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Police Beat: A phony gun, a stolen phone, and mutual domestic destruction

Police Beat is compiled from reports to local law enforcement agencies.
Police Beat is compiled from reports to local law enforcement agencies. thinkstockphotos.com

Editor’s note: Compiled from reports to Tacoma police and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

Aug. 31: These days, trends in pellet guns favor realism. Ergo, brandishing one designed to resemble a .357 Magnum and shooting it against the side of the department store where you bought it isn’t the best idea.

The dispatch call reported two men fooling around with a gun outside the Wal-Mart at 1965 S. Union Ave. Two officers drove to the north side of the building.

The two men weren’t hiding. They sat near a planter. One of them perched on an electric shopping cart.

The officers stepped out of their patrol car and walked toward them. One man, middle-aged, stood and reached into his jacket, seemingly unaware of the approaching officers.

The man pulled something out of his pocket. It looked like a good-sized handgun.

The first officer reacted instantly, drawing his own department-issued gun with a standard draw-and-direct technique.

“Police! Drop it, drop the gun.”

Seeing the officer, the man flinched and placed the weapon in the basket of the shopping cart. The officer told him to get on the ground. The man complied.

The second officer approached the other man in the same fashion. By this time, a third officer had arrived on the scene. Soon, both men were cuffed.

The first man, 53, tried to explain himself.

“I just bought that gun,” he said. “It’s for my protection. It’s a BB gun.”

The man said he bought the gun inside the store and took it out of the packaging when he and his friend came outside. He said his friend was showing him how to fire it, but neither had pulled the trigger.

“I need it to protect myself,” the man said.

Officers took a closer look at the BB gun. It was realistic, not an obvious toy. It looked like a classic .357.

Officers ran a records check. Hits came back; the man had active misdemeanor arrest warrants. He was also carrying folding knives and a few counterfeit $100 bills. He said they were “collector’s items,” and he hadn’t tried to buy anything with the fake money.

Officers told the two men they were banned from store property. The first man was booked into the Pierce County Jail on the warrants.

Aug. 31: It’s tough to argue you don’t know anything about a stolen iPhone when it rings in your backpack.

The dispatch call came from a man who said he’d tracked his wife’s phone after it disappeared from a bowling alley in Puyallup. The phone was sending a signal that traced to a nearby tattoo parlor, and the man was following it.

Sheriff’s deputies drove to the 7500 block of State Route 162 and spoke to a man, 38, riding a bicycle and wearing a backpack.

Deputies told the man they were looking for a stolen cell phone. The man said he knew nothing about it.

Meanwhile, the husband tracking his wife’s phone showed up. Deputies asked him to check the phone’s location. The man said the phone was right next to them.

Again, deputies asked the man on the bicycle if he knew anything about a stolen phone. Again, the man said he didn’t.

The husband tracking the phone called the number. It rang. The sound came from the backpack.

The man on the bicycle caved. He said he found the phone on the Foothills Trail.

Deputies searched his backpack and found an iPad. The husband said it belonged to his wife. Deputies handed it to the husband. He turned it on and punched in the security code. The iPad screen opened.

The man on the bike said he’d found the iPad on the trail, too.

Had he been to the bowling alley?

Nowhere near it, the man said.

Deputies booked him into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of possessing stolen property.

Sept. 1: The domestic dispute ended with mutual destruction of gadgets.

The woman was 18. The man was 23. They were a couple, and they were fighting.

The dispatch call reported a verbal dispute. Two officers drove to the 1800 block of South 84th Street to sort it out.

They spoke to the woman first. She said her boyfriend was gone. She said he walked in the door at 6 a.m. after being gone all night. They’d been beefing, and she wanted him to move out.

The woman said she piled up his stuff so he could take it away. When the man came home, he saw the pile. A new fight started.

The man tried to take her phone, the woman said. He took it from her and smashed it. He left in his car.

Officers looked at the phone. The screen was shattered.

As the officers talked to the woman, the man drove up. Officers detained him.

The man admitted he’d been fighting with the woman. He said she went crazy and started breaking his stuff. She grabbed his video game console and threatened to smash it, he said, so he grabbed her phone and threatened to do the same.

She smashed the PlayStation, so he smashed her phone, he said. That led to a physical fight. The woman slapped and hit him, and tore out a chunk of his hair with her teeth. She keyed his car on the driver’s side. He drove away, he said.

Officers spoke to the woman again. They asked to see the game console. The woman showed it to them. It was falling apart. She admitted smashing it. She admitted keying the car. She said she was the co-owner of both items, so she figured she had a right to do what she wanted.

Officers booked the man and the woman into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of destruction of property related to domestic violence.

Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486 @seanrobinsonTNT
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