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Stage 2 burn ban in effect

The Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency issued a Stage 2 burn restriction in Spokane Sunday afternoon.

According to the agency "cold and calm weather patterns and wood heating have resulted in a build-up of harmful smoke particles, prompting a restriction on indoor and outdoor burning."

The Stage 2 burn ban restricts the use of any wood stove, pellet stove, fireplace insert or fireplace in the Smoke Control Zone, and all outdoor burning countywide, until conditions improve.

If wood is your sole heat source, you're asked to call Spokane Clean Air at (509) 477-4727 for an exemption.

You can check current conditions by calling the Burning Information Hotline at 477-4710.

Local businesses prep for Small Business Saturday

Local businesses are trying to get a jump start on their competition as holiday shopping starts this week. They're also hoping you'll shop local over the next month.

"This is a family operated business, with my wife, myself, and my daughter," Mike Conway said.

Conway has been the owner and winemaker of Latah Creek Winery for 31 years. He was proud of the local support during their Holiday Winefest this past weekend, especially after liquor superstore Total Wine opened just down the road.

"We were (at Total Wine) Friday night pouring for them and found a lot of our customers up there, but they come back here and buy which is what I appreciate," he said.

Even with the store's opening, Latah Creek made more money Saturday than any other Saturday in three years.

"I anticipate that we may see more traffic here because of it. Just people passing by, see that we're here, and we'll certainly promote the fact that this is an actual winery," Conway said.

Conway gave thanks to loyal customers like the Leiningers, who pride themselves on buying local.

Valley Police evacuate movie theater to search for arcade robber

Movie fans at the Spokane Valley Mall were evacuated from their theaters Friday night after a man armed with a rifle or shotgun robbed a video arcade next door.

Anybody who is willing to do a small change robbery at a video arcade may also be desperate enough to hide out from responding police in the darkness of a theater, and so the decision was made to turn off the films and turn up the lights.

?When someone is willing to take those steps to go into a business with a long gun, we're unsure if it was a rifle or a shotgun, and actually point it at an employee, rob them and then leave the premises, obviously that's an extremely dangerous person,? said Deputy Craig Chamberlin with Spokane Valley Police Department.

Deputies worried that if that person didn't want to be spotted running to his getaway car, he may have slipped into the Regal Cinemas next door and waited for things to cool off.

?We wanted to make sure the folks in the movie theater were safe. We evacuated it, looked for our suspect and fortunately were not able to find him,? Deputy Chamberlin said.

Police searching for armed robber at Spokane Valley Mall, hundreds evacuated

Police officers swarmed the Spokane Valley Mall Friday night after reports of an armed robbery inside a mall arcade.

The suspect is described as a white male in his late 20's or early 30's, heavy set and wearing a black beanie and black hooded sweatshirt with a white bandana covering his face. He was carrying a long-barreled gun similar to a rifle or shotgun.

After the robbery the suspect fled the scene. Police set up a perimeter and shut down and evacuated hundreds of movie-goers from the theater next door as a precaution but did not find him inside.

A search of the mall is underway.

We will continue to update this story as new details develop.

Thieves fishing rent payments from Valley apartment complexes

Spokane County Sheriff's deputies are searching for a group of thieves who have been stealing rent payments from apartment complex drop boxes in Spokane Valley.

At the Eagle Pointe Apartments, located in the 2700 block of N. Bowdish Road in Spokane Valley, tenants use a drop box to get their rent into the manager's office. Unfortunately thieves have figured out a way to fish those payments back out.

Managers at the Eagle Pointe apartment complex unlocked the lockbox to collect rent payments for September and found a sticky mess inside.

"I had reached in there and had about seven or eight different checks all stuck together with something a little gooey," Riley Ludwig with Eagle Pointe Apartments said.

With something similar to glue, someone had spent several nights fishing checks and money orders out of 18 different apartment complex drop boxes.

"Obviously a huge investigation; multiple victims and more than likely there are a slough of different suspect involved in this," Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Chamberlin said.

Heroin addict broke into Valley home as elderly couple slept upstairs

Imagine being sound asleep as someone ransacked your home. That's what happened to a Spokane Valley couple when their home was burglarized by an admitted heroin addict.

While the thief got lucky he ultimately didn't get away with it.

On Wednesday morning, everything seemed normal for Donald and Sibylle. He got out of bed to make coffee.

"I noticed that our coats were on the kitchen floor," Donald said.

Strange, he thought. And then noticed change on the kitchen floor and somehow the dog got in.

"I went out to the garage and the main rollup door was open," Donald said.

Donald then asked his wife, who was still in bed, where her car was.

"I said 'Where is your car?' and she said 'It's in the garage.' I said 'No it's not.'"

That's when he called 911 and by that time it was clear they'd been burglarized.

"And the whole time we were sound asleep in bed," Donald said.

Just 33 hours later, police caught the suspect, a 26-year-old admitted heroin addict who told detectives he remembered looking in on the sleeping couple as he stole their money, their laptops and finally their car.

West Valley investigating possible luring incident

The West Valley School District has informed parents about a potential luring incident that happened Thursday evening in the Frasier Estates area.

According to the district, the incident involved a white male driving a small, dirty red sedan. No additional information about the suspect's description is available.

While the incident happened Thursday, it was not reported until Friday. Once the district found out they contacted district security officers and sent a voice mail to parents notifying them of the incident.

Parents and children alike were reminded that if they observe a situation like this to call 911 immediately.