Police beat: A rummager, a crime of hygiene and a loud stranger

KIRO-TV file

Oct. 9: The man called “Midnight” hunted for a stray smoke in the ashtray on the porch; but it wasn’t his porch, and it wasn’t his ashtray.

Both belonged to the apartment resident, warming up his car in the driveway. The man noticed the stranger rummaging, and called to him to get off the porch.

Midnight — that was his street name — looked toward the resident and lifted his shirt, exposing a gun in his waistband.

“Do we have a problem?” Midnight asked.

The resident, 21, said no, but the man needed to get off the porch.

“If we have a problem, we have a problem,” Midnight said, before mounting a bicycle and pedaling away.

The resident called police, and reported a threat with a weapon. Four officers drove to the apartment complex in the 2300 block of South 96th Street. They found him in an alley. One officer raised a gun and ordered Midnight to surrender. He did.

Midnight was 40. He dropped the gun on the ground. An officer examined it. It was loaded with BBs, but it looked lethal.

Midnight gave his name. A records check revealed he was a convicted felon, but he had no active arrest warrants. He was willing to answer questions.

He said he was looking for a cigarette butt. He didn’t mention the BB gun. He said he argued with the apartment resident, but that was all.

He said he ran from the scene because he was just “going with the crowd,” though there was no crowd in the area. He said he used to live at the apartment.

Officers booked him into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of intimidation with a weapon.

Oct. 8: It was a crime of hygiene. The culprit was a serial laundress.

The elderly couple kept a washer and dryer in the garage. Lately, they had noticed some of the soap was missing.

At about 1:15 a.m., the husband, 83, peeked out the window and noticed someone stepping out of the garage. Checking the dryer revealed a full load that included someone else’s clothes.

Officers drove to the 3500 block of East Portland Avenue. They found a woman, 39, sitting on a bench in the carport. She was shoeless, and she rambled.

What was she doing there? She wouldn’t answer.

Where were her shoes? In the dryer, she said.

The man said he didn’t know the woman and didn’t give her permission to come on his property, let alone use the washer and dryer.

Officers took the woman to the Pierce County Jail, but the staff refused to book her due to her odd behavior. Officers cited the woman for trespassing and released her to the streets.

Oct. 6: The boy, 14, was headed to a nearby school to pick up his little brother when the stranger started yelling at him.

“Come here!” the stranger shouted.

The boy said he had to go pick up his little brother and kept walking.

“You don’t have to worry about your little brother,” the stranger shouted. “Come here!”

The boy refused. The man said he would grab the boy, and swiped at his backpack. The boy dropped the backpack, ran, and called police. Officers found him near South 25th and South Wilkeson streets.

They listened to the boy’s story and asked questions: had the stranger said anything sexual? Offered anything?

No, the boy said.

What did the boy think the stranger was going to do?

“Something bad,” the boy said.

Officers spoke to witnesses who had seen the encounter. The stories matched.

They arrested the stranger, a 20-year-old man who refused to a give a statement and behaved oddly. The man failed booking at the Pierce County Jail (read: refused to cooperate), where he was placed in a holding cell on suspicion of misdemeanor assault.