This article was originally posted on spokesman.com
No charges will be filed against a Spokane man arrested on suspicion of driving the getaway car in a pharmacy robbery last month.
Although 55-year-old David L. Ratener was driving the pickup, he passed two lie detector tests that showed he knew nothing of the robbery allegedly committed by a young man whom he’d met at a downtown bar May 22 and was giving a ride to a friend’s house.
Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Larry Steinmetz notified Ratener’s attorney, Tim Note, of the decision last week. Ratener got his truck back the next day.
“I got a crash course in the justice system,” Ratener said Monday.
Ratener was arrested with Robert K. Morris on May 22 after police said Morris robbed the Walgreens at Division Street and Empire Avenue of OxyContin, then fled in Ratener’s truck.
Morris, 26, is to be arraigned on a first-degree robbery charge on Monday, but Ratener passed a police-administered polygraph that cleared him of wrongdoing, according to a letter written by Steinmetz.
Morris told Ratener he needed a ride to pick up money from a friend, Ratener said. Ratener parked his truck about a block from the store, and Morris returned a few minutes later and said they could leave. Nothing seemed suspicious.
Minutes later, police were behind Ratener’s truck. As he pulled over, he saw Morris swallowing pills, he said.
“I didn’t know the Walgreens had been robbed until the police told me,” Ratener said. “Once they told me what happened it was like, ‘How the hell did I get involved in this?’” Between the robbery and the police stop, Ratener drove back by the pharmacy – another fact that helped his defense, Note said.
Still, “I don’t believe there’s anything Mr. Ratener could have said to avoid getting arrested,” Note said. “It looked bad.”
Ratener spent two days in jail before he was released on his own recognizance after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court. He said he used skills learned in survival training in the military to get by.
Note said Ratener’s case was one of the most bizarre he’s seen. He learned of the robbery in the news and “pictured some scraggly haired, doper-looking” man when he arrived at the jail to interview Ratener.
But the senior sound engineer for several Spokane radio stations hardly matched Note’s image of him.
Ratener’s upper middle-class lifestyle, Note said, affords him “no motive for a robbery.”