Editor’s note: Compiled from reports to Tacoma police.
July 29-Aug. 6: The scammers sold meat door to door. The customers bought empty promises.
Four separate incidents involved two sets of scammers. Tacoma Police spokesman Mark Fulghum said he’d heard reports from outside the city as well.
One scammer was a 20-year-old man. He knocked on a door in the 6800 block of South Wapato Street and told a 59-year-old woman he was selling meat by the case. Was the woman interested? She was. She wrote a check. The man said the meat would be delivered the next day. He called her back with a problem. Her check had been shredded accidentally. Could she write another? He’d come by and pick it up.
The woman wrote another check. The man picked it up. The meat never arrived. The woman called her bank. Both checks had been cashed: a total of $800.
The man pulled the same trick on a 64-year-old woman in the 6200 block of South Fife Street. The pattern was the same: promised deliveries that never arrived, checks supposedly shredded by mistake, but actually cashed.
The 64-year-old called the meat company and learned the 20-year-old had been fired recently. He was still pretending to be an employee, and scamming people. The woman filed a police report. Police found the 20-year-old had an active arrest warrant, and added the reference to the report.
The second scam involved a pair of salespeople: a 30-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman. They drove a truck and claimed to work for Five Star Foods.
The first victim, a 51-year-old man, chose his meat selections and wrote a check for $351. The salespeople promised delivery the next day. Instead, they came back and said the first check had been shredded accidentally. Could the man write another? He’d get a 30 percent discount for his trouble.
The 51-year-old wrote another check. He later found the first check had been cashed. He tried to stop payment on the second, but a check-cashing company called him and said the check had already cleared. The total loss approached $800.
The pair struck again Aug. 6, persuading a 38-year-old woman to write a $160 check for meat that never arrived.
Police gathered the reports into a set, noting the similarities.
Aug. 15: The 30-year-old Tacoma man started a fight with a driver, and found himself weighed down until police arrived.
The driver, a 42-year-old man, reached the intersection of South M and South 38th streets about 1:15 a.m.
Three men walked slowly through the intersection. The driver slowed down to let them pass. As he did, one of the men, a 30-year-old with shoulder-length hair, tattoos and a white tank top, took a swing at the truck’s mirror and broke it.
The driver pulled to a stop and got out of his truck. The three men surrounded him. The man in the tank top claimed the driver hit him. He ran toward the driver and threw a punch.
The driver struggled with the man. The pair fell to the ground. The man’s two friends started closing in.
The driver felt an assault coming. He was ready. He pulled out a gun. He had a legal permit to carry it. He told the two assailants to back off. The pair ran. The driver stayed on the ground, holding down the 30-year-old who’d attacked him.
An officer arrived and took in the scene. The driver weighed 340 pounds. The 30-year-old was smaller. Under the weight of the driver, the 30-year-old screamed and cursed. The officer cuffed the 30-year-old and booked him into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of assault. The driver was not arrested.
Aug. 11: The 47-year-old Tacoma man stood on his porch, talking on the phone. It was about 12:30 a.m.
Three men in their early 20s walked past the man’s home in the 5600 block of South Birmingham Street. One man, who wore a white tank top, shouted at the 47-year-old and told him to “go home,” adding a curse and a slur reserved for Latinos.
The 47-year-old was not a Latino, but he had dark hair and a good summer tan. He stepped off his porch and picked up a wooden board, about six feet long.
The three men came closer. The 47-year-old swung the board in an arc and hit one of them. The three men ran, disappearing into the darkness. Police responded to the scene and spoke to a witness, who confirmed the man’s account. Officers checked the area, but found no one, and filed a report for information email@example.com