Crime

Tacoma man arrested after standoff charged with robbery

A Tacoma man who caused a stir last week when he refused to surrender to a police SWAT team has been charged with robbery and burglary and also is being investigated for multiple counts of car theft.

Jhon Thornock, 27, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two counts of first-degree robbery and one count of residential burglary. Superior Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered Thornock jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Thornock was being sought on a number of arrest warrants Friday when he hid in a house in the 1100 block of South Ridgewood Avenue and refused to come out for several hours. A SWAT team eventually fired tear gas into the home.

Then Tacoma police officers forced their way inside and found Thornock in the attic.

“The defendant was contacted and was pale, sweaty and high on methamphetamine,” court records show.

Charging papers filed Tuesday accuse Thornock of a home-invasion-style robbery Nov. 22 and a car theft Dec. 6 in which a man was threatened with violence if he didn’t surrender his vehicle, court records show.

In the Nov. 22 case, a man told police he was in his apartment in the 600 block of South Steele Street when two men kicked open his door and rushed inside. One of the men pointed a gun at him and demanded his car keys and wallet, court records show. The bandits also took his television, the records show.

The victim, who had met Thornock at least once, recognized him as one of the robbers, court records show.

In the Dec. 6 case, a different man told police he was sitting in his parked car outside a store in the 3700 block of Pacific Avenue when a man approached him and asked for a cigarette.

When the driver replied that he didn’t smoke, the second man told him to give up his car or that he’d be shot, court records show. The robber then gestured as if he had a gun, and the driver surrendered his vehicle.

The victim later picked Thornock out of a photo montage as the man who robbed him, the records show.

Thornock was charged earlier this month with two counts of car theft for alleged stealing two vehicles. In one case, he allegedly led police on a chase where speeds reached 110 mph before he abandoned the car and ran away, records show.

He pleaded not guilty in those two cases, as well.

“The state of Washington is still in the process of gathering information from local law enforcement agencies related to the defendant’s conduct,” deputy prosecutor Hugh Birgenheier wrote in charging documents. “The state reserves the right to amend this information or to file additional informations once all the investigations are complete.”

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