Police Beat: A shoplifter with plans, a crowned mom and a sleepy prowler

What happens when you call 911? Use these tips for better emergency response

Do you know what to do if you accidentally dial 911? Do you know what information is crucial in an emergency? Here's what you need to know to get the police, fire or ambulance service you need fast.
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Do you know what to do if you accidentally dial 911? Do you know what information is crucial in an emergency? Here's what you need to know to get the police, fire or ambulance service you need fast.

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

Dec. 11: The shoplifter planned a full evening of entertainment.

A grocery store employee spotted him and radioed an off-duty Tacoma officer working a security detail in the 4500 block of South 19th Street.

The shoplifter, 75, sat at a table in the deli section, next to a paper bag full of food he hadn’t paid for.

Eventually, he stood and walked to the bathroom. He browsed in the electronics section, came back, picked up the bag and headed for the exit.

The officer stopped him. Together, the pair walked to the loss-prevention office.

The paper bag contained two bottles of soda, two bags of chips, a bag of fried chicken and a serving of mashed potatoes.

The man said he was hungry. As the officer frisked him, three DVDs fell out of his coat pocket. The man said he wanted to watch movies.

He had $10 and a food stamp card. He said he didn’t want to use the money or the card because it wasn’t enough to pay for what he wanted.

The officer found a bottle of Rich and Rare whiskey in the man’s coat. The man admitted taking it. He said he had a drinking problem.

The store employee told the man he was being trespassed from the grocery store forever. The man said he understood and signed a form saying so. The officer booked the man into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of third-degree theft and a set of prior arrest warrants.

Dec. 8: The launch had failed, and Mom reminded her son one more time. For that, she got crowned by his girlfriend.

The dispatch call reported domestic violence. Two sheriff’s deputies drove to the 1000 block of Violet Meadow Street. They spoke to a woman who said the back of her head was bleeding. She thought she’d been stabbed, but she wasn’t sure.

Empty cans of Budweiser littered the living room. The deputies guessed the woman had drained at least some of them. Her speech was slurred. She said she’d had a few.

She said she’d argued with her son earlier. He was 28, still living at home. What was he going to do with his life?

At that point, the son’s girlfriend knocked the woman to the ground and hit her in the back of the head with something.

Deputies spoke to the son and the girlfriend. The son said his mother always got brave when she drank and always harped on his failures. They argued, and she trailed him down the hall. That was when the girlfriend stepped in.

The girlfriend admitted it. She said she smacked Mom twice in the back of the head with a bottle of apple-flavored Crown Royal.

Deputies checked the mother for injuries. She refused treatment. They booked the girlfriend into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of misdemeanor assault.

Dec. 8: The car prowler tried to say someone gave him the backpack. The story fell apart quickly.

The dispatch call came from the 6800 block of 166th Avenue East, near Sumner. The caller said someone was sleeping in his car in his driveway.

In the midst of the call, the prowler woke, and the owner yelled at him. The man walked away, carrying a black backpack.

Deputies drove to the scene. They soon found the prowler, walking on the side of the road away from the listed address. He was rummaging through the backpack.

The deputies stopped him and cuffed him. The man, 29, admitted he woke up in someone’s car. He said he fell asleep there after partying at the house. He didn’t know whose car it was. Some guy had chased him away.

Deputies took the backpack. All the zippers were open. They took it back to the address. The man identified it, along with the black shoes inside.

Other items were missing, including sweats and a t-shirt. The prowler was wearing them.

In the midst of the incident, the deputies spoke to a Sumner police officer who said the man had been involved in an earlier incident at a grocery store. He’d been threatening people and ran into the street where a car hit him, and he’d bashed the windshield.

Deputies asked the prowler about the incident. He said he remembered it. He refused medical treatment. Deputies guessed he was coming down from a drug-induced high.

They asked him how he could have been sleeping in the car all day if he’d been at the grocery store earlier. The man said he was concussed.

What about the backpack?

The man said someone gave it to him. The deputies told him he’d been seen taking it out of the car. The man said that couldn’t be right, then changed his story and admitted taking it, blaming his concussion.

The deputies took the man to his home, where his parents lived, and told him the incident would be forwarded to county prosecutors for a possible charging decision.

News Tribune investigative reporter Sean Robinson won the 2016 Ted Natt First Amendment award for ongoing scrutiny of the Pierce County Prosecutor’s office. Since 2000, he has produced award-winning coverage related to criminal justice, government accountability and public disclosure.