Wednesday night KLEW News called him "the Grinch whole stole Christmas" for one local woman. Jami Johnson had left her wallet on the counter at the Zip Trip convenience store in Clarkston early Tuesday morning. Surveillance video showed a man picking the wallet up and walking out of the store with it.
Thursday, police found and arrested that Grinch. How did they find him so fast? Police say editors at the Lewiston Tribune coincidentally put the freeze frame of surveillance video just below a picture of a man painting a window. The man painting had a similar build, similar hair, glasses, and what looked like identical clothes... And with his name conveniently between both of the pictures it was easy to see.
Police confirmed the the man in the surveillance video is Michael Millhouse. He was arrested on theft charges Thursday morning.
"Initially, Millhouse denied taking the wallet and then said that he had taken the wallet, and thought it was his wife's wallet," said Clarkston Police Chief Joel Hastings. "Later he said that he intended turning the wallet in to the police but had forgot about it."
Hastings said increasingly higher quality surveillance video is helping them catch these types of thieves, but this is a whole new type of crime-fighting.
"This is the most unusual of any one I know of, to have both pictures on the front page at the same time and in the same location," he said. "I've never experienced that anywhere."
A writer for the paper told KLEW News that the very helpful coincidence went unnoticed until the paper was being printed early Thursday morning.
Police found the wallet at Millhouse Signs in Lewiston, a business which Millhouse owns. Hastings said Millhouse admitted to spending some of the $600 Johnson said was in the wallet. Credit cards, a social security card, and a driver's license, were returned, and Johnson will likely be reimbursed the missing money.
Millhouse was taken the the Asotin County Jail, but was released Thursday after posting a $5,000 bond.