By Caleb Hutton
FERNDALE — A Custer man suspected of stealing $5,300 in truck tires was arrested after deputies surrounded his home, got a search warrant and found him hiding “in a cutout section of (a) sofa,” according to charges filed in Whatcom County Superior Court.
Prosecutors allege Dean Rutherfurd Fries, 45, took six commercial trailer tires and rims from a Ferndale building supply business early Jan. 18. Security footage showed a “very distinctive” pickup — later found at a scrapyard with a tire iron, pneumatic lug hammer and bottle jack in the bed — making two overnight trips to the business, according to the charges.
Three days after the theft, deputies went to Fries’ home on Arnie Road and set up a perimeter. The resident refused to come out, according to the charges. After getting a search warrant, Fries was found hiding in the sofa.
The stolen tires were hidden under a tarp behind Fries’ house, prosecutors alleged. And a rifle was found under another sofa.
“It’s not stolen, is it?” Fries asked, unsolicited, according to the charges. “The guy I bought it from said it wasn’t.”
Fries isn’t allowed to have guns because he has nine felony convictions, almost all of them for theft, possessing stolen property and drug crimes. In a separate case, he’s accused of stealing and pawning a woman’s gold ring worth $5,300. He allegedly got $45 for it at the pawn shop. Also missing from the burglary victim’s home: a front-loading Maytag dryer.
Fries is now charged with first-degree possession of stolen property and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.