Lakewood police decline to arrest man, so he allegedly robs store

Maurice Barb warned them.

The 45-year-old man told Lakewood police early Friday he wanted to go to jail.

That was after officers were called by a taxi driver who complained that Barb wouldn’t pay his fare or get out of the cab.

“The defendant explained that he would not get out of the cab because he had no place to go,” court records show. “He told the deputy to simply take him to jail.”

Police said no.

Barb caught a ride to a nearby restaurant and 30 minutes or so later allegedly called 911 dispatchers and threatened to rob the restaurant or a gas station.

Then Barb held up a convenience store across the street by draping a jacket across his arm and pretending he was holding a gun, according to charging papers.

The clerk told police the robber took money from the register and left.

Later that day, Barb turned himself in to Department of Veterans Affairs police and told them he was wanted for robbery. This time, Lakewood police obliged Barb and arrested him.

Pierce County prosecutors charged him with first-degree robbery.

Records show he has two prior robbery convictions in Washington and California.

Prosecutors said that if Barb is convicted in this case, he will fall under the state’s three-strikes law and face a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.