Just before 3 a.m. Friday, the homeowner awoke with a start from a basement bedroom. He heard people walking upstairs in his home.
Through the dark, he glimpsed the beam of a flashlight and the man carrying it: white, 30s, unshaven.
The homeowner grabbed a handgun from the nightstand and called out: “I have a gun.” He also told the intruder, and whoever else was in his home, that he was calling 911, according to Loretta Cool, spokeswoman for the Tacoma Police Department.
According to the police report:
One intruder from down the hall called back: “We’re homeless. We’re just looking for a place to sleep.” The other fled up the stairs with his comrade soon behind.
Officers arrived in the 1000 block of East 29th Street and discovered the two men had broken a window to get inside. During their flight, the two men had dropped a gray backpack — one of theirs — and a black rifle case — the homeowner’s.
A K-9 unit took officers on a winding tour of McKinley Park and near an apartment complex, eventually leading officers to a large tree thick with ivy.
A man stepped out from behind the tree and told officers they had awoken him from a three-hour slumber.
Officers didn’t buy it. It had recently rained and the man was completely dry. Temperatures were in the mid-30s. Officers noted the man showed no signs of hypothermia. Officers were wearing headcovers and thick jackets. No personal items were found within the ivy or near the tree, where the man said he had lived for the past two weeks.
Officers booked the man into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of residential burglary. The other man had not been apprehended as of Saturday evening, police said.