Police beat: A fugitive swimmer, an angry neighbor and an unpaid tab


Editor’s note: Compiled from reports to Tacoma police and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

Aug. 12: It’s not illegal to swim in your tighty-whities, though it might be a crime against taste. More important, it’s not much of an anti-arrest strategy.

The sheriff’s deputy, on routine patrol, stopped at the Kapowsin Lake boat launch in the 29500 block of Orville Road East. He noticed a car in the lot and a goateed man next to it, tattooed and shirtless.

On a hunch, the deputy ran a license plate check. Bad wi-fi betrayed him; the dashboard computer lost reception. The deputy drove out of the lot and a little ways off to pick up a better signal.

The plate was no good. The car had been sold eight months earlier, with no transfer of the title.

The deputy drove back to the lot. The tattooed man was gone. The deputy checked with colleagues for help. Had the car been involved in any recent arrests?

It had. A booking photo came back; it matched the tattooed man. He was 23, from Puyallup. He had two active arrest warrants.

The deputies looked toward the lake. The tattooed man was in the water, wearing nothing but underwear, walking away from the shore. The deputies walked to the shoreline and shouted, telling him he was under arrest.

The tattooed man waded farther into the lake. He wouldn’t come back. He said he was going to jail for 90 days. He offered to turn himself in within three hours, but said he wanted to see his son first.

The deputies said they couldn’t do that. The tattooed man said he would come in, but only if he could talk to a deputy he named who wasn’t at the scene.

The deputies said that might be possible, but only if the man came out of the water. Meanwhile, a deputy suited up in gear to swim out and retrieve the wayward man. Another called for a team with a boat.

Eventually, the man walked to the shore, where he was arrested and cuffed. He said he ran because he was scared and knew about his warrants. He said he should have stayed in the water and made them come and get him.

He said he knew where they could find multiple stolen cars and pounds of meth and heroin. He said he knew who was planting bombs around the Puyallup area.

The deputies booked him into the Pierce County Jail on the two active arrest warrants.

Aug. 10: Security cameras don’t record your thoughts, but they have a knack for revealing actions.

The man called Tacoma officers to complain about his neighbor, who had been causing trouble since she moved into the apartment next door. Officers drove to a complex in the 3900 block of Mason Loop Road.

The man was 25. He said he and his wife obtained permission to install security cameras outside their door, following threats and vandalism. The man said the neighbor ripped the camera off the wall mount and broke the wiring.

He had footage to prove it. The officers watched. On the screen, the neighbor, a 21-year-old woman, walked up to the camera and jerked it back and forth until the screen went black.

The man showed officers the wall mount and the torn wires, as well as the damaged camera.

The neighbor told officers the man trained the cameras on her front door and she didn’t like it. She said she told him to move the camera, but the man wouldn’t. She said she was only trying to adjust the camera so it wasn’t facing her door.

The officer replied that the footage showed the camera was covering the hallway, not her front door, and that her actions didn’t look like “adjusting.”

The woman said she was angry and her adjustment might have been “aggressive.”

Officers told the woman she was under arrest. They cited her for misdemeanor malicious mischief, gave her a copy with a notice to appear in court and released her at the scene.

Aug. 9: Sometimes the amount of work required for a free meal isn’t worth it.

The two women entered the restaurant in the 4800 block of Tacoma Mall Boulevard, ordered food and drinks worth $53.09, and retreated to the restroom, where they stayed for about 45 minutes.

Eventually, one woman left the place. The other tried. The manager stopped her. The woman pulled out a pair of debit cards. Both were declined. She said she had no cash and no phone to call anyone to pay the bill.

The manager called police. An officer rolled up and spoke to the woman. She was 35.

She said her husband was supposed to come and pay for dinner but never showed up, and she didn’t know his number.

She said she didn’t know the name of the person who ate and drank with her. She said she was under illegal surveillance. She wouldn’t say how she got to the restaurant.

“I’m leaving with you,” she told the officer.

The officer guessed the woman might be drunk or high. He asked why she tried to leave without paying. The woman said she needed some air, and someone else was supposed to pay the bill.

The officer booked her into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of third-degree theft, and added that she was banned from the restaurant.