Tacoma woman armed with steak knife allegedly burglarizes neighbors’ homes

Clara Mayes was banging on her neighbors’ front doors Tuesday but they don’t know why, police reported.

Three neighbors told police the 52-year-old Tacoma woman forced her way into their homes and rummaged through their stuff, wielding a steak knife and wearing a “thousand yard stare,” according to court records.

Pierce County prosecutors charged Mayes with two counts of first-degree burglary, first-degree attempted burglary and second-degree malicious mischief. She pleaded not guilty Wednesday and was jailed in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Court papers gave this account:

The trouble happened at the Willow Park apartments, 2100 112th St. S.

It began when a woman heard pounding on her door and opened it. Seeing Mayes with a knife she immediately shut the door and held it closed as Mayes allegedly tried to kick her way inside.

The woman, who recognized Mayes, later said it was like she “was possessed or on drugs.”

Mayes then went to another neighbor’s door and began kicking. The neighbor opened the door to ask what was wrong and Mayes came inside, allegedly swinging the knife aimlessly.

She rummaged through her neighbors’ belongings and chased her dogs outside before leaving.

The third victim called 911 as soon as she heard someone trying to break in. She was on the phone with dispatchers when Mayes allegedly kicked in her door and began looking around.

She opened the door to the refrigerator and checked the bedroom and bathroom before leaving.

Police arrested Mayes outside one of the apartments.

“After she was read her Miranda warnings, the defendant just gave deputies a blank look and did not respond,” documents stated.