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Stolen SUV Crashes Into Store |

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Stolen SUV Crashes Into Store
Stolen SUV Crashes Into Store

A suspected car thief gave one Spokane business owner a sleepless night Thursday after he crashed a stolen SUV into Empire Office Furniture.

Spokane police say Craig Beal, 30, was driving a stolen SUV on Sinto Avenue at about 10:30 p.m., when he blew through the stop sign a Monroe Street.

A northbound car hit the stolen SUV, spinning it 180-degrees in front of Empire Office Furniture. Investigators say Beal hit the gas and smashed right into the front of the business.

"The boss called me and said 'I don't know what to do someone just hit the building,'" said Ty Carey of Empire Office Furniture.

A short time later Carey arrived at the store and found police lights flashing and a white Dodge Durango in the front of the store.

"Just a mess of glass. The vehicle's hood was open," said Carey. "There was a mess."

The crash smashed four large plate glass windows, sending razor sharp shards raining down on the furniture inside.

"We have a bariatric chair that sells for $800," said Carey. "One of the shards stuck right in the seat so now we can't sell it as a new piece."

Nearly a dozen pieces of commercial furniture were damaged and now can't be sold as new items.

"A bigger expense will be fixing that wall," said Carey, referring to the short wood wall beneath the windows that were destroyed.

Carey says the crash could have been a lot worse.  Part of the building's structure is a steel pole right in the front.

"If it wasn't for that pole we'd have a nice little Durango in here for a showroom piece," said Carey.

Police say Beal has a 13 year criminal history that includes arrests for Identity Theft, Possession of Stolen Property, and Burglary. He's been booked into jail for Possession of Stolen Motor Vehicle, Attempt to Elude, 1st Degree Malicious Mischief, DUI-Drugs, Hit and Run, and Driving While License Suspended.

"It's sad that we have a situation where we have someone with a history of criminal activity and punishment or rehabilitation hasn't taken," said Carey.

Carey boarded up the front windows last night and started the cleanup process one police finished at about 1 a.m.

"We had it all cleaned up by about three," said Carey. "I sat here all night to make sure no one pillaged the place."

With rain in the forecast Carey has another problem with the damaged wall.

"Waiting for the insurance so it can be closed up so we don't have a flooded showroom as well."

Although he had a long night, Carey is taking it in stride.

"It was a fluke accident," said Carey. "I hope the gal who hit the guy is okay."

Spokane County Businesses