Over the past few months, police followed a couple they believe targeted several trail heads all over Spokane.

Officers received several reports of car prowling's at Iller Creek, Camp Caro, Rimrock, Palisades Park, Riverside State Park, Indian Canyon Drive, Mystic Falls and several other trail heads.   

A witness called police and said they saw a man checking several door handles to see if any of the cars were left unlocked while a woman waited in a car nearby. Police responded and questioned the woman.

Court documents show that the woman told officers she was by herself and was going to hike.  Officers said they noticed that she was wearing flip flops and had two-way radios, so they did not believe her story.

Court documents also show officers conducted surveillance of the couple and followed them as they frequented several parks.  As police tracked them, documents describe that police caught the two committing a slew of crimes.

Both were arrested and charged with vehicle prowling, identity theft, trafficking in stolen property and delivery of a controlled substance.

The man arrested is still behind bars.  The woman has since been released.

Cases like this serve as a good reminder to make sure you do not leave anything behind if you plan to head out for a hike this summer. It is a reminder that other hikers want to pass along as well.

“Not going to leave any valuables in there, so yeah, make sure you don't leave anything in there,”  Stalder said.

© 2017 KREM-TV


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