Two weeks and nearly 30 car prowlings later, Lakewood police have arrested a Tacoma man they believe is responsible for the Lakewood Towne Center vehicle break-ins.
Brandon Starks, 27, was arraigned Wednesday on charges of motor vehicle theft, identity fraud, forgery and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Pierce County Superior Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set bail at $250,000.
According to police and court documents:
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Starks was arrested with his 24-year-old girlfriend Monday after police were tipped off by two women caught sitting in a stolen Subaru in a Lakewood parking lot.
The girlfriend was released Tuesday without being charged.
During questioning by police, the women in the stolen Subaru said they’d gotten the car from Starks, who allegedly stole it from a convenience store in Seattle.
They also named Starks as being responsible for the vehicle break-ins at Lakewood Towne Center.
Detectives searched Starks’ Fife motel room and found several stolen items. Starks admitted that everything in the room, except for the clothing, was stolen.
His girlfriend told police he had been selling methamphetamine and heroin from the motel room.
She said that several other people were involved in the car prowling spree. “The Movement,” as they called themselves, had no “direct leader,” she said.
The investigation is ongoing, and detectives are working to return the stolen items.
“It’s looking like we have approximately 60 different victims of theft,” police spokesman Chris Lawler said. “Everything from backpacks, purses, electronics, IDs, things like that. It’s a little bit of a process at this point because there is a lot to weed through.”
Starks has prior felony convictions, including conspiracy to commit robbery and unlawful delivery of a controlled substance. The prosecutor’s office has placed him on a high priority offenders list.
Staff writer Kenny Ocker contributed to this report.
Anyone who believes they had items stolen from them recently in Lakewood is asked to contact Lakewood police at firstname.lastname@example.org or 253-830-5000.