Police beat: Karma threats, the trash-bin trick, and a polite drunk

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

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

March 26: The woman couldn’t find her $40, so her husband blamed the pet clinic.

The husband, 39, called a clerk at the clinic and berated her. He threatened to come to the clinic and beat her.

“I’m on my way down right now,” he said.

The clerk alerted the clinic manager, who called 911. A sheriff’s deputy picked up the dispatch call and drove to the 12300 block of Meridian East on the South Hill.

The clerk said the man had called the clinic three times. He said he would beat his wife for losing the money at the clinic, and it would be the clerk’s fault.

The clerk tried to explain that she didn’t have the money. The man said the clerk stole it, and he would come to the clinic and beat her. The man offered an additional comment on the nature of karma.

The deputy found the man’s address, and ran his name through a records check. The man, 39, had a history: domestic violence incidents that stretched back 20 years and involved five women, including his wife.

The deputy called for a backup unit. He met colleagues at an address in the 2200 block of 190th Street East. They knocked on the door. The man answered. They cuffed him.

The man said he didn’t threaten the clerk. He said his wife thought she threw $40 into the clinic garbage can by accident. The clerk denied finding any money, but the man figured she was lying. The man said he only talked about karma.

The man’s wife said she hadn’t been hurt. She said she misplaced the money at home and found it later. She said she called the clinic and explained.

Deputies booked the man into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of telephone harassment.

March 24: Hiding in a trash bin might work in action movies and video games, but real-life cops don’t follow scripts, and they’re not toggled to easy mode.

The green 1994 Lexus ripped through the 8000 block of South D Street, pulling away from the Tacoma officer, who zoomed up to 50 mph. The Lexus went faster, turned onto a side street and slipped into an alley.

The officer, blocked by traffic, eased back and watched. He knew the street grid, and soon found the Lexus parked by a garage. It looked empty at first, but the driver’s door opened. A man tumbled out.

The officer saw fear on the man’s face and told him to stop. The man ran. He was missing one shoe. The officer radioed for backup.

Seeing someone else in the Lexus, he veered from a footrace, radioed a description of the man with the missing shoe, and told the passenger to come out.

The passenger, a 29-year-old man, said he didn’t really know the driver, and was just getting a ride home. He said the driver started acting weird and freaked out when the police car started following.

Meanwhile, other officers responded to the scene and looked around. One spotted two trash bins in an alley. He walked over to one of them and gave it a shove.

The bin was heavy. The officer opened it. Inside, the fleeing driver huddled in a ball. One of his shoes was missing. Officers hauled him out.

The man, 39, said he ran because he had active arrest warrants. Officers found them after a records check. Apart from the warrants, his driver’s license was suspended. The man was booked into the Pierce County Jail on the warrants, and suspicion of obstructing law enforcement.

March 24: The polite drunk sped through the 1200 block of South Sprague Avenue. The Tacoma officer noticed, and pulled him over.

The driver, 38, chewed on a sandwich and spilled bits of it as he spoke to the officer and handed over his state ID card.

No, he didn’t have a valid driver’s license, he said. He was pretty sure it was suspended. He said he’d just left a concert at Jazzbones on 6th Avenue.

He slurred his words. His eyes watered. He said he’d had three Smirnoffs. On a 10-point scale, how drunk was he? Six or seven, the man said.

The officer ran a records check. The man was telling the truth. His license was suspended.

Would he agree to field sobriety tests? Yes. He failed them. The officer stopped running them after the one-legged stand test, not wanting the man to fall over.

The man admitted he’d had “a little too much.” He took a breath test. The numbers gave readings of .12, above the legal limit of .08. The man admitted he’d also downed six beers at the concert.

The man grew tearful. He said he’d been trying to pay off his tickets and get his license back, and now he’d set himself back.

The officer booked him into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of drunken driving, noting the man was “exceptionally cooperative, respectful and pleasant throughout this investigation.”

Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486; @seanrobinsonTNT