Police Beat: Shoplifting proves difficult on meth

Staff writerApril 19, 2014 

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

April 14: An hour before she walked into the Walmart store with two men, the woman lit up a hit of methamphetamine.

At the store, she selected underwear, shirts, pants, a pink jacket and a purse, and walked into a fitting room. Two loss prevention officers watched — one from the sales floor, the other via security camera.

The woman left the dressing room, not carrying anything — but the edges of the pink jacket peeked out under her hoodie. She walked to the front doors. Officers stopped her in the parking lot, escorted her back inside and called police.

Two officers drove to the store in the 1900 block of South Union Avenue. The woman was waiting for them. She was 26. She’d been banned from another Walmart, in Marysville, in December 2012.

She admitted stealing the jacket. She said she’d decided not to take the other stuff.

While officers interviewed her, the loss prevention team watched the security cameras. They saw two men working as a team. One walked ahead of the other, picking up items and putting them down. The second man followed, picked up the items and stowed them in his pants: lighters, an ashtray, a propane bottle.

A loss prevention officer remembered that the men came in with the woman earlier. Police officers called for backup and waited. The men walked out of the store, into the arms of waiting police.

One man was 35. The other was 24. He carried a small baggie of meth. He’d been cited for shoplifting three hours earlier at a Home Depot.

“I am sorry,” he said, after the baggie fell out of his pocket.

How long had he been using?

“For a while now,” the man said.

The woman admitted knowing the men but said she’d just met them. She changed her story and said she’d met one of them a few days earlier. She said she’d been off meth for a while and had just started using again.

Officers booked all three into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of third-degree theft, burglary, drug possession and prior arrest warrants.

April 12: The tagger spread LOVE on other people’s property, occasionally followed by his signature, which was DANO. He was 25, and he worked in green paint.

Behind him, along Sixth Avenue, a neighbor followed. The neighbor was 37. He recognized the tagger from a picture taken after a burglary at a friend’s house earlier in the year.

The neighbor called police and kept following. The tagger was skateboarding. He painted a mailbox, a garbage can and an electrical box.

Officers caught up with him at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and North Pine Street. An officer spotted the green paint marker in the tagger’s pocket.

What was it for?

The tagger said he hadn’t vandalized anything. It was just a coincidence that the paint was in his pocket. The officer read him his rights. The tagger admitted painting property.

What did he write?

“Love,” the tagger said.

The officer cited him for malicious mischief and wrote a supplemental report identifying the tagger as a suspect in the earlier burglary.

April 12: The job was a home remodel in the 3800 block of South K Street. The contractor parked his utility trailer in the alley behind the house.

He left the trailer doors open for easy access as he moved back and forth. Stepping out of the house to grab some tools, he saw a man inside the trailer.

The man inside was 54, 5 feet 7, wiry and dirty. He held two large rolls of copper wire.

The man tried to run, but the rolls of wire snagged the shelves of the trailer. The man dropped the rolls and tried to scramble away. The contractor grabbed him, held him down, and shouted to bystanders: Call the police.

When officers arrived, they found the man on the ground, surrounded by several people, including the contractor. The man refused to say anything. Officers took him to the Fife City Jail and booked him on suspicion of criminal trespassing and third-degree theft.

April 12: The man took a woman to dinner, ate and ran.

He was 35, from Aberdeen. Shortly after 9 p.m., he walked into the restaurant in the 4800 block of Tacoma Mall Boulevard, ordered drinks and food and ran up a tab of $54.80.

He walked out, leaving a pizza card as payment. The manager called police.

When officers arrived, the woman was gone. The man was back, waiting. He said he knew his credit card was empty, so he left the pizza club card behind.

Did he walk into the restaurant expecting to eat for free?

“No,” the man said.

Did he leave a fake card on the table when he found his credit card was empty?


The officer took the man to the Fife City Jail and booked him on suspicion of third-degree theft. During booking, jail staffers found what looked like methamphetamine in the man’s wallet. That changed a misdemeanor to a felony. The man was taken to the Pierce County Jail and booked on suspicion of drug possession.

Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486

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