Vehicle Prowling in the Medical Lake Area


Vehicle Prowling in the Medical Lake Area

Recently, we have received reports of vehicle prowling in and around the City of Medical Lake.  We are asking citizens to report suspicious activity and ensure their vehicles are locked after all valuables have been removed.   

Almost all of the reported thefts in the last few weeks occurred on vehicles that were unlocked.  A couple of victims stated they believed their car was locked, but no sign of forced entry or manipulation of the locks was observed.  

Though most of the thefts were of spare change, clothes or paperwork, there have been two reported stolen pistols, knives, and some electronics. 

Two vehicle prowlings occurred at the Silver Lake Boat Launch in late November.  During these thefts, windows of the vehicles were broken to gain entry.   

Also, in late November, two possible descriptions of a suspect were given as a white male, 20s, wearing a dark hoodie.  Additional, more specific descriptors given showed the suspect as possibly 5’07”, average build, brown hair, wearing jeans, and carting a backpack.  

On December 3, 2019, Deputies arrested 27-year-old Joseph B. Thornton after the potential victim caught Thornton inside his vehicle.  Thornton tried to flee but was detained until Deputies arrived.  Thornton was booked into the Spokane County Jail for Vehicle Trespassing 2nd Degree, and two unrelated misdemeanor warrants for the same charge.  He was released on his own recognizance within hours.

Please remember:

  • Lock your cars and remove items of value.  If you must keep items in your vehicle, keep them out of sight, and if possible secure them in a locked trunk. 
  • Don’t leave your vehicle running unattended while it warms up. Cold hands are far better to deal with than what you will go through if your car is stolen, especially if personal information or valuables are left inside.

ALWAYS, report suspicious activity to Crime Check at 509-456-2233 or 911 if you observe a crime in progress.


Corporal Mark Gregory

Spokane County Sheriff’s Office

Spokane Valley Police Department
Public Information Officer

Leave Your Comment Below


  1. As being a former president of the SCOPE office in Medical Lake some years ago it was blatantly apparent at that time the west plains were grossly undermanned and dismissed as needing any additional commitment from the sheriffs department. In the years since the need, in my opinion, is ten fold as the population and traffic has grown without adequate county infrastructure support. I doubt my opinion will matter anymore now as it didn’t then. My solution is to sell and leave the area after 34 years in our home.

  2. We live in Medical Lake. First and foremost, our Sheriff’s department is commendable!! We lock our vehicles every evening, however, it seems that these prowlers are getting more active. Therefore, we are setting up security camera’s .. at least, if they come on our property, we will have pictures to help law enforcement. Not sure what else we can do. Any ideas would be appreciated!!


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