Crime

Police beat: Funny money, a scorned boyfriend, a classic Pierce County car chase

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

Feb. 14: Funny money can’t buy you love — or dog food.

The sheriff’s deputy responded a report of fraud at a feed store in the 15600 block of Pacific Avenue South. A clerk explained that a young man tried to buy $38 worth of dog food with a pair of obviously counterfeit $20s.

Before trying to pay, the man gave a name and a phone number to receive a store loyalty card. Then he handed over the fake bills.

The clerk told the man the money was no good. The man said his mother gave him the bills after coming from a casino. He asked if he could have the fakes back. The clerk said no.

The clerk told the man the money was no good. The man said his mother gave him the bills after coming from a casino. He asked if he could have the fakes back. The clerk said no.

The man pulled out a pair of authentic bills, took the dog food and left in a Toyota Scion. The clerk took down the license plate and called 911.

The deputy scanned a still photo of the man captured on the store’s security camera. He checked it against the information associated with the license plate and looked at a mug shot from a driver’s license.

The mug and the security photo didn’t match. The officer checked records against the name the man had given to the clerk and got a hit. The man had been involved in a similar incident involving fake money in 2008. A separate, more recent booking photo from the Pierce County Jail provided a second match.

The deputy took the fake bills into evidence and filed a report for further investigation.

Feb. 16: The woman loudly said she was fine. Her meaningful head bobs said she wasn’t.

Two Tacoma officers responding to a reported domestic violence call spoke to her in a hotel room in the 8800 block of South Hosmer Street. The dispatch call had reported a couple yelling and fighting.

The woman, 31, said she was OK, but kept shaking her head to indicate the opposite.

Was she alone?

Yes, she said — but she shook her her head and tilted it toward the bathroom. Someone was inside, behind a closed door.

Officers knocked and told the person to come out. The person was reluctant. Officers opened the door. They found a man, 36, who said he was just talking to his girlfriend.

Officers knocked and told the person to come out. The person was reluctant. Officers opened the door. They found a man, 36, who said he was just talking to his girlfriend.

A records check revealed a domestic violence no-contact order. The man was supposed to stay away from the woman.

He said he knew that, but he just wanted to talk to her. Officers arrested him and walked him outside.

“I knew I was going to be arrested anyway because I’m not supposed to be around her,” he said.

The woman said a friend had booked the hotel room for her. The friend had told her the man was pacing around outside. Eventually he came to her room and walked in.

The woman told him he had to leave. The man didn’t. He wanted to talk about their breakup. She didn’t. The man got louder. The woman called 911, she said.

Officers booked the man into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of violating the court order.

Feb. 16: The mix was classic Pierce County — a speeding 2001 Crown Victoria, a fleeing driver, and who-me passengers packing meth pipes.

The chase started when sheriff’s deputies spotted the car speeding through a school zone in the 1000 block of 168th Street East at 11:20 a.m.

The deputies followed and ran the license plate during the pursuit. A hit came back: The car’s license had expired in November 2015.

Deputies flicked on their emergency lights. The car kept going. A passenger in the back turned around to look. The car took an abrupt turn, cutting off another vehicle and nearly causing a collision. The deputies turned on the siren.

The car pulled into a cul-de-sac. As it slowed, the driver jumped out and ran, leaving the car running. It slow-rolled into a parked trailer.

The car pulled into a cul-de-sac. As it slowed, the driver jumped out and ran, leaving the car running. It slow-rolled into a parked trailer.

One deputy chased the driver, who scaled a few fences and disappeared. The second deputy spoke to the passengers, both men, 27 and 59. He also spotted a meth pipe in the front passenger door, and another in one of the men’s pockets.

The men pleaded ignorance about the pipes. Deputies asked about the driver who fled. The older man said he didn’t really know the guy. The younger man said the driver gave him a ride, and he had no idea why the man wouldn’t stop.

The older man said he warned the driver to stop, but the man didn’t listen.

The younger man added that he didn’t realize the deputies were law enforcement officers during the chase, despite the flashing lights and sirens. The deputy called him a liar.

The younger man was carrying a check with someone else’s name on it — a signature, but no amount or date. The deputy asked why.

The man said the check was given to him. Then he said he found the check and was planning to return it.

The deputy called a phone number associated with the name on the check. The man who answered said he didn’t know the passenger in the car and hadn’t given him a check.

Additional searching of the car revealed records with the driver’s name. His license was suspended, and he was supposed to have an ignition interlock on any car he drove. No such device was present.

The missing driver also had three separate warrants for his arrest — one for assault.

Deputies booked the younger man into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of possessing drug paraphernalia, identity theft and possession of stolen property. The older man was released. The search for the missing driver was still active as of Friday.

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