Crime

Police beat: Illegal dining, a social media feud and an assertive shoplifter

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

Oct. 24: The booking charge was theft. A better description would have been illegal dining.

The dispatch call said a man ordered $35 worth of food and drinks, polished it off and wandered into the bathroom. He was refusing to leave.

Tacoma officers drove to the restaurant in the 2300 block of South Union Avenue and spoke to the manager, who gave more details. Presented with a check, the man didn’t pay, walked into the bathroom and stayed there. This wasn’t the first time, the manager said. She wanted him arrested and banned from the place.

Presented with a check, the man didn’t pay, walked into the bathroom and stayed there. This wasn’t the first time, the manager said. She wanted him arrested and banned from the place.

Officers went to the bathroom and found the man, who smelled like liquor, slurred his words and said he couldn’t pay the bill. He was cuffed and booked into the Pierce County Jail. Prior records revealed earlier cases of dining for free and resulting theft charges.

Oct. 24: The social media feud between the two teenage girls raged back and forth for a year before it spilled into a Bonney Lake cul-de-sac.

Sheriff’s deputies answering a call of a reported fight drove to the 21800 block of 130th Street East and found a milling crowd.

Sorting out the story took time and multiple statements from excited neighbors and witnesses, who said a car had driven into the cul-de-sac, sparking a confrontation that led to shouting, people pounding the car and the car backing into someone before it sped away.

One man explained that his daughter had been feuding with another girl on social media for a year, and the two had agreed to meet nearby and fight. Other teens had gathered, turning the encounter into a yelling free-for-all between factions.

The man said he tried to break up the fight and make his daughter leave, without success. The man returned home and called 911, he said.

One man explained that his daughter had been feuding with another girl on social media for a year, and the two had agreed to meet nearby and fight. Other teens had gathered, turning the encounter into a yelling free-for-all between factions.

At that point, a red Jeep had driven into the cul-de-sac. The people inside yelled at the man’s house. The nearby crowd swarmed the Jeep. Witnesses said the driver gunned the engine and struck one of the teens as it pulled away.

Taking down names, statements, license numbers and addresses, deputies eventually tracked the Jeep to an address a few blocks away. Scuffs and smears of mud and grime, consistent with the description of the incident, were all over it.

Deputies spoke to a woman, 73, who was listed as the registered owner. The woman said the car couldn’t have been used in the incident; she said she’d been driving it all day.

Did anyone else have permission to use the car?

No, the woman said.

The deputy showed her the smears and the scuffs. Were these new?

The woman said the marks had been there for weeks. The deputy said they looked new. The woman walked back to her house.

The deputy mentioned a few names: the young people involved in the earlier scrum. The woman said she knew one of them, but didn’t know anything about the incident.

Deputies left briefly, and spoke to some of the participants in the fight. They gave the name of the kid who had been driving the Jeep — it was the woman’s grandson.

Officers went back to the house and spoke to the woman again. She said she hadn’t seen her grandson in months. She said no one had driven her car today.

Deputies told the woman she was obstructing their investigation. Where was her grandson?

The woman wouldn’t say. Deputies told her she was under arrest and cuffed her. A brief struggle followed. She called for help and refused to answer questions.

At that point, her grandson, 18, emerged from behind the house. He said his grandmother didn’t do anything wrong and it was all his fault.

A records check revealed three no-contact orders against the boy, all of them filed by the grandmother. Deputies cuffed him. The boy and his grandmother were booked into the Pierce County Jail — the grandmother on suspicion of obstructing an officer, the boy on suspicion of vehicular assault and violating a no-contact order.

Oct. 21: Pop quiz: You’re pondering a shoplifting caper at a local bicycle store. How do you proceed?

A) Enter the shop and keep a low profile.

B) Enter the shop, ask a clerk to point out the priciest merchandise, and start stuffing items in your pockets.

The Sumner man, 37, chose Option B. Two employees were working at the store in the 5800 block of South Sprague Court when the man walked in and asked a clerk to identify the most expensive items.

A few moments later, an employee noticed the man grabbing items and hiding them under his clothes. The employee confronted the man, who put the stuff down.

Two employees were working at the store in the 5800 block of South Sprague Avenue when the man walked in and asked a clerk to identify the most expensive items. A few moments later, an employee noticed the man grabbing items and hiding them under his clothes.

Another customer entered, creating a momentary distraction. Out of the corner of his eye, the employee noticed the man grab a pair of gloves, slip them into his pocket and walk out the door. The employee called 911.

Tacoma officers picked up the call and a description of the man’s car. They spotted it near Tacoma Mall and stopped it in a parking lot.

Asked for identification, the man provided a temporary paper card with a name and a date of birth. He also said he’d just eaten “two grams of heroin.” Officers called for medical aid.

A search revealed the missing gloves. The man wasn’t answering questions and appeared to be sleeping.

A woman who had been found in the car with the man said she didn’t know what went on inside the store or why the man initially didn’t stop for officers.

A records check on the man revealed no warrants; the only possible charge was the suspected shoplifting. The man was transported to a local hospital by an emergency medical team while an officer stayed behind to handle the impound of the car.

The officer found a wallet the man had dropped. It held a plastic state identification card with the man’s face and a name, and another paper card with the man’s face and another name. Both were different from the paper card the man had given the officer.

Examining the paper cards more closely, the officer noticed an odd font. He suspected fakes. The woman pointed to the correct name on the plastic card. The officer ran another records check. Hits came back: three separate arrest warrants, plus a notification that the man was out on bail following charges of forgery and possessing stolen property.

The officer picked up another alert: The man had already walked out of the hospital where he had been taken for treatment. A search went nowhere. The man was gone.

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