Police Beat: Reported trespasser and his tunes sent packing

Staff writerJune 8, 2013 

Editor’s note: compiled from reports to Tacoma Police.

June 3: The computer in the bank lobby was free, so the 21-year-old Tacoma man seated himself in front of it and cranked up the tunes.

A teller told him to leave. Music Man brushed her off.

“Leave me alone – I’m listening to music,” he said.

Two officers on routine patrol answered the dispatch call – a reported trespasser – and walked into the lobby.

They saw Music Man sitting on a stool in front of the computer. A bank employee pointed – that was the guy. The songs kept playing.

One officer approached Music Man, who turned and said, “I’m listening to music,” and followed with a thumbs-up sign.

The officer recognized Music Man from an earlier arrest. He said it was time to leave. Music Man ignored him.

The two officers hooked him by both arms, cuffed him and booked him into the Fife City Jail on suspicion of criminal trespassing.

The bank teller said she’d seen Music Man before. In the past, he left the lobby when asked, though he’d once muttered something about being a jihadist.

June 3: The couple argued in the grocery store parking lot; that made it easier for the thief.

The spat had been running all night. It was 2:30 a.m. The players: a 25-year-old woman, a blonde, and her 36-year-old girlfriend, a brunette. They lived together in Lakewood.

Blonde had stormed out earlier to stay with friends. Finally, she called Brunette and said she wanted to come home.

Brunette drove to the grocery store in the 1300 block of South 38th Street. Blonde was waiting. Nearby, three people with groceries walked toward a silver pickup, a 2012 GMC Sierra. One was a 30-year-old Tacoma man with a ponytail.

Brunette started to clear space in her car for Blonde’s stuff. Blonde set her jacket and backpack on the ground. The two started talking; soon they were arguing all over again.

That was the moment: Ponytail, walking toward the pickup, reached down, hooked Blonde’s backpack and started hustling.

Blonde ran after Ponytail and grabbed him by the arm.

“Please don’t!” she said. “It’s everything I own.”

Ponytail swung the backpack, hit Blonde in the chest and hopped into the pickup. He dropped the backpack, but the straps caught in the door. The truck sped away.

Blonde ran after the truck. She fell, barked her knee and lost sight of the Sierra. She called Brunette, who was driving around looking for Blonde.

“I just got jacked,” Blonde shouted into the phone.

Four officers answered the dispatch call. By now, Blonde and Brunette were in another parking lot, two blocks from the grocery store, where they’d found the Sierra, parked and empty.

An officer listened to Blonde’s tangled explanation and the description of Ponytail. He looked around and spotted a man with a ponytail nearby, trying to hide behind a bush. He shouted at the man to turn around. Blonde looked and turned to the officer with wide eyes.

“Holy crap, that’s him,” she said.

Officers rounded up Ponytail. He said he was walking to a friend’s house, but he gave a garbled location that made no sense. He said he was getting some food for a friend.

What was the friend’s name? Ponytail said nothing.

Why was he walking away from the area by the convenience store?

“I saw the cops over there and I didn’t want to go over there.”

If he’d done nothing wrong, why worry?

“You know what it is; you guys are racist, that’s why.”

Blonde ID’d Ponytail as the man who took her backpack. Officers cuffed him and booked him into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of second-degree robbery.

June 3: Trying to avoid police attention? Try speeding through Tacoma at 2 a.m. with no lights.

The officer was working a one-man patrol near the intersection of North 26th Street and North Pearl Street when he spotted the brown station wagon: a 2008 Subaru Outback, running without lights.

The officer caught up at North Pearl and North 14th Street, and flicked on the emergency lights. The Subaru pulled into a driveway. The officer shone a spotlight and saw two men inside.

The Subaru nearly stopped, then sped up, heading south on Pearl. The chase was on. The Subaru ran a red light and kicked up to 60. The officer held up, sent a call over dispatch and said he would stop the pursuit.

That didn’t mean stopping the hunt. The officer turned off his emergency lights and watched the Subaru speed away. He followed slowly, keeping the car in his sights until it turned out of his range.

Heading in the general direction, the officer found the Subaru at South 15th Street, near Tacoma Community College, stopped in the middle of the road. The engine was running. The driver’s door was open. The car was empty.

The officer called for backup and a police dog. The search led to a back yard in the 1300 block of South Woodlawn Street, and a 24-year-old Tacoma man with a prior history of eluding police. His driver’s license was suspended.

The man refused to answer questions. He said he was homeless, sleeping in the backyard.

Another officer talked to the registered owner of the Subaru, who said he let a friend drive the car. The friend, in turn, had let the 24-year-old drive it.

The 24-year-old had minor injuries. An officer transported him to Allenmore Hospital, and later booked him on suspicion of felony eluding and driving with a suspended license.

Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486

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