Suspect Arrested after Stealing a Vehicle Left Running Unattended
Spokane Valley Deputies located a vehicle that was left running unattended at a residence and just reported as stolen near Trent and Pines. The suspect attempted to flee until he lost control and spun near Mission and Greene. He backed into a patrol car as he continued his attempt to flee and resisted arrest.
Early this morning, just after 4:00 a.m., a victim reported her vehicle, which was left unlocked and running with the keys in the ignition, was just stolen from the area of Longfellow and Ellen in Spokane Valley.
Spokane Valley Deputies attempting to locate the stolen vehicle flooded the area. Within minutes, the vehicle was located eastbound on Trent near Pines. The suspect, later identified as 22-year-old Justin M. Sande, fled at a high rate of speed when a traffic stop was attempted.
With little or no pedestrian or vehicle traffic on the roadway, deputies continued to pursue Sande while a Washington State Patrol Trooper placed spike strips at Bessie and Trent in an attempt to safely end the pursuit. Sande avoided the spike strips as he continued west on Trent reaching speeds of up to 80 mph.
On Mission approaching Greene, Sande turned into the Spokane Community College parking lot and cut across to Greene Street again. He turned onto south in the northbound lanes of travel on Greene at a high rate of speed, barely missing a patrol car with its emergency lights on. When he reached the intersection at Mission and Greene, Sande tried to turn at high speed and began to lose control as the SUV appeared to almost roll.
Sande accelerated heavily, spinning the tires, clearly intending to continue his attempted escape. Understanding the risk to the public and everyone on the roadway if Sande continued, Deputy Michael Keys moved his patrol car into position to spin the SUV and stop the pursuit. Sande overcorrected as he tried to maintain control and stuck a power pole. Assisting deputies blocked Sande’s forward escape route with Deputy Keys’ vehicle positioned toward the rear. Sande placed the vehicle in reverse and backed into Deputy Keys’ driver’s door blocking his ability to exit his patrol car.
Assisting deputies moved into position and gave commands with their weapons drawn. Deputy Keys quickly exited his patrol car through the passenger’s side, fearing Sande may attempt to ram a deputy forcing them to fire toward the direction of his vehicle. Sande continued to be defiant, did not follow commands and began to exit the vehicle. Deputies quickly grabbed him and took him to the ground. Sande resisted arrest but deputies gained control and placed him in handcuffs.
After being advised of his rights, Sande explained he was walking down the street, saw the car running, so he jumped in and drove away. When asked why, he said “Just for the hell of it.”
A credit card belonging to a victim of a stolen vehicle reported the morning before (10/26/17) in the same area was found in Sande’s backpack. Sande denied knowing about the stolen vehicle but said he was given the credit card by an unnamed friend.
Deputies also learned Sande had an active felony warrant for his arrest for Theft of a Firearm and Vehicle Prowling 2nd Degree.
Sande was transported to the Spokane County Jail to be booked. At the jail, Detention Staff located a baggie containing a crystalline substance which was later field tested and showed a presumptive positive result for Methamphetamine. Sande was booked for Theft of a Motor Vehicle, Attempting to Elude a Police Vehicle, Assault 2nd Degree, Possession of a Controlled Substance-Methamphetamine, Resisting Arrest and his warrant.
Thankfully, no members of our community, law enforcement, or the suspect, were injured during this incident. We appreciate the assistance we received for our local law enforcement partners (Washington State Patrol-Spokane Police Department) as we worked together to apprehend this wanted suspect and keep our community safe.
We would also like to remind everyone, please do not leave your vehicle running unattended. As the weather gets colder, people are tempted, but it’s not worth it. Criminals are out there just looking for an opportunity to steal their next ride.