SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane police are investigating a string of burglaries that occurred in the Gonzaga University area where students were on winter break.
A total of seven burglaries were reported to police from Dec. 22, 2020 to Jan. 1, 2021. The suspects targeted locations where mail had built up and snow was not removed from sidewalks, Spokane Police Officer John O'Brien said.
Doors at the front of the homes were forced open, along with individually locked bedroom doors, and many of the homes were ransacked, he added.
The first incident was reported at about 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 22, 2020 in the 500 block of E. Indiana Avenue. An unknown person kicked open the door and was chased from the home by a tenant, O'Brien said. A K-9 track did not find the suspect.
At least two suspects broke into another home in 1300 block of N. Columbus Street at about 2:55 a.m. on Dec. 28, 2020.
One of the tenants had returned from winter break and woke up to the sound of the break-in, O'Brien said. The victim was afraid that the suspect would hear her call 911, so she hid under her bed and texted her mom for help. She told police that the suspects were in her home for 15 to 20 minutes.
The suspects abandoned a couple of backpacks with stolen property in the home, according to O'Brien. A K-9 track did not locate the suspects.
Police responded to four other burglaries in the afternoon and evening hours of Dec. 29, 2020. They took place in the 500 block of E. Sinto Avenue, 300 block of E. Indiana Avenue, 800 block of E. Nora Avenue and1700 block of N. Cincinnati Street.
Doors had been forced open in all of the cases and police determined that burglaries took place, O'Brien said.
Another burglary was reported at about 2:04 p.m. on Jan, 1, 2021 in the 1100 block of E. Augusta Avenue. O'Brien said property was stolen from the home and its entry door may have been left unlocked when the last student left for winter break.
The burglary investigations are ongoing by the Spokane Police Department's Patrol Anti-Crime Team. Officers may find more individual victims and learn of more stolen property after all students return to campus, O'Brien said.
Officers have developed probable cause for three suspects and recovered several items of stolen property, which will be returned to the victims at a later date, O'Brien said.