K9 Gunnar tracks down Spokane Valley theft suspect

K9 GunnarSaturday night several Spokane deputies responded to a theft call where the suspect took off after she fought, bit, and threatened store employees. Ladarion M. Roberts was eventually tracked down and charged with three felonies.

It happened just before 8 pm.  Spokane Valley deputies responded to the ShopKo, located at 13414 E. Sprague, for a reported theft.

Loss prevention employees said a woman, later identified as Roberts, entered the store, picked up several items, including a prepaid cell phone and several makeup items, as she walked around. Roberts went into a dressing room with all the items, but when she came out, she didn't have the phone or makeup. The employee checked the dressing room for the items, but didn't find them. She attempted to pay for other items, but her credit card was declined and she left the store.

Loss prevention employees followed Roberts outside, identified themselves, and attempted to take her back to the loss prevention office in the store. Deputies say Roberts refused and became combative, pushing, hitting, kicking and even biting one of the employees. She also threatened to mace them and yelled she had a gun during the encounter, then she ran off on foot.

After viewing store security video, Deputy Wang recognized Roberts and confirmed her identity by matching video with a previous booking photo. The deputy provided Roberts' description via radio to patrol cars in the area.

A short time later, Deputy Wilson spotted a purse hanging on a fence which matched the description of the one Roberts was carrying when she ran from the store.

Deputy Hunt and K9 Gunnar arrived and began tracking Roberts in the area where the purse was found. Fresh footprints in the snow were observed as Gunnar led the deputies to an unsecured back door of a house on McCabe, just north of Sprague. K9 warnings were given with a response.

As deputies worked to obtain a search warrant, a resident of the home was contacted. The resident said he did not know Roberts, and he did not give her permission to enter his house, but gave deputies permission to enter and search for her.

K9 Gunnar was deployed on a lead in the house. He located a black coat and new makeup lying on the floor before leading deputies to a closet. Additional K9 warnings were given and went unanswered. The closet door was opened and K9 Gunnar went in. He made contact with Roberts who was hiding under a pile of blankets and other items. Roberts initially failed to comply with deputies' demands, but soon surrendered and was taken into custody without further incident.

Roberts was provided medical attention before being transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Robbery 1st Degree, Burglary 1st Degree and Resisting Arrest.  An additional charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance-Methamphetamine was added after a white crystalline substance was located inside Roberts’ purse, which tested and showed a presumptive positive result for meth.

(story: Matt Pusatory, KHQ Local News Web Producer, KHQ.com; photo: Spokane County Sheriff's Office)

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