App helps man track Downtown thief, no police response

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by HAYLEY GUENTHNER & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on August 1, 2013 at 12:48 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.--A local man is furious following a recent Spokane break-in. Yet, he is not just angry with the suspected thieves. Derrick Oliver said he is mad at police for not showing up because he could see the thieves as he spoke to 911 dispatchers.

Oliver said he was with friends when their vehicle was broken into along Bernard Street in Downtown Spokane earlier in the week. He claimed the thieves took a backpack with an iPhone and keys in it.

The man used the smartphone app called ‘Where’s My iPhone” to track his stolen phone. The app tracked the phone to a nearby Downtown Spokane apartment complex. Oliver said that is when he spotted the suspect.

“We saw the people who stole it come out of the building, wearing the backpack that was stolen,” said Oliver.

The group confronted the alleged thief immediately. Oliver said the suspect claimed the bag was his and did not belong to Oliver.

He then watched the suspect begin to jog away. Oliver chased after him and called 911. He said he gave dispatchers updates as they ran through the streets on Downtown.

Yet, not long into the chase, Oliver realized that help was not coming.

“Ten minutes later, I was like, ‘is someone going to come or am I going to just keep telling you where I am?’” he said.

Oliver said dispatch told him every officer was tied up on other calls.

“In the moment, I wasn’t that frustrated, or more frustrated that we lost the people,” added Oliver. “But as I was riding my bike home, I thought about it and was fairly frustrated. We put effort into doing it the right way but then not yielding any positive results from it.”

Oliver sent a complaint to the Spokane Police Department via Twitter. SPD said they will continue to look into it, but said this was not a priority call.

SPD released a statement, saying:

"At the time of this incident SPD officers were responding to other emergency calls and were not able to break away from these calls to respond immediately.  In this particular incident, the call came in as a previously occurring theft and not a theft in progress where a citizen could be in danger. For safety reasons, we ask citizens not to follow a suspect prior to an incident, but rather to call 911 (if it is an emergency) or Crime Check (to file a report incident report) that we can follow up on.  SPD reached out to Mr. Oliver several times to get more information on this incident, however we have not heard back from him."

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