Armed Homeowner Catches Armed Burglar in the Act
Spokane Valley Deputies, with the assistance of K9 Bane, located a burglary suspect who fled after being confronted by the homeowner, armed with a handgun. The suspect initially pulled out a knife and began to approach the homeowner who fired into the air. The suspect threw the knife down and ran away.
On July 29, 2019, at approximately 5:15 a.m., Spokane Valley Deputies responded to a reported burglary at a residence in the 400 block of N. Locust in Spokane Valley.
The adult male victim stated he walked out his door to go to work and noticed his garage door was open. He also noticed an unfamiliar black mountain bike leaning against the outside of his garage. Suspicious, he reentered his home to retrieve a .22 caliber firearm.
The victim went back outside to his driveway where he observed a white male, later identified as 40-year-old John R. Cravens, inside his garage. Cravens, dressed in a black long-sleeve shirt, black spandex with long brown hair in a ponytail, had opened the victim’s driver’s side door of his vehicle and was leaning inside.
The victim yelled at Cravens, who was approximately 10 to 15 feet away. Cravens threw the victim’s truck keys at him and said, I’m just cold and hungry man. I’m sorry.” The victim, pointing the handgun at Cravens, told Cravens to get out of his garage. Cravens walked toward the victim and stood at the garage door, approximately 3 to 5 feet from the victim.
The victim yelled at his roommate to call 9-1-1, and Cravens said, “I’m not going with them.”, as he pulled a folding knife from his pocket and opened it. Even though the victim was still pointing his pistol at Cravens, Cravens pointed the open knife and said, “You’re not taking me.” Cravens took steps toward the victim as he moved the knife back and forth in a stabbing like motion.
The victim, fearing he was about to be attacked/stabbed by Cravens, fired two rounds into the air. Cravens threw the knife on the ground and ran from the garage.
Responding Deputies set up a perimeter while Deputy Clay Hilton and his partner K9 Bane responded to the location. With probable cause to arrest Cravens for two felonies, burglary and assault, and not knowing if Craven was armed, Deputy Hilton deployed K9 Bane to assist in the search.
Perimeter units gave multiple announcements advising Cravens to surrender and that a K9 would be used to find him but Cravens did not respond. K9 Bane tracked north into the 500 block of N. Locust where he led Deputies toward the rear of the residence and a large clump of bushes. Seeing K9 Bane’s change in behavior, Deputy Hilton gave more announcements that went unanswered. In the back yard, K9 Bane tracked toward two vehicles as additional announcements were made. Without a reply, K9 Bane continued his search through some bushes, to the rear of a vehicle, where he located Cravens who was attempting to hide and made contact. Soon after, Cravens was safely detained in handcuffs by Sergeant Buell.
The victim positively identified Cravens as the male who pulled a knife after he was confronted inside the victim’s garage.
Cravens was provided medical treatment at the scene prior to being transported to the hospital where he was medically cleared.
Cravens claimed he didn’t hear the K9 announcement and that he was just sleeping. He said he was homeless and had been sleeping under the vehicle, where K9 Bane found him, all night.
Cravens, who has a lengthy history of law enforcement contacts and arrests dating back over the last 18 years, was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Burglary 1st Degree and Assault 2nd Degree.
Thankfully, no citizens or the victim were injured as a result of this incident. The victim was not charged with a crime and was well within his rights to arm and protect himself; however, we strongly discourage anyone from firing a weapon into the air. This is extremely dangerous, and anyone firing a weapon is ultimately responsible for that bullet and any damage or injury it may cause when it falls back to the ground.
Corporal Mark Gregory
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office
Spokane Valley Police Department
Public Information Officer