Air 2 Video: Suspected Burglar’s Attempt to Flee in a Stolen Kayak and Avoid Capture, Unsuccessful
Spokane County Deputies, K9 Unit and Air 2 worked together to locate and capture a suspected burglar yesterday morning in the Newman Lake area. The suspect ran on foot, stole a kayak, and attempted to hide in a marshy area on the east side of the lake. Air 2 Flight Crews pinpointed his position guiding Deputies to his location.
On September 10, 2019, at approximately 7:25 a.m., Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a call of a reported garage burglary in the 2300 block of E. Bearz Lane in Newman Lake. Reportedly, an unknown male suspect entered a garage.
Arriving Deputies learned a neighbor went to the garage and called the suspect, later identified as 35-year-old Robert S. Rehfeldt out. The neighbor stated Rehfeldt appeared to be “out of it” as if he was high on some drug. Rehfeldt told the man “Don’t call the cops” and something similar to “men are coming to kill him”. Rehfeldt asked which way Hauser was (to the east) before running barefoot to the north into thick brush.
Deputies searched the area but were unable to locate Rehfeldt.
At approximately 9:25 a.m., Deputies responded to the same area regarding a suspicious male matching Rehfeldt’s description. Witnesses reported Rehfeldt appeared to be attempting to break into homes before running into the brush when he was spotted. As Deputies responded back to the area, the witnesses reported Rehfeldt stole a red kayak and was paddling toward the east shore of the lake.
Deputies observed Rehfeldt in the kayak attempting to cross the lake. Rehfeldt eventually jumped into the water and out of sight. He was later observed climbing onto the shore, which is swampy with high grass, tall reeds, and grass.
Deputies set up a perimeter, and Spokane Regional Air Support Unit Air 2 Flight Crews responded to assist.
Air 2 quickly located Rehfeldt as he attempted to run and hide in a clump of trees. Due to the wet and marshy terrain, Deputies, including Deputy Phil Pfeifer and his K9 partner Apache, made their way toward Rehfeldt at a slow and methodical pace.
Not knowing if Rehfeldt was armed, Deputies gave multiple K9 announcements advising him a K9 would be used to find him and if he did not comply, follow commands and peacefully surrender, the K9 may bite him. Rehfeldt chose to ignore these warnings and failed to follow commands.
Not knowing is Rehfeldt was armed in addition to his failure to surrender and follow commands, Deputies cautiously made their way through the thick, waist-high or taller underbrush toward Rehfeldt’s location. When they neared the stand of trees, Deputy Pfeifer gave another K9 warning. This time, Rehfeldt announced himself and emerged from the brush with his hands up. With the tall brush obstructing their view, Deputies on the ground could not obtain a clear and full view of Rehfeldt. Air 2 crews advised they could see Rehfeldt digging around in the grass under the trees and for Deputies to approach with caution since they were unable to tell what he was doing.
Rehfeldt moved out of the trees and laid face down on the ground in the tall weeds. Two Deputies approached and attempted to place Rehfeldt in handcuffs, but he began to struggle and resist. He tried to pull his arms away and roll side to side in an apparent attempt to roll over. With Rehfeldt unsearched and not knowing if he was attempting to access a weapon or assault the Deputies, a Taser was deployed, but it was not effective. Rehfeldt continued to resist, a second attempt with the Taser was again ineffective as Deputy Pfeifer moved closer with K9 Apache.
With Rehfeldt continuing to resist arrest and actively fighting to break free from the grasp of the Deputies, Deputy Pfeifer deployed K9 Apache to help subdue Rehfeldt and safely end the struggle. K9 Apache made contact with Rehfeldt’s leg which caused him to stop resisting, and he was placed in handcuffs without further incident.
Deputies walked Rehfeldt out of the remote area, and he was provided medical attention.
Rehfeldt was advised of his rights and declined to make any statements. A witness at the scene positively identified Rehfeldt as the male who unlawfully entered the garage and stole the kayak.
Rehfeldt was transported to the jail where his identity was positively confirmed. He was booked for Burglary 2nd Degree, Theft 3rd Degree, and Resisting Arrest.