Police Beat: Stubborn bully loudly airs his dirty laundry

Staff writerFebruary 1, 2014 

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

Jan. 30: The Laundromat Bully berated the change machine for ripping him off.

The dispatch call reported a disturbance — a customer who wouldn’t leave, shouting curses and alarming everyone else. Two officers rolled to the 6400 block of South Yakima Avenue and walked past the washers and driers.

Patrons pointed to the bully. He was 52, 6 feet 1, 260 pounds and surly. He yelled when he saw the cops. The machine took his money, he said.

Other customers said the man wouldn’t calm down. The manager refunded his money — $7.50.

Officers told the bully to leave, adding that he’d be arrested if he ever came back.

The bully took his time. He dragged his feet. He opened the washers and driers — every one of them — and looked inside. Officers finally told him he had 10 seconds to clear out.

After he left, a woman spoke to the officers and thanked them. She said the man intimidated people at the laundromat, including a mother and child. The manager said the guy was a semi-regular who came in and called people names.

Jan. 26: Near a bus stop at South 24th Street and Pacific Avenue, the old tagger worked in fluorescent green.

He was 54 — not a fit for the typical tagger profile. He had no distinctive signature. Armed with a spray can, he carefully drew four letters on the wall of a boarded-up building: C-O-O-L.

A police officer called to the scene found the tagger smoking at the bus stop. Talking didn’t work at first. The officer quickly realized the tagger couldn’t hear. They communicated with gestures and paper, passing notes back and forth.

The officer pointed to the painted letters. The tagger wrote that he hadn’t seen that color before, so he wanted to paint with it.

“But sir, I don’t do it again,” he wrote.

The officer ran a records check. The tagger had an active arrest warrant from the Department of Corrections. The tagger said he’d been in the hospital and hadn’t seen the warrant. He said he needed to go back to the hospital because of the cut on his finger.

Which cut?

The tagger displayed a small red mark. To the officer, it looked like a paper cut. He cuffed the tagger and booked him into the Fife City Jail on the warrant and suspicion of graffiti vandalism.

Jan. 26: The beer gang had three members. Two were 17. One was 19. They favored Modelo Especial.

Shortly after 4 a.m., the trio walked into a convenience store in the 5600 block of McKinley Avenue East and selected three cases. They walked to the counter. The oldest of them spoke.

“How much?” he asked the clerk.

The clerk said he couldn’t sell the beer. The boys looked too young.

The trio bolted out the door with the cases. The clerk called police.

When officers arrived, the clerk pointed toward where the boys ran. He said he’d seen what looked like the butt of a gun in one of the boys’ pockets. The boy hadn’t waved it or used it, the clerk said.

The report of a gun drew more officers. Reaching the scene, they soon spotted a red 1999 Chevrolet pickup truck. The truck zipped away on East I Street. Officers followed, lights flashing.

The truck pulled into an alley. Officers blocked it. Nearby, a teenager hiding by a garage rushed toward the pickup and tried to get in. Officers told him to stop. The teen, 17, ignored them.

The teen had something in his hands. He passed it to the driver of the pickup. Officers glimpsed a gun.

They pulled the teen away from the pickup and cuffed him. The teen was drunk. He stumbled. The driver — the 19-year-old — shouted at police.

“That’s my homie,” the driver said, lacing his words with profanity. “Leave him alone. I’ll smoke you. I’ll smoke you.”

Separated from the truck, the 17-year-old didn’t say much.

What happened at the convenience store?

“Just sippin’,” the teen said.

The officer asked him to explain.

“Are my friends talking?” the teen asked.

The officer said he didn’t know.

“Well, then, I’m not talking,” the teen said.

Back at the truck, officers tuned out the shouting driver and took a look at his passenger, a 15-year-old girl. Officers took her out of the car.

“That’s my girl,” the driver said. “Don’t you touch her. I’ll smoke you.”

The girl’s eyes were bloodshot, and her words slurred. She said she’d been drinking with the driver all night.

Did she know underage drinking was a crime?

“Yes,” she said, and giggled.

Over radio, an officer said he’d found the third member of the trio — the other 17-year-old — hiding underneath a house nearby.

An officer brought the convenience store clerk to the scene to look at the three suspects. The clerk said those were the guys who took the cases of Modelo.

Officers talked to the driver, now cuffed. He said he had nothing to do with any robbery. He said he walked into the convenience store and walked out when he realized he had no money. He said he didn’t know the other two teenagers. He said he drove to this spot to pay respects to a friend who had been killed there.

Officers booked the two teen boys into Remann Hall on suspicion of robbery. They booked the girl into Remann on suspicion of underage drinking. They booked the 19-year-old into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of first-degree robbery.

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

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