Police beat: Loud music, $5 bill and a car riding the rails

Staff file

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

Sept. 8: The music blared for half a block, and the man wouldn’t turn it down, even for police.

Officers responded to a noise disturbance call in the 600 block of South 92nd Street, shortly after 1 a.m. Two neighbors had called to say the resident refused to turn down the tunes and yelled at those who asked.

The patrol car pulled up. Officers heard the thumping rhythm. They flicked the emergency lights to advertise their presence and saw a man sitting on the front porch, next to a boom box. He matched the description given by callers: 40ish, heavyset, wearing dark clothing.

Officers walked up to the porch. The man looked at them without moving and smoked. They told him several times to turn the music down. The man refused. An officer warned the man he would be arrested if he kept refusing. The man turned the volume dial a little, barely reducing the noise.

Officers told the man to put down the cigarette and stand up; he was under arrest. The man refused. A short wrestle followed, and the officers took the man to a patrol car.

Officers spoke to the witnesses who had called. They said the man had been playing the music for the last six hours. Asked repeatedly to turn it down, he would drop the volume, shout threats at the neighbors and turn it back up. The neighbors said this had been going on all summer.

In the patrol car, the man complained that police had no right to arrest him. He smelled like liquor. Officers reminded him he’d been given multiple chances to turn down the music. The man kept saying the arrest was illegal.

Officers booked the man into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of creating a public disturbance.

Sept. 8: The fleeing couple couldn’t explain why they were holding a pair of duffel bags that didn’t belong to them; a “crisp” $5 bill clinched the arrest.

Multiple officers responded to a reported theft near a bus stop in the 2100 block of South A Street. The caller said he’d been riding the bus and two people walked off with his duffel bags.

The two people were walking away from the bus stop when officers spotted them. One was a man, 35, wearing a gray shirt and shorts. The other was a woman, 40. The couple carried a backpack and two duffel bags. They identified themselves when officers asked for their names, though the man gave different first names and had no identification.

Had they just been on a bus? They had, they said.

The woman said she’d gotten off the bus and inadvertently picked up a duffel bag that wasn’t hers. She said she didn’t realize she’d done it.

At the same moment, a third man, 43, rushed up to officers: the 911 caller. He pointed to the couple. He said he’d been riding the bus and watching a movie on his phone. The couple had been sitting nearby. When they left the bus, the man realized his bags had been taken.

The man said he got off at the next stop, backtracked to the couple and found them with his bags. He confronted them, and they returned the bags. The man checked the contents, and found his money was missing: $23 in cash. The man said one bill was distinctive: a “crisp” five-dollar bill his wife had given him that morning.

Officers searched the couple. They found a crisp bill in the pocket of the man’s shorts. The woman’s story of accidentally picking up the bag didn’t sound right. They cited her for misdemeanor theft and released her at the scene, and booked the man into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of misdemeanor theft.

Sept. 7: No matter how appealing the idea seems, cars just don’t run on train tracks.

The 2001 Jeep Cherokee was stalled for good on the rail tracks in the 1600 block of Taylor Way. The tires on the right side had peeled off. The rims were wrecked. Deployed air bags cushioned the driver, who sat behind the wheel, his engine still running.

Officers arrived and saw two bystanders talking to the driver. The witnesses, workers at a nearby business, said they saw the car riding the tracks. The Jeep had fishtailed, nearly flipped and ground to a stop. The driver had asked witnesses for “the best way out of here.”

Officers spoke to the driver. He was 32. He smelled of alcohol and spoke slowly, but refused to say whether he’d been drinking. First he said his address was in Milton, then Fife. He said he was trying to get to “the boat” when he tangled himself on the railroad tracks.

He refused to submit to voluntary tests to see whether he was impaired. Officers cuffed him and packed him into a patrol car.

The man refused to answer questions without a lawyer. Officers tried to book him into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of drunken driving, but the jail wasn’t accepting drunken drivers that night. They cited the man and took him to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma for treatment.