SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - A local businessman is out thousands of dollars after he recently bought a vacant Spokane Valley building only to have it stripped of everything of value by thieves.
Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Chamberlin said the Ching Hua building, located on the 18000 block of East Appleway, was stripped of everything holding any value.
"Evidently some person or people decided to move in and squat inside the building. Not only that they basically gutted everything of anytime of recyclable value to the tune of about $100,000," Chamberlin said.
Deputies say thieves stole all the copper plumbing, wiring and stainless steel appliances.
"The victim hadn't been there in about two weeks and when he was there two weeks prior it was in the same order as it was when he purchased it," said Chamberlin.
Kellie Yount works next door to the building, and said she suspected people were inside but wrote it off as the air conditioning. However, she said people who are not the owners, frequent the fenced area behind the building.
"We kind of wondered what's going on because there is a fence area back there and you can see the fence is broken and there's stuff underneath the fence. We walked in there to see what's going on there's like stolen bikes, food, clothes," said Yount.
Yount said what is in the back area one day, won't be there the next. As for all of the stolen property inside the building she has never seen any of it removed.
"Speaking with the business owner this morning he's upset. I'm not sure what his plans were with this building, but I can certainly tell you this wasn't it," Chamberlin said.
Yount believed it all happened at night when all the businesses are closed. She said the back alley is not well patrolled and people could get away with a lot.
"There's probably a lot of activity going on back there at night. I don't want to be back there at night," said Yount.
Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward for anyone who knows any information that will lead deputies to making an arrest. They ask you call their tip line with any information at 1-800-222-TIPS. You do not have to give your name to collect the reward.