Local News

Deputy finds three stolen cars in one night

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Spokane County deputies found three stolen cars Tuesday night, including a teenage girl's car that was reunited with her less than an hour after being stolen.

Around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, police got a report of a stolen car in Spokane Valley. A deputy spotted the car at Trent Avenue and Fancher Road a few minutes later. When the deputy tried pulling the driver over, the man took off. The deputy lost the car near Mission Avenue and Crestline Street.

The deputies found the car a few minutes later, crashed into a nearby garage and the driver was gone. Police used a K9 to track the man, eventually finding him on the 2300 block of East Marshall Avenue.

Deputy finds three stolen cars in one night

Spokane County Sheriff Sergeant Dave Ellis said the deputy who originally spotted the car, Deputy Jason Karnitz, found two other cars earlier Tuesday night.

"It has been a busy night," Ellis said.

The first two stolen cars were spotted thanks to the new automated license plate reader.

The system, which includes cameras atop his patrol car, scans license plates and if it finds a stolen car it alerts the deputy.

"So they're basically just driving around and (the automated license plate reader) will give an indication when the car next to them is a stolen vehicle," said Ellis.

Jamie Hanks' car, a 1994 Honda Prelude, was stolen from her driveway Tuesday night.

"I was sitting in my room and I heard my car start up and I wasn't sure if it was mine and just sat there," she said. "My dad came down and was wondering where my car was and I don't know, called the cops, went looking for it," she said.

In her case, Deputy Karnitz spotted her car so quickly that the plate didn't have time to make it into the system, and it was her car that Karnitz spotted just before midnight.

The suspect who was caught with Hanks' car, 21-year-old Artem Kuznetsov, was arrested and taken to the Spokane County Jail.

"I was surprised ... I was thinking maybe they wouldn't find it but they did, it's cool," Hanks said.

According to a recent report, Spokane is the fourth worst city in the country when it comes to vehicle thefts. On average, seven cars are stolen every day in Spokane.