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The game of losing and recovering bicycles

The game of losing and recovering bicycles

Anyone seen a Trek Madone 5.2? It’s a mid-range racing bicycle meant to hit the pavement for the Tour de France with space-age technology. That’s the way Eric Abbott, 47, described his bicycle that was stolen from his South Hill home in late July. In between racing near Riverside State Park and packing up his family’s home for a move across the state, it was plucked away from the garage.

“I walked into the garage, turned around - something felt strange like the hair was standing up on the back of my neck,” Abbot described. He asked himself, “Where’s my bike?”

It’s a common woe to hear in Spokane following the theft of property. Abbott followed the proper routine of filing a police report, insurance claims, calling major bike shops and starting his online patrol of Craigslist and eBay. He hopes to have it returned, but that possibility looks slim.

City cleans up pyramid stack of 45 picnic tables

City cleans up pyramid stack of 45 picnic tables

Vandalism kept some city crews busy Tuesday morning as they cleaned up a pyramid of picnic tables in Riverfront Park. The table structure reached 32 feet in height and required a bucket truck from Urban Forestry and a forklift to unstack about 45 picnic tables one by one.

Lead foreman David Randolph with Spokane Parks discovered the structure when he showed up to work around 4 a.m. Randolph says they had to dismantle a similar structure on Saturday morning at the same location.

“I’m glad nobody was killed while they put it up and hopefully none of my crew will get killed while they take it down,” Randolph said.

The weekend shenanigans cost the city about $500 for the resources to take the structure down. Park crews had to repeat the same costs on Tuesday to go through the process again.

“We have to take down the top ten tables with a bucket truck which is very expensive and labor intensive and we will take the rest of them down with a fork lift,” Randolph explained.

A look inside Spokane Properties Facility

A look inside Spokane Properties Facility

Where does evidence go when it leaves the scene of a crime? It’s processed into a property facility in east Spokane where local law enforcement store over 150,000 items of evidence. One hallway is dedicated to boxes of evidence from homicides.

Police evidence supervisor Shannon Hallam says they have exactly 1,000 boxes of evidence for 610 cases, a mixture of active or unsolved cases. Even if a case is closed, they have to keep the boxes 100 years following the closure of a case or until the defendant (if there is one) passes away.

The smaller boxes kept on the higher shelves are dedicated to 30-40 year-old homicides. Hallam says they didn’t take as many evidence items because the technology did not exist to analyze them closely. The oldest box of evidence is tied to a 1959 homicide.

They keep the boxes of evidence just in case new technology comes around that allows them to analyze evidence in new ways. Cold cases will remain at the property facility indefinitely.

New website says Spokane "sucks" because of crime statistics

If you’re not a fan of the crime rate in Spokane, neither is the website Spokane Sucks. Signs have been pasted all around the city of Spokane, advertising www.spokanesucks.com.

A video published on Youtube explains with a female voice over that the city has lost focus on its priorities while local media says crime is decreasing. The video says that’s not the case. The video cites the website Neighborhood Scout for the city’s safety rating listing a 2 out of 100 based on the number of annual crimes in Spokane. Neighborhood Scout says a rating of 100 is the safest.

The Massachusetts-based company Location, Inc. runs Neighborhood Scout and uses data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine the safety rating for a city. The FBI’s number is determined by the amount of crimes reported by local law enforcement agencies.

Spokane police report increasing problems with transient teens

Have you had a run-in with one of Spokane's notorious, possibly misunderstood "street kids?" Spokane police say it's happening more and more.

We took a look at this problem in a series of reports last month. Police and local business owners say roving gangs of teens are causing all sorts of trouble, particularly late at night. In one case, a large group of street kids left a bar employee hospitalized.

The kids say they're getting a bum rap and say they're just defending themselves against a local motorcycle club and other groups who are unfairly targeting them.

Either way, the problem seems to be getting worse. A new report from the Spokane Police Department says officers are receiving at least three calls a night for drugs, fights, panhandling, pedestrian interference, and other obnoxious behavior. Officers say the teens in question primarily stay at Crosswalk, camp in vacant lots, under bridges, or in Peaceful Valley.

Police: Burglaries down and then up following Operation Scattergun

Spokane Police’s strategic analysis reports there was a 35% decrease in burglaries following the joint-agency operation where 174 offenders were arrested for felony warrants on June 24. In Spokane County, there were 60 arrests for offenses including burglary.

During the low, about 40 burglaries were reported across the city. New statistics out of SPD now say burglaries increased above the city average level in the weeks after.

“We’re not sure if we got all the guys in jail or if it was police presence,” crime analyst Carly Cortright said. “Some of the guys were arrested, but released.”

Police cite awareness campaign for drop in vehicle prowling

Vehicle prowling has dropped significantly since the start of vehicle prowling awareness campaign by Spokane Police called “Remove it or lose it.” Thefts from vehicles dropped 25% from May to June and has consistently since the unprecedented level reported earlier this year.

The awareness campaign officially started on July 1 and consisted of flyers placed in some grocery store shopping bags, but the campaign was teased earlier and for those that participated in Hoopfest, you may have also noticed a flyer in your bag.

A ride-along with Washington State Patrol

A ride-along with Washington State Patrol

I spent my Thursday evening of last week with Trooper Paul Wanzenried as we patrolled Lincoln County via Highway 2 and Spokane County through I-90. A quiet evening, but we wrote three speeding tickets and initiated one sobriety test of a driver on the interstate westbound near the Altamont exit.

During the four hour ride-along, we responded to nine incidents including five traffic stops, one courtesy ride and three disabled vehicles. One newsworthy quality about Thursday’s ride was Tpr. Wanzenried got to show off his brand new Crown Vic, one of the last off the production line and the last one issued by Washington State Patrol.

Below is a timeline of events as they happened. We were tweeting the incidents last night as well. To read the tweets as they happened, read our Storify for “Tweet-Cap: A ride-along with Washington State Patrol”. Includes photos, tweets and questions from those following along last week.

6:30 p.m. - Arrival to WSP’s district office just off of the interstate near Geiger. Another media outlet is on the scene to also talk to Wanzenried about his new car.

The vehicle, one of the last Crown Victoria Police Interceptors off the manufacturing line, doesn’t have a “name”, but the trooper cherishes this vehicle as a tool to protect him during his job and serve as a mobile office. He was issued the vehicle in June and says he did not expect the amount of media attention he’s receiving.

The trooper poses with his new car. It doesn’t have that new car smell anymore, but a new car smell air freshener hangs just behind the front passenger seat.