A prolific car prowler's run has come to an end as Spokane Police have arrested a suspect on 65 felony charges for second degree theft, identity theft, money laundering, forgery and heroin possession.
Michael Asvestas, 25, told police he preferred breaking into cars in Spokane's medical district. The reason? He found if the parking lot had an attendant, that people were more likely to leave their valuables inside their car. Hospital visitors are also usually distracted by a loved one's medical problems and Asvestas took advantage of that as well.
In one case, armed with a stolen purse Asvestas made a bee-line to an area Wal-mart where records show he made five trips in and out of the store in less than a half hour racking up almost $1,000 in fraudulent charges.
"This is their job. This is what they do and this is how they victimize our citizens to perpetuate their drug habit," Spokane Police Lieutenant Steve Wohl said.
When Asvestas was arrested in a hotel room on the Sunset Hill recently, police found his drug of choice was heroin. Asvestas confessed he'd trade his Wal-mart purchases for Heroin, and his habit necessitated doing a break-in about three times a week, making about $1,000 a purse before the credit cards he'd grabbed were cancelled.
Car prowling here in Spokane reaches its peak in December, and Lt. Wohl recommends people be proactive to avoid become a theft victim.
"Don't leave anything of value in your car because you could have a guy or a gal happen upon it who may not know what's inside that bag, may hope it's valuable to perpetuate their drug habit and you are their next victim," Wohl said.
Spokane police are using crime statistics to direct their patrol officers to car prowling hot spots. That is why it's so important that you report if your car is broken into even if nothing is taken, so officers know where to look. But, ideally, you would never leave your purse or wallet in your car in the first place.
Asvestas, meanwhile was booked into jail on 35 counts of second degree theft, 17 counts of identity theft, 10 counts of money laundering, two counts of forgery and possession of heroin.