SPOKANE -- A local business owner appeared in court Thursday for allegedly stealing a cabin.
Authorities said Joe Rasmussen, the owner of a pet store in North Spokane, moved the cabin off the property in Newport, Washington. The cabin’s owner discovered the home had disappeared when he flew in from Georgia for a hunting trip.
Private Investigator Erin Jenkins found the cabin for the alleged victim.
“I have never, ever had somebody call me and say somebody stole my cabin,” said Jenkins.
Jenkins said the cabin’s owner called him in 2012, hiring Jenkins to find the cabin after it disappeared. The owner said he had purchased 80 acres of land in Pend Oreille County, then bought and moved the log cabin onto it.
Jenkins then put ads on Craigslist and Facebook to try tracking the cabin down. His Senior Investigator, Kaleb Trinkle, flooded Newport and the surrounding area with fliers.
“Most people were just in awe,” said Trinkle. “[They] couldn't believe that a cabin was stolen.”
One week later, Jenkins got a phone call.
“This lady says, something to the effect of, my name is Nancy and I have your stolen cabin,” Jenkins recalled.
The woman reportedly told Jenkins she saw a for sale ad online and bought the cabin from Rasmussen. She also said Robert Whisman, the Mayor of Deer Park, helped her move the cabin using Whisman’s moving business.
Whisman said later he did not know the cabin was allegedly stolen.
Rasmussen said, however, he was the legitimate owner of the home, not Jenkins’ client. According to court documents, Rasmussen said the cabin was used in the sale of the property. Jenkins’ client gave him the cabin as a partial down payment several years ago, according to Rasmussen.
Meanwhile, Jenkins said his client is still allowing the woman who moved the cabin off the property to live in it.
Rasmussen was charged with trafficking in stolen property.