Three people arrested after allegedly stealing thousands, stashing items on nearby land

Three people were arrested Thursday after they allegedly stole thousands of dollars worth of property and then stashed it on nearby land, according to a press release from the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.

Joshua Curtis Stroud, 38, Danny Allen Stroud, 39, both of Blaine, and Michelle Lyn Spaulding, 37, were each arrested on suspicion of first-degree burglary, first-degree theft and theft of a firearm, according to Whatcom County Jail records.

On Sept. 16 around 5:30 p.m., deputies were called to the 3600 block of Birch Terrace Driver in Custer for the report of an interrupted burglary. When the homeowner came home from work, he found an unidentified woman sitting on his front porch. When he asked her what she was doing, she allegedly said she was “waiting for a friend” and walked away carrying a distinctive duffel bag, according to the press release.

When the man went inside his home, he found it had been ransacked and numerous items — including four firearms, ammunition, tools, boat and fishing equipment, TV/stereo equipment and clothing — had been stolen, the release states.

Deputies spoke to two men, later identified as Joshua Stroud and Danny Stroud, who were sitting in a nearby vehicle. The men allegedly told the deputy they were “visiting a ‘friend’ in the area to buy some wheels,” according to the release.

An investigation revealed that the main residence, a garage and a shed had been broken into. Some of the missing property that had been stolen was found behind the shed, near the front porch and in nearby woods, the release states. A police dog was called in to help search for the woman who had been on the homeowner’s porch. During the search, all of the stolen property was recovered, the release states.

A duffel bag matching the description of the one the woman was carrying was also found. Documents and papers containing the names Michelle Stroud and Joshua Stroud were found inside the bag. A tool with the name “Stroud” on it was also found in the homeowner’s residence, the release states.

The woman was found and later identified as Michelle Spaulding, also known as Michelle Stroud. The homeowner positively identified her as the woman on his front porch, according to the release.

Spaulding and Joshua Stroud are married, according to the release.

All three people were arrested Sept. 24 in Birch Bay.

Reporter Denver Pratt joined The Bellingham Herald in 2017 and covers courts and criminal and social justice. She has worked in Montana, Florida and Virginia.