Crime

Police Beat: A sting, a traffic-stopper and jury-rigged juice

Oct. 1: The sting snared three women.

They were working the Pacific Avenue corridor between the 7200 block and the 9600 block — a known haunt. It was early evening, the peak of the homeward commute.

The first woman was 34. She stood near a bus stop, trading glances with passing drivers.

An officer in an unmarked car caught her eye. She walked to his passenger window. He rolled it down and said he was looking for a girlfriend.

The woman asked if that meant a date. The officer said yes, and asked if the woman was working. She said she was.

The officer said he had $20. The woman said she needed more: at least $40. That would pay for low-level action. The officer said he’d get the money and come back.

Instead, he relayed intel over the radio. Another officer in a marked car arrested the woman. She said she’d been working the corridor for a year.

The second woman was 27. She walked over to an officer parked in the 7800 block. He rolled down the passenger window.

The woman asked if she could get in. The officer asked if she was working. She said she was, opened the door, sat down and asked what he was looking for.

The officer named an act. The woman said she could do it, and named a price.

The officer sent a prearranged signal to officers nearby. They arrested the woman. She said she needed money and a place to stay.

The third woman was 41. She was sitting on the sidewalk, watching drivers. An officer drove by in an unmarked car and met her eye. He parked at a nearby gas station.

The officer noticed a man on a bicycle near the woman. He looked to be in his mid-20s, with a Mohawk haircut. The woman talked to the man for a moment, and walked over.

“Is that your boyfriend?” the officer asked.

The woman said it was. The officer asked if she was working even though she had a boyfriend. The woman said she was.

“Do you work for him?”

“I work for myself,” the woman said, and got into the passenger seat.

She said she couldn’t do anything while Mohawk was watching. She named an act and a price.

The officer agreed and asked her to meet him a block away. Mohawk was making him nervous, he said. The woman agreed, stepped out of the car, said a few words to Mohawk, and walked on.

The officer drove ahead, sent a prearranged signal and waited. A second officer in a patrol car flagged the woman down and started the arrest. At first, the woman pulled away. Ultimately, she gave in.

Mohawk circled the area on his bike. Officers didn’t talk to him.

The woman had an active anti-prostitution order that banned her from the corridor. She was violating it.

Officers booked all three women into the Fife City Jail on suspicion of soliciting prostitution.

Sept. 30: The man aimed his rage at passing cars, then stepped into the middle of the road and stopped traffic in the 3700 block of Pacific Avenue.

That was a problem; Pacific Avenue is a main drag. An officer drove to the spot, not far from the county Medical Examiner’s Office. Three people standing at a bus stop pointed in the same direction. They said the traffic disruptor was a heavyset man in his 50s, with a black jacket and black pants.

The officer looked around. He saw good-sized rocks in the road. Glancing toward the examiner’s office, he saw a heavyset man in his 50s step out from a bush; black jacket, black pants.

The officer rolled his car forward. The man saw him, shouted a curse, and said, “You took my son! I’m not talking to you!”

The officer stepped out of the car and told the man to sit down. The man ignored him and walked back into traffic. Passing cars stopped as he crossed the street.

The officer, back in his car, rolled forward again and told the man to stop. The man cursed, flipped a finger and walked back into the middle of the road.

The officer stepped out of his car again and walked toward the man, who turned and shouted.

“What, are you going to shoot me? Put your flashlight away and fight me.”

The man’s fists were clenched. He puffed his chest. The officer told him he was under arrest and told him to sit down.

The man refused. The officer took him down with a leg sweep and a push, and cuffed him. The officer booked the man into the Fife City Jail on suspicion of obstructing traffic, obstructing a police officer and resisting arrest.

At the jail, the man said, “I walked away from you because I didn’t want to talk to you. I only talk to the FBI.”

Sept. 30: The juice from Tacoma Power isn’t free — but that never stops the innovators.

The call came to a Tacoma officer through a city code enforcement inspector. Someone had jury-rigged a cut-in through a Tacoma Power meter.

The address in the 1000 block of East 60th Street had no power, officially speaking. The bill had gone unpaid for too long. The officer and the inspector took a look at the uncovered meter and noticed an attached set of jumper cables — forbidden juice. A friendly black Lab watched and wagged its tail.

The officer knocked on the door. A 39-year-old woman answered. She said she was the property owner. She let him in.

Was anyone else inside the house?

Yes, the woman said.

Three men came out of separate bedrooms. They said they were sleeping and didn’t hear the knock at the door. One of them looked high; his words slurred.

The woman said she knew the utility shut off her power. The men said they were helping the woman with household chores and spending the night.

Two of the men had active arrest warrants. The officer told them they were under arrest. The inspector told the woman the house couldn’t be occupied and that the city would board it up.

The officer tried to book the two men into the Fife City Jail, but the jail wouldn’t take them; the warrants came from Pierce County District Court, outside the bounds of the city’s jail contract with Fife.

The officer took the men to the Pierce County Jail and booked them on the arrest warrants.

  Comments