Police Beat: Smooth moves, a coffee-drenched punch and a false report

Editor’s note: Compiled from reports to Tacoma police.

Jan. 8: In the back of the patrol car, the Tacoma man kicked himself, listing his mistakes. It was hard to find an unchecked box.

He had five prior felony convictions and a suspended driver’s license. Yet he drove to a shopping center parking lot in a car that didn’t belong to him, with a gun-storage box on the floor in front of the passenger seat.

A Tacoma police officer drove to the 1800 block of South Cedar Street, following up on a tip from a Lakewood officer who said the man might be dealing guns out of the car.

The officer spotted the car, a white 1997 Mustang, and saw the man getting inside. As the officer drove up, the Mustang pulled away. The officer flicked on lights and siren and followed.

The man didn’t stop. He zigged and zagged through traffic for five blocks, pulled into an alley, locked the car and ran. The officer chased on foot and caught the man, who didn’t resist.

The man was 38. He said he was “looking for a place to safely pull over,” the report states. He said he decided to stop at his house. The officer checked records and found no evidence the man lived there.

The officer looked at the Mustang, and noticed the gun-storage box inside. By this time, the Lakewood officer had arrived.

The man carried no identification. He said he was confused. He said he was afraid his friend had reported the vehicle as stolen.

Why would the friend do that?

“Just ’cause,” the man replied.

The man wouldn’t give his friend’s name. The officer arrested him and drove to the Fife City Jail. On the way, the man talked, berating himself.

He said he never should have borrowed the car. He said he never should have been driving. The officer booked him into the jail on suspicion of driving with a suspended license. The Lakewood officer took charge of the Mustang.

Jan. 8: The price for talking back to a schoolmate was a coffee-drenching and a punch to the face.

Tacoma officers picked up the call — a reported assault at a convenience store. They drove to the 1000 block of South 38th Street and found a mother and three teenagers in a blue minivan.

One teen, a 14-year-old girl, had a lump on her forehead and wet coffee on her clothes. She told the officers she’d been sitting in the passenger seat with the window down while her mother shopped.

A boy the girl knew walked by the window and said, “Boo!” Moments later, the boy’s brother, 17, came out of the convenience store and confronted the girl, angry that she’d spoken to the brother.

He called her a name and threw a cup of coffee through the window at the girl. She stepped out of the minivan. The 17-year-old punched her in the face.

Officers spoke to the girl’s two friends, who were also sitting in the minivan. They backed up the girl’s story. They named the 17-year-old, and said he’d fled to a nearby house.

Officers knew the name from prior contacts. They drove to the house and spoke to the 17-year-old’s sister, who let them in. After a brief search, they found the 17-year-old boy hiding under a bed.

He was arrested and booked into Remann Hall on suspicion of misdemeanor assault.

Jan. 5: The gambler argued with a trio of men at the casino, figured they followed him, and made one more foolish bet.

The dispatch call came in as a reported armed robbery at an auto parts store, involving three men with guns. Officers rolled to an address in the 4000 block of Pacific Avenue.

They walked into the store and saw no sign of a robbery; just two men standing by the counter. One was an employee. The other, a customer, was 37. The customer had reported the robbery.

Officers asked the store clerk if anything was wrong. The clerk said everything was fine, but the customer seemed to be having a problem.

Moments later, two more officers walked into the store and called to the customer by name. He’d been involved in an earlier call, reporting that several people were following him from the casino.

One officer asked the man what was going on. He said he thought one of the people who had argued with him followed him to the store.

Why had he called in an armed robbery?

“I needed you here fast,” the man said.

Officers told the man he was under arrest for making a false report. They said he should have told the truth instead of alleging a robbery.

The man admitted he hadn’t seen anyone with a gun. Officers pointed out that he’d reported three people with guns.

“Yeah, you’re right,” the man said. “I did say that, but I changed my story later.”

Officers booked the man into the Fife jail.