PRESS RELEASE FROM THE SPOKANE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: On Monday, September 24, 2012, Spokane Valley Sheriff's Deputy T. Jones responded to J.C. Penney's in the Spokane Valley Mall on a trouble unknown call. When Deputy Jones arrived on scene Loss Prevention Officers said they had a shoplifter in custody that had assaulted one of their officers.
Deputy Jones spoke with the officer who said he observed the suspect, identified as 36-year-old Brian Mitts, walking around the second floor men's department acting suspicious. The officer watched as Mitts selected several clothing items, then walked down to the first floor junior section. The officer watched Mitts enter a dressing room with the clothing items, then exit empty-handed. The officer checked the changing room only to find hangers.
The officer followed Mitts into the parking lot, identified himself as a J.C. Penney's Loss Prevention Officer and asked him to come back into the store to discuss the unpaid items he had stolen. Mitts ran away from the officer only to be subdued a short distance later.
While attempting to place handcuffs on Mitts he bit the officer on the right forearm partially through the skin. Mitts told Deputy Jones he bit the officer because he was "defending" himself.
Mitts was transported to the Spokane County Jail where he was booked on the charges of 1st Degree Robbery, two misdemeanor warrants and one felony warrant for Dangerous Drugs. During the booking process Deputy Jones collected seven articles of clothing with price tags still attached totaling $295.00. The items were returned to J.C. Penney's.