Police Beat: Shoplifter finds everything he needs

Staff writerJuly 13, 2013 

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

July 10: The shoplifter didn't need any tools to pull off the caper; they were readily available on store shelves.

Security officers at the shopping center in the 7200 block of Pacific Avenue first noticed the lifter pushing a shopping cart in the shoe department.  He was 21, small and slight.

He picked out a pair of Nikes, put them on and headed for the sporting goods section, where he picked out a pair of pliers, which he used to cut the security tag on the shoes.

From there, he picked a pair of knives, which he placed in a nylon briefcase grabbed from another shelf. He rolled to the grocery section, selected a few items, and wheeled past the check stands, toward the exit.

The security scanner buzzed. The lifter, spotting a security guard, said, “I’m leaving,” and pushed the cart out the door.

By this time, Tacoma police officers were on the scene, called earlier when store security officers noticed the knives the lifter had grabbed.

One security officer stopped the lifter, who started rambling, saying the officer had told him to leave the store and that God told him to take the stuff.

Police took the man to the Pierce County Jail and booked him on suspicion of retail theft. During the booking process, officers discovered the man was wearing two stolen shirts.

July 9: The first dispatch call said a nude woman was singing and dancing in Blueberry Park on East D Street – less than typical activity at 10:15 p.m. on a Tuesday. The woman was said to be in her 30s, about 5-6, with a thin build and brown hair.

Officers drove to the park and found no one. A second call came in at midnight. The caller said a strange woman was trying to break into her house – 30s, thin with brown hair, wearing a dress, carrying underwear and a water bottle, dancing, singing and talking to herself.

Officers drove to the 7200 block of A Street and a found a woman matching the description from the two calls, walking on the sidewalk. She wore a black dress, a gray tank top and white shoes.

She looked lost and disoriented. An officer asked her name. She looked in her purse and said, “Red.”

An officer asked her what year it was. She said, “14…minus one.”

She didn’t know where she was or where she lived. She didn’t know her name or her birthdate. She chattered and made no sense.

Officers had her transported to St. Joseph’s Medical Center, where she was involuntarily committed. Subsequent records check revealed that the woman was 32, from the Summit area. She had a prior record of convictions that included minor assaults.

July 9: The addict was hooked on heroin, but his supply ran out along with his money.

A fellow user told him about the methadone clinic at 3629 South D Street – part of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department complex. That was the start of a bad idea.

Police got the call at 1:22 a.m. after the silent alarm went off at the clinic. The report also referred to sounds of movement and crashing.

Officers started at the main entrance and spoke to a cleaning woman, who let them in. They cleared her out and started hunting.

The building was silent. The clinic was on the first floor. Officers found their way to security room with monitors. One screen showed a man standing below a camera. The man moved out of view.

Outside the security room was another door leading to a hallway. The door was propped open with a cloth hat, folded against the frame.

Officers called for a dog and stayed put. The dog arrived, sniffed around and found the addict. Officers cuffed him and sat him on the floor.

“I was trying to get into the methadone,” the addict said.

He was 26, from Puyallup, though he’d been living on the Tacoma streets for a while. He said he was a long-time cocaine user, but he’d tried heroin and been hooked ever since. He’d never been to the clinic before.

“It was a spur-of-the-moment decision to come down here,” he said.

He’d tried to break into a safe, but he’d broken his screwdriver and cut his hand. He said he got into the clinic by throwing a rock through a window.

Officers took him to the Pierce County Jail and booked him on suspicion of second-degree burglary.

Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486

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