Alleged tire thieves suspected of stealing dozens of spares from Pierce Transit vehicles

A King County man suspected of stealing dozens of spare tires from Pierce Transit vanpool vehicles has been charged with numerous felonies for allegedly taking tires from several privately owned pickups in Pierce County, court records show.

Jacob Benjamin Alvarez, a 34-year-old Des Moines resident, pleaded not guilty Friday in Superior Court to the latest charges filed against him - attempted first-degree trafficking in stolen property and third-degree theft.

Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered him jailed in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Alvarez also is charged in the theft of multiple spare tires from a Dodge dealership in Fife earlier this year.

He’s pleaded not guilty in that case and was out of jail on his own recognizance pending trial when he was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of stealing the spares from two Dodge pickups parked at the Sound Transit Lakewood Station, court records show.

Surveillance footage from Tuesday showed a man later identified as Alvarez leaving a Cadillac Escalade, climbing under two pickups and stealing the spare tires, the records show. The man tried to steal the spare from a third Dodge pickup but was unsuccessful.

Pierce County prosecutors wrote in court documents that Alvarez and his girlfriend, Jamillie Ahlgren of Seattle, also are being investigated for a series of spare-tire thefts from vanpool vehicles in Pierce and King counties.

“Ahlgren stated they have stolen over 40 spare tires from Pierce Transit vanpool vans and admitted they have stolen about the same amount from King County transit vehicles as well,” deputy prosecutor Jennifer Hernandez wrote in charging papers.

Ahlgren is charged with second-degree theft and other counts in the thefts from the Fife Dodge dealership. She’s pleaded not guilty in that case and posted $7,500 bail in May, records show. Deputies said she was with Alvarez during the thefts from the Lakewood Station but she has not yet been charged in that case.

Sheriff’s deputies who have been investigating the vanpool thefts for some time “became aware of a number of Craigslist ads for tires” and contacted the phone number listed in the posts, the records show.

They made arrangements with a man named “Jake” to meet this week at the Pierce Transit park-and-ride near state Route 512 and South Tacoma Way to talk business, the records state.

It presumably was at that meeting that Alvarez was arrested, although the court records aren’t clear on that point.

Deputies also interviewed Ahlgren, who allegedly told them that “every day since January the two go out and steal anywhere from four to eight tires daily,” court records show. “Ahlgren explained to officers that she and the defendant have no other source of income other than stealing tires and reselling them on Craigslist.”

Ahlgren said they would collect a full set of similar tires and then advertise them for between $550 and $650, court records show.

“She said they would get two to three calls daily and sell an average of seven sets of tires weekly,” Hernandez wrote in charging papers.

Deputies served a search warrant at Alvarez’s home and recovered 17 tires, the records show.

Additional charges are expected.