Editor’s note: Compiled from reports to Tacoma Police.
Sept. 15: Pop quiz – you’re holding a wad of cash, not far from a medical marijuana dispensary. What do you do?
A) Keep the money in your pocket.
B) Stand on the sidewalk and count it.
The 18-year-old Tacoma man chose option B. He told an officer his tale of woe.
The man had been standing in the 2400 block of Sixth Avenue, near a tax-preparation store and the dispensary. He had $700. As he counted it, another man rushed out of the dispensary, pushed the 18-year-old, snatched the money and jumped into a white Mustang.
The thief had a shaved head and a short beard, the victim said. He looked to be 25 or 30. He wore a white shirt and jean shorts.
The officer asked dispensary employees if they’d seen a man who matched the description of the thief. The employees weren’t sure. The officer asked to see surveillance footage. Only the manager could provide access to the footage, and he wasn’t around. The officer said he’d come back later.
Sept. 18: The 24-year-old Spanaway man had two problems: he carried guns, and he was accident-prone.
An officer found him at St. Joseph Medical Center, bleeding from a gunshot wound. The man blamed himself.
He said he’d been visiting a relative in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood. He brought three guns with him. He didn’t want to leave his .45 in the car. He put on his shoulder holster, started to strap in the gun, and fired a round by accident. The slug plowed into his leg.
It wasn’t the first time. The man told police he’d shot himself before, less than a year earlier.
The officer checked the man’s weapons. They were legal. He gathered the guns for safekeeping while the man received treatment for his wound.
Sept. 19: Con artists know suckers when they see them. The 17-year-old Tacoma youth had the look.
He was riding with friends near Sixth Avenue and North Pearl Street when someone in a car in another lane hailed him. The driver was a wiry, 30-year-old black woman with braided dreadlocks, blond on top, black on the bottom. She drove a white Ford Escape. The license plate, possibly from Georgia, had a picture of a peach.
The woman asked if anyone had a Bank of America account. The youth said he did. Dreadlocks offered a deal: if the youth would cash her check, she’d give him $60. The youth agreed, and followed Dreadlocks to a bank in the 6500 block of Sixth Avenue.
The youth took the woman’s check, which was written for $4,980. He handed it to a bank teller, who thought the transaction looked fishy. She said she could provide $200 from the check. The rest would stay on hold until the check cleared.
The teller handed over the cash. Dreadlocks and the youth left the bank. She gave him $60, a phone number (the area code traced to California) and instructions: call when the rest of the money was available. Dreadlocks drove away with her companion, a short, stocky woman.
The teen felt uneasy. He went to his own bank in the 2100 block of Pearl Street and spoke to a bank employee, who spotted a scam. The big check was stolen. The employee called police. The youth gave the cash back, but the bank said he still owed the remaining money. An officer inquired about surveillance video from the first bank, and filed a fraud report.
Sept. 14: The gas station line at the store in the 700 block of South 56th Street was jammed with cars. Officers responded to a reported fight involving a knife and a gun.
They found a 21-year-old Tacoma man with a fat lip, a 59-year-old Tacoma man with a temper, and two stories.
The older man drove a black truck, a 2007 Nissan Titan.
In his version, he said he’d pulled into the station to gas up, pulled around other cars and started to pump. The 21-year-old had become angry. He yelled and swore at the older man, accusing him of nearly causing a wreck. The older man pulled a knife and told the younger man to back off, but the younger man kept yelling. The older man punched him in the face. He admitted getting his gun, but said he didn’t point it at anyone.
The younger man said he’d argued with the older man, who yelled, “What you doing, boy?” and pulled the knife. The younger man said he told the older man to put the knife away, and that he’d kick the old guy’s ass. The old guy punched him, he said, then said, “I got better than a knife.”
The younger man said the older guy pointed the gun at his face. It was a chrome-plated .357 Magnum.
A witness said he saw the older man punch the younger man, but didn’t see the gun. Police found the gun in the man’s truck. It was legal; the man had a permit to carry it. They arrested the older man and booked him into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of second-degree assault.