Editor’s note: compiled from reports to Tacoma police.
June 5: Pop quiz – select the best way to buy a mobile phone:
A. Pick one up at the electronics store.
B. Order it online and have it shipped.
C. Buy it from some guy in Tacoma who tells you to meet him on a street corner at 11:30 p.m.
The 20-year-old Federal Way man chose option C. He posted an ad on Craigslist.org, saying he was looking for an iPhone. Soon enough, he had a call and an offer: Come on down and get it, 900 block of North K Street.
The buyer drove and met the seller. The seller was 30 or 40. He wore a dark green jacket and a baseball cap.
The buyer asked to see the phone. The seller asked to see the money. The debate drifted until the seller got bored and pulled a gun.
The seller took off with $700, hopped into what looked like a ’90s-vintage Chevrolet Malibu and split. The buyer called police.
June 7: The dispatch call landed in the Thursday lunch hour – theft at the downtown Starbucks, 1748 Pacific Ave., right by the University of Washington Tacoma campus.
The booty: 11 pounds of coffee, Indivisible Blend.
Hearing the thief’s description, bicycle officers stationed at UWT spotted a regular. The culprit was a 50-year-old man, tall, with brown curly hair and a missing right eye. His record of arrests stretched back 30 years.
They found him four blocks away, carrying a backpack and a UWT shopping bag. He wouldn’t cooperate, the report states. Officers took him down with a Taser and cuffed him.
Told he was under arrest, the man scoffed. If they were going to leave the coffee out, he was going to take it, he said.
The coffee, not on display, was stacked in boxes in the hall on the way to the restroom. According to the store manager, the man had walked in, asked for the key to the restroom and disappeared out the back. He left a pound of coffee on the sill of the bathroom mirror.
Officers booked the man into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of third-degree theft.
June 9: The offer was a phone freebie that sounded good: a one-time government grant for $7,000 that would pay all the bills.
The 33-year-old Tacoma man didn’t quite buy it, but he played along. The caller, a woman with an East Indian accent, sounded convincing. She told the man to call another number to collect the money.
He called what looked like a Seattle number and heard a new voice. This was a man. He said his name was Sean Swagger. Go to Western Union, he said. Wire $300. You’ll get the $7,000 after that. The Tacoma man hung up, and likely saved $300.
June 9: It was an easy grab. One quick move and the thief vanished.
He was young, 15 or 20, according to the police report. He wore anonymous clothes: a blue hoodie and blue jeans. He rode Pierce Transit Bus 200, running on Route 1, rolling in the 600 block of Sixth Avenue at 6:58 p.m.
One seat ahead, a 21-year-old Tacoma woman read a book on her Kindle.
The bus stopped at Sixth and South G Street, the southeastern corner of Wright Park. The doors wheezed open. Anonymous reached into the woman’s hands, snatched the Kindle and ran straight out, down the hill of Sixth. Officers answered the 911 call, but the runner was firstname.lastname@example.org