Waves Hair Studio ac theft

Spokane Police will tell you, regardless of how minor you think it might be, to report crime when you see it or when you become a victim. It gives the police department a way to track crime trends around the city and respond accordingly. 

In the case of one business owner in west central Spokane, someone reporting a crime helped Spokane Police catch a thief in the act. 

Outside of Waves Hair Studio on W. Gardner sits an air conditioning unit that has been through a lot lately. 

"About two months ago, we had someone come and try to puncture it," Co-owner Rachel Paulson said. 

This past week, there was another unwanted visitor. A neighbor of Paulson's noticed a guy messing around with the AC unit at 11:00 and night and figured he wasn't supposed to be there and called it in. 

"Common sense says that's not something that should be going on," Cpl. Gene Baldwin, who responded to the call said. "It just happened that I was close by and able to get over here before the suspect left." 

Cpl. Baldwin said the suspect was someone who the police department is familiar with and has a lengthy criminal history. 

The damage he caused to the AC unit while trying to steal it will potentially cost roughly $10,000, according to Paulson after replacing and relocating it to another less visible area. 

"Small business, especially right now in this economy is a struggle, so having another financial burden is not something easy to handle right now," Paulson said. 

It's no secret that property crime is a chronic problem in Spokane, however, the latest CompStat report from the Spokane Police Department shows that overall, compared to last year, property crime is actually down almost 17 percent city-wide and nearly 15 percent in Paulson's area of west central Spokane. 

Still, Cpl. Baldwin knows for people who work hard for their property, becoming a property crime victim can be defeating. 

"It still makes it frustrating when it happens to you," Cpl. Baldwin added. 

Catching a thief in the act is rare, according to Cpl. Baldwin, but in examples like Paulson's, it was neighbors looking out for neighbors that helped solve this particular case and could help prevent crime in your neighborhood, too. 

"It's always the best deterrent for any neighborhood," Baldwin said. "I like to old adage 'See something, say something.' If it's not right, call Crime Check or 911 depending on the emergency and get it reported so we can do something about it."

For Paulson, she's grateful to the Spokane Police Department and happy that a neighbor was looking out for her. 

"Obviously for everybody it's not always the case, but for me, I have had a very positive experience," Paulson said. "I'm very grateful they caught him." 

With the criminal history and based on the system in place, Baldwin said the suspect will likely be back on the street sooner than later. Paulson said will be going to his court date and hopes to speak with him, saying she doesn't want to see him go to jail, because it obviously hasn't worked in the past. Instead, she says she would like to find a way to help him help himself, possibly by working off restitution. It's unknown if that will be considered. 

In the meantime, Spokane Police continue to say if you see something, say something.