Editor’s note: Compiled from reports to Tacoma police.
July 13: The thief picked a purse that wasn’t so easy to snatch.
Near South Fourth Street and South St. Helens Avenue, a 50-year-old woman crossed the street to her apartment. It was after 4 a.m.
A dark-blue SUV drove up and blocked her path. The driver, a bald man somewhere between 20 and 30, stepped out and pulled at the purse on the woman’s shoulder. She tried to keep it. The man dragged it from her and dove back into the car. The woman stretched her arm through the driver’s window, trying to reach the purse, fumbling in the dark. She thought she could see passengers, but not their faces.
A 57-year-old man saw the struggle and rushed forward. The woman was stuck, tangled with the driver. The man wedged his way in, trying to pull the woman free. He heard the driver shout at the woman.
The car lurched forward, lifting the woman off her feet. She fell away, into the street. The man held on, trying to reach what he thought was the transmission lever. He hoped to shift the car into park.
He found the wrong lever – the windshield wiper control. The plastic stalk snapped off in his hand. The car sped away. The man followed, running, trying to get a look at the plate.
A police officer answering a dispatch call found the woman in the street, bruised and disheveled. The man who chased the car said he’d seen the driver’s face and two passengers inside, a man and a woman. He’d seen part of the plate: four digits. The officer listened, and filed a report.
July 21: The sight line at the intersection of North 24th Street and North Alder Street was a little tricky.
Tall shrubs and trees obscured the view of oncoming traffic. The 20-year-old Tacoma man, driving a 1991 Dodge Dakota, pulled into the intersection, trying to see. A gray 1991 BMW nearly plowed into him. The BMW’s driver, a 50-year-old Tacoma man, slammed his brakes just in time.
The 20-year-old drove on. The BMW followed, riding his bumper. The 20-year-old pulled onto a side ride and a shoulder to let the BMW pass. Instead, the BMW pulled next to him, and the driver got out of his car.
The 20-year-old called 911. He tried to get out of the truck. The 50-year-old threw him back against the truck door, bending it. The 50-year-old threw punches.
The younger man went down. He had a broken hand – a previous injury. He said he didn’t want to fight. The older man kept yelling and punching.
Three neighbors saw the fight and walked over, telling the older man to stop. The older man replied with a two-word suggestion. He raised his foot as if to stomp the younger man.
“Don’t do it,” one neighbor shouted. The older man looked at the neighbors and the young man on the ground.
“You just got your ass kicked by a 50-year-old,” he said, then stepped into his BMW and drove away.
An officer responding to the scene gathered statements from the victim and witnesses. They’d written down the plate number of the BMW. The officer checked it. It was tied to a previous road-rage incident. The officer checked the address of the car’s owner, but no one was home. He filed a report for information purposes.
July 25: In the restroom line, one woman didn’t feel like waiting her turn.
It was 12:30, getting late at the bar in the 3800 block of South Pine Street.
A 40-year-old woman waited. A 22-year-old woman stood behind her.
“I’m next,” the 22-year-old said.
“No, I’m next,” the 40-year-old said. “I’ve been waiting.”
“No, bitch, I’m next,” the 22-year-old said.
The 40-year-old dashed into the stall.
A third woman, 38, pulled the door open, grabbed the 40-year-old by the hair, and threw her to the floor.
“Get her, auntie!” the 22-year-old said.
Within moments, three women were punching and kicking the 40-year-old. They took her purse and left.
An officer responded to the call. Arriving at the bar, he spoke to the 40-year-old. Her nose was bleeding. She had a scrape on her chin.
The bartender said one of the assailants was a regular. The bar had a security camera pointed toward the restrooms. The officer filed a report, intending to view the video later.
July 28: Tall grass and overgrown weeds choked the grassy strip near the intersection of South 16th Street and South G Street.
A 41-year-old man who lived nearby was tired of it. No one took care of the strip or maintained it. His sons had been playing in the grass and discovered a used syringe and needle.
The man decided to take charge. He took a weed-whacker to the strip, but the weeds and grass were too tall and thick, the sun was hot, and the job was taking too long. Giving up on the weed-whacker, he brought a portable gas can, doused the weeds and set them on fire.
An officer responding to a reported brush fire found the man at the edge of a strip with a garden hose, spraying down the sidewalk. Firefighters responded to the scene and extinguished the blaze.
The officer asked the man what he thought he was doing. The man explained. No one took care of the strip. The city wasn’t fixing it.
He didn’t understand what he’d done wrong. He was taking precautions. He was spraying down the sidewalk.
The officer said he couldn’t do that. He cited the man for reckless burning and filed a report.