Editors note: compiled from reports to Tacoma Police.
June 28: Taking your son on a morning drive in a freshly stolen car, pumping 60 bucks worth of gas at the full-service island, and driving away without paying tends to draw police attention.
The car was a shiny white 2012 Mercedes CLS 550, stolen two days earlier from Gilchrist Chevrolet in Tacoma. The driver was a 40-year-old man with an active arrest warrant. He wore black-rimmed glasses with no lenses. The passenger was his 14-year-old son.
The driver stopped at a gas station in the 2500 block of North Stevens Street, pulled into the full-service island and asked for a fill-up premium. An attendant pumped the gas and asked the driver for payment.
The driver said hed forgotten his wallet and needed to go to the bank for cash. The attendant asked the driver his name. The driver lied. He said his name was John Taylor and he worked at the car dealership. The attendant told the driver to leave his son at the station and get the money. The driver said he couldnt do that he had to take his son to school. Instead, he offered a handful of electrical wires as collateral. The attendant said school was out. The wires wouldnt cut it. The driver mumbled something about summer school and sped out of the lot without paying.
The car had no plate just a Gilchrist label. The attendant called the police. Officers spotted the car in a Safeway parking lot in the North Proctor neighborhood. The driver pulled out of the lot. Two patrol cars followed for 10 blocks, running lights and sirens. The driver finally pulled over to a curb. Officers cuffed him.
The driver said hed done nothing wrong. Officers said hed stolen gas. He denied it.
Employees from the service station arrived at the scene and identified the driver. A call to the car dealership confirmed the theft. Officers booked the man into the Pierce County Jail for the active arrest warrant. They released the teenager to his mother.
June 27-30: Without suckers, scammers would starve. The Internet is the 21st-century watering hole, and the prey is always plentiful. Three separate scam attempts targeted Tacoma residents in late June. One arrived in a Tacoma mans junk e-mail.
Assassin: Ive been paid to kill you, the note said.
You have been betrayed by someone very close to you, who paid me to kill you, the note continued. My men are surrounding you right now, watching you and if you do anything stupid you shall receive a gun shot from us, but I can help if you will pay me to spare your life.
The message was signed Killer Demon.
The Tacoma man didnt see anyone lurking outside. He didnt reply to the note, but he called police, who filed a report.
The next target was a Tacoma woman, who received an e-mail that looked like it came from Paypal, an online bill-payment site. The e-mail warned the woman that someone had tampered with her account. She needed to follow a link to fix the problem.
The woman was hooked. She followed the link and gave up her personal information, including a Social Security number. Soon after that, her bank called and said someone was running phony transactions through the account. The woman shut her card down and called Paypal. A company representative told her no one would ask for her personal information over e-mail.
Fearing the scammers would take her for more money, the woman called police, who filed a report.
A third e-mail ploy targeted a 62-year-old Tacoma woman. The e-mail offered a chance to pay off bills.
How? By taking a percentage of money from a check transfer. Offer: take this check, deposit it, and keep a little cash for yourself.
The woman received the check in the mail. It was written for $3,000. She took it to her bank. The bank said the check was good. The woman endorsed it, deposited it and kept $300. Following instructions, she wired the rest of the money to an address in the Philippines, through Western Union.
She didnt know it, but she was already hooked. Running the check through her bank unlocked access to the account. The woman soon discovered her account had been drained. She couldnt pay her bills. The report didnt describe how much money had been lost. The woman told police she would help in any way with prosecution, if that was possible but Tacoma police had no jurisdiction in the Philippines. Officers took down the womans story and filed a report.