Local News

Burglar messes with the wrong Marine

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - A burglary suspect had the opportunity to visit a local hospital after meeting a Marine whose parents' home he attempted to burglarize Friday.

Friday morning, deputies were dispatched to the 12400 block of East Desmet Road where a homeowner had called 911 to report she had come home with her husband, son and daughter-in-law to find their animals outside and a screen door open.

The homeowner's son, Marine Corporal Alex Pohle, a 22-year-old infantryman home on leave from Afghanistan, went inside the home to investigate.

Burglar v Marine

"I told my wife to stay in the car, as I was walking through the house, I think he heard me saying that to my wife and he was trying to hide in the bathroom," Cpl. Pohle said.

A few minutes later, when deputies arrived, they heard yelling coming from inside the home and went in to find Pohle and his father had detained Christopher Schwanke.

Pohle later told deputies that he had gone inside his parents' home and found Schwanke, 43, in his mom and dad's bedroom.

"You broke into my house, I'm not letting you go," Pohle recalled telling the burglar about to have a bad day.

Pohle said that he found Schwanke red-handed with a bag full of his family's jewelry and hunting gear. Schwanke tried to shut the door on him, which wasn't an intelligent choice, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

"And then he shut the door and I ran back and opened up the door, I wrestled with him a little bit and he got out and as he was running, I tackled him, and I threw him to the ground and, uhh, we wrestled there for a little bit and I subdued him," Pohle said.

In the official report from the Spokane County Sheriff's Office, Pohle was said to have "escorted Schwanke to the ground."

Pohle then waited with Schwanke for deputies to arrive, about five minutes Pohle recalled, which was enough time for Schwanke to plead his case.

"Let me go, stop, just the typical, I'm not doing anything, but he broke into the house," Pohle said.

Having just finished a seven-month combat tour in Afghanistan, Pohle said that his training just kicked in the second he saw the threat in his family's home.

"When I took him to the ground, it kinda kicked in … to put him in a headlock and blood choke and I put my knee on his head, everything kicked in," he said.

Schwanke, a prolific criminal with nearly three decades of criminal history in Spokane County, according to authorities, was taken into custody and transported to a local hospital for medical treatment. He was then booked into the Spokane County Jail for residential burglary.