Police Beat: Angry drunk socks bald cop, later says sorry

Staff writerDecember 7, 2013 

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

Dec. 1: The drunk fought for his girlfriend’s honor, but he shoulder-tackled the wrong guy and knocked out an off-duty Tacoma cop.

Two officers in two patrol cars saw the aftermath of the scuffle outside The Swiss Pub at 1904 Jefferson Ave. It was 1:35 a.m. One man was lying on the ground. Another, clad in a white Seahawks jersey, was walking away quickly. Bystanders pointed at the man in the jersey.

Officers corralled the man in the jersey and sorted out the details. The man on the ground — a 34-year-old Tacoma officer — woke up. He said his ribs were sore. He wasn’t sure what happened. He’d spent the evening at the Swiss with his wife and a couple of friends. As he left, the man in the jersey, a stranger, knocked him down and out. Other witnesses backed up the story.

The man in the jersey was 39. His eyes were bloodshot, his mouth was bleeding and his breath smelled of liquor. He said he’d been dancing with his girlfriend when “a bald guy punched her in the head.”

Other witnesses said the story was true — the man in the jersey had scuffled with a bald guy a little earlier, but bouncers at the Swiss had kicked the bald guy out.

The man in the jersey said he was looking around for the bald guy, spotted the off-duty officer — who also was bald — and tackled him.

“If I could apologize to the guy I hit that wasn’t the guy, I would,” the man in the jersey said. He took the blame for his move.

Officers booked him into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of second-degree assault.

Dec. 1: The scrapper talked fast, but he couldn’t talk his way out of a trip to jail.

An officer spotted the scrapper’s white pickup at 5:48 a.m., under the Interstate 5 overpass near South Tacoma Way and South M Street.

The officer thought that looked odd. The area is a construction site — seismic upgrades for the overpass — but it was a Sunday morning, awfully early.

Easing into the area, the officer saw the scrapper walking around the pickup, a 1991 Mazda. The bed was filled with scrap metal, including dozens of rebar rods, the ends coated in yellow.

The scrapper was 48 and edgy. He said he was looking for his Zippo lighter. He thought he’d dropped it nearby, and had just stopped here to look.

What about the metal in his truck?

“I didn’t get that from here,” the scrapper said.

The officer looked around the construction site. He saw new rebar installed on the columns of the overpass, the ends coated in yellow. Some of it was stacked in bundles. One had been cut, and some of the rebar was missing. The stuff looked identical to the material in the pickup truck.

The scrapper said he found the metal in a dumpster in the Port of Tacoma and another dumpster nearby on Center Street. He said he kept an eye out for scrap metal and sold it for extra money, on top of his unemployment benefits.

A 47-year-old woman sat in the pickup truck. She said she’d been riding around with the man, who asked her to go scrapping with him. They drove through Fife and the port and had just stopped here, she said. She said she didn’t know the area at all. The officer wasn’t sure he believed the story.

The officer called for a tow truck to impound the pickup and asked the scrapper to take him to the dumpster on Center Street, in the Nalley Valley, under state Route 16. The dumpster sat near another construction site. The scrapper said he found some of the metal inside. That wasn’t theft, he said — they were throwing the metal away.

The officer said it was illegal to dive through someone else’s dumpster. The officer called contractors at both construction sites. They said they kept metal in their dumpsters and sold and recycled it themselves.

The officer booked the scrapper into the Fife City Jail on suspicion of third-degree theft.

Dec. 2: The ruse caught the burglar. It was a simple play.

The 68-year-old Tacoma man puttered in his garage. Shortly after 2 p.m., he took a lunch break. Walking up the steps to the kitchen, he glimpsed a female figure walking toward the bedroom.

He thought the woman was his wife at first. Stepping inside, he saw the woman walk out of the bedroom. They locked eyes. She wasn’t his wife.

She was 24. She carried a pillowcase stuffed with stuff.

She ran toward the kitchen. The door was closed. She turned and walked back toward the man.

He stopped her with a lie. He said he was a retired police officer and told her to sit at the kitchen table. The woman obeyed. The man called police.

Officers drove to the 3600 block of East Howe Street. They found the woman still sitting at the table. She admitted she broke in to steal silver and sell it for drug money. Officers booked her into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of residential burglary.

Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486; sean.robinson@thenewstribune.com; @seanrobinsonTNT

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