CDA Press: Despite False Details, Investigation Continues for an Unwelcome Hitchhiker


A 20-year-old Rathdrum man got a little ahead of himself late Sept. 2, when he told police that a male stranger was hiding in the backseat of his truck with a gun. This morning's Coeur d'Alene Press reports that the alleged victim told detectives the truth on Sept. 3: no gun was present.

“He said he just got overexcited when telling officers about the gun,” Post Falls Police Captain Greg McLean told the Press.

After the alleged victim reported the incident, law enforcement from Post Falls, Idaho State Police and the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office swarmed a Rathdrum Prairie location. McLean said 10 units went out looking for the suspect.

A K-9 unit went to Poleline Avenue east of Highway 41, where the alleged victim told police the suspect demanded to be dropped off. The dog picked up a short track, but it came back to the exact same spot. No one was found.

Police said the alleged victim was visiting in a friend in Post Falls Monday night. He left his Chevy Avalanche unlocked and, after he started driving home to Rathdrum around 9:45 p.m., he noticed a male sitting in the backseat. He estimated that the man was in his mid-20s, and wore a dark-hooded sweatshirt. He said he never saw the suspect’s face.

The alleged victim said the suspect told him to head north on Highway 41, then to turn east onto Poleline Avenue, and demanded to be dropped off a few blocks from Highway 41.

He told the driver not to follow him and headed into a wooded area, according to the victim, who then turned around on Poleline and called 911 at the nearby Express gas station. The victim had a cellphone, but McLean said he wanted to go to a place where there were people around and he could feel more comfortable.

The investigation continues.