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Cracking robberies top priority for Spokane Police

Cracking robberies top priority for Spokane Police

With eight robberies in the last month, cracking those cases and finding the suspects behind them are a top priority for the Spokane Police Department.

The robberies include multiple Subway restaurants, the Yoke's off Indian Trail, Mug Shots coffee stand on Garland and three robberies of Jitterz Hava, which has prompted their employees to start carrying guns.

"We have been working on this all week. It's a top priority for our department right now," Spokane Police Captain Brad Arleth said. "We are looking at the probability that many of these robberies are related."

Police say there are multiple reasons for that theory, including similar suspect descriptions, similar targets and similar methods of operation when the robbery subject comes in and confronts people.

The robbers have been described as tall men in their mid-20s and at almost every robbery displayed a handgun. Detectives say there are things businesses can be doing to better prepare themselves if they are targeted next.

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Volunteers needed for Bike Swap

Volunteers needed for Bike Swap

Just a few short weeks away from the 3rd Annual Spokane Bike Swap and Expo, and the event is in need of volunteers.

Volunteers are needed for all aspects of the weekend long event, April 12th & 13th. From setup, to event support, security, bike technicians and registrations teams are all needed to make sure the discounted bike event runs smooth.

Spokane residents asked to participate in Zags photo

Spokane residents asked to participate in Zags photo

The Zags may be playing their hearts out in San Diego, but the City of Spokane wants the team to know that we’re cheering them on as loud as we can from home.

On Friday, Spokane is asking all the loyal Zaga fans, and those just wanting to lend their support to the hometown team, to paint Spokane Gonzaga Red. The City wants you to sport your Gonzaga best and meet up at the Clocktower in Riverfront Park for special group photo at noon.

"Cars For Charities" parts out used cars for cash

"Cars For Charities" parts out used cars for cash

People can't always give cash to their favorite charities, but there are other ways to help, like the "Cars For Charity" program, which has been around since 1996 and has collected thousands of used cars to be parted out for cash.

Donating to your favorite charity has never been easier all you really need to do is call a telephone number, Pull and Save will come get your vehicle and they will donate the proceeds from parting it out to your favorite local charity. It is a great way to help out and do a little spring cleaning around your property.

"Call the number, 928-1900, very, very simple process to do," Carlos Orelanna with Pull and Save Auto Parts said.

Ken Daniel with the Spokane Guild School said these car donations go a long way.

"Every dollar counts for what we receive. All of us need those extra dollars. Every dollar goes so far," Daniel said.

And the process couldn't be easier.

"It takes about five to ten tops as far as doing the paperwork, it's very, very simple we have free towing," Orelanna said.

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New home construction continuing to rise across Spokane County

New home construction continuing to rise across Spokane County

Building permits in Spokane County are on the rise again after taking a big hit early in the recession, another sign the regional economy is slowly improving.

According to the Spokane Homebuilders Association, the area hit a low point in 2011 with only 664 permits issued for new home construction. That number climbed to 874 in 2012 and topped 1,100 last year.

From Kendall Yards to Liberty Lake, things seem to be looking up for Spokane County.

"Over the last couple of years there's been a really exciting time for this market let alone River District," Jeremy Nichols with Greenstone Corporation said.

Nichols handles River District developments in Liberty Lake and has experienced the housing market rollercoaster firsthand.

"Statistically over the last couple of years we have tripled our sales in the last two years. In 2011 we sold 17 homes, 2013 we handed off 48 keys to homeowners," he said.

This year alone they are going to build another 35 homes in the River District and hundreds more between Spokane and Kootenai County.

"We just plotted 225 more lots heading north towards the river," Nichols said.

Fans descend on Spokane for NCAA tourney

Fans descend on Spokane for NCAA tourney

The NCAA tournament kicks off Thursday and the teams were down at the Spokane Arena Wednesday getting in some practice time on the hardwood to prepare for the Big Dance.

As you're out around Spokane this week you'll notice a lot of green, but not for St. Patrick's Day. It's for Michigan State, whose fans have flocked to Spokane to watch their team.

Whether you're a fan of Gonzaga, WSU or Idaho, seeing Spartan green is usually an unwelcome sight, but this week the Lilac City welcomed the team and their fans, like Don Tierney, Michigan State '68, who flew in from Ohio because he never missed a chance to see his Spartans in action.

"I've been here four times, three times for basketball. I know all the good places to eat. Frank's Diner, Anthony's and Hudson's," Tierney said.

You might say Tierney knows about as much as the locals do on places as Kasen, Kade and Kole know about Oklahoma basketball. They were born in Oklahoma and while their family is stationed now at Fairchild Air Force Base, their hearts are in Sooner country.

"I was excited because I knew it was going to be a once in a lifetime chance for us," Kade said.

Support growing for gun toting baristas

Droves of people flocked to Jitterz Java for a cup of Joe Wednesday in support of gun toting baristas, the coffee stand's plan to scare off robbers attracting quite the crowd.

Not everyone who stopped by Jitterz Java Wednesday were wanting to get a caffeinated pick me up. Some people stopped by to show their support for the coffee stand's decision to arm their baristas.

Fed up with recent robberies, baristas like Krystal Cogswell are stirring up coffee with a gun attached to their hip. It's quickly become the talk of the town and is even showing up on TV stations as far away as Rhode Island.

In just a few days, Cogswell has been thrust into the spotlight. A picture of Cogswell working in the stand with a .38 Special on her hip has received nearly 4,000 likes on Facebook and hundreds have shared her story.

"I had a few people specially come just to say 'Hey congrats on carrying your weapon on you and being prepared,' some literally just came to support us and that's it," she said.

Cogswell says a few people have even dropped off their business cards and brought their guns too. She said reaction has been mostly positive.