He was 42. He walked into the grocery store, checked the suds aisle, chose Rogue Chatoe and Ninkasi Believer, tucked the two bottles into his jacket and headed for the exit.
A loss prevention officer cut him off and flashed a badge. The beerlifter reached toward a pocket. The officer, fearing a weapon, grabbed hold. The two men struggled. The beerlifter yelled. The officer pulled him into the security office.
Two Tacoma police officers picked up the dispatch call and drove to the store in the 1100 block of South M Street. The store manager took them to the security office.
The beerlifter and the loss prevention officer were facing off. One police officer drew a stun gun and ordered the beerlifter to get on the ground. The beerlifter dropped. The officers cuffed him.
“Yeah, I took the beer,” he said, when officers asked. “Can I just get a ticket for this?”
Why did he fight with the loss prevention officer?
“I thought he was going to choke me. He had a hold of my clothing around the collar.”
The loss prevention officer said the beerlifter hadn’t tried to assault him — he was just trying to get away.
Officers booked the man into the Fife City Jail on suspicion of third-degree theft.
Another man interceded and told the barfly to back up. The barfly punched him. A bouncer told the barfly to leave. The barfly punched him. Another worker called the cops. The barfly left.
Two officers drove to the bar in the 700 block of St. Helens Avenue. The bouncer flagged them down and pointed to two men walking away. One of them was the barfly.
The officers switched on their patrol car lights.
“Tacoma police — stop!” one of them shouted.
One man stopped. The barfly kept walking.
“Police — stop!” the officer shouted. The man started running. The officer ran after him.
The man cut behind a car and reached for his pocket. The officer drew his gun.
“Show me your hands!”
The man kept reaching for his pocket. The officer shouted again. The man lifted his hands. The officer closed in, cuffed him, frisked him and walked him back to the patrol car.
Back at the bar, a second pair of officers spoke to witnesses who described the fight. They brought the security guard to the patrol car. He looked at the barfly and said that was the guy.
The barfly was 28, from Federal Way. On the way to the Fife City Jail, he said he didn’t stop because he didn’t know the officer was an officer.
During booking, he started mouthing off. He said he would shoot up Tacoma police and Fife police. The officer warned him to be careful about what he was saying.
The man kept talking. He said he would find the officer and kill him. He would find the officer’s wife, rape her and kill her.
He wore a pendant around his neck with some sort of powdery substance inside: his mother’s ashes. The man was booked on suspicion of criminal assault and obstructing a police officer.
Mom was 36. The new neighbor was 25. Mom invited her over to a pizza party. The neighbor needed some change; she had a jar in her apartment next door. She said her door was unlocked and sent someone to grab some change for her.
Everyone at the party heard. Mom had a son. Two of his friends, both 13, were visiting.
After pizza, the neighbor realized stuff was missing from her apartment: two pairs of Air Jordans and the change jar. A confrontation followed; the apartment complex started buzzing. Mom called police.
Officers drove to the 5000 block of South 58th Street and sorted out the mess. One boy was standing outside when they arrived. He said his friend’s mom was accusing him of stealing stuff.
Officers spoke to the neighbor, who described the stolen items. She said she’d confronted the boys, who denied stealing anything, but they returned the change jar. The shoes were still missing.
A second boy was sitting on the floor of Mom’s apartment. Mom wouldn’t let him leave until he ’fessed up.
The boy denied stealing anything. Other people in the apartment started getting loud. An officer walked the boy outside and handcuffed him.
The boy said he didn’t steal anything. The officer said admitting the theft might be smarter; otherwise he’d be looking at a felony, and he’d have problems with the victims.
The boy asked a question: If he gave everything back, would all these problems go away?
The officer said he’d talk to the neighbor about it. The boy said he went into the neighbor’s apartment by himself and took the shoes and the change jar. He said he gave the jar to a friend in the next building and that the other boy officers had spoken to had the shoes.
The first boy admitted that the shoes were at his apartment. Officers found them, released the first boy to his uncle, and returned the shoes to the victim.
The victim was still mad. She hadn’t given the second boy permission to go into her apartment. She didn’t even know him. She wanted him arrested.
The officer said the boy had confessed and returned the items. He said he’d cite the boy for theft and return him to his parents. The victim was satisfied with that. Mom said the boy was banned from her apartment, too.
Officers took the second boy back to his house and released him to his grandmother. Grandma said the boy had been getting into trouble lately and running away. The officer said juvenile authorities would call if charges were filed. Grandma said she understood.