Crime

Police beat: Duffel bag bash, a hidden floor hatch, a long limo ride

Staff file

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

Oct. 14: The woman pushed a stroller and walked with a toddler. She told the officer that a tall man with a red duffel bag had assaulted her at the bus stop.

The officer was working off-duty security at the transit center at 930 Commerce St. The woman pointed to a nearby restroom. The man went in there, she said.

As she spoke, the tall man came out.

“That’s him,” the woman said.

The officer approached. The man barked.

“I didn’t assault her,” he said. “Since when is it against the law to accidentally bump into someone?”

The man was 40 — 6 feet, 3 inches tall, 270 pounds. The officer told him to have a seat. The man tried to walk away. The officer told him to stop and called for backup.

Two more officers arrived. Soon, the man was cuffed.

The first officer returned to the woman, who told the rest of her story: She was walking on one of the transit center ramps, pushing her stroller. The man stood in front of her.

The woman said she said, “Excuse me,” but the man had ignored her. She had rolled past the man, who swung the duffel bag and hit her in the arm.

A witness had seen part of the incident, but not all. The witness said the woman had passed the tall man on the ramp and started yelling. The man had answered with an obscenity.

Officers spoke to the tall man again. He refused to say anything. They booked him into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of misdemeanor assault.

Oct. 14: The man knew he was wanted, and so did his girlfriend.

He was a convicted sex offender with two active arrest warrants, one for failing to register. Four officers drove to his last known address in the 6400 block of South K Street.

The man wasn’t there. His girlfriend answered the door and said the man was at work and should be home soon. She said police had looked for the man yesterday, but he hadn’t been there.

Did the man have a cellphone? No, the girlfriend said. There was no way to contact him. He would come home when he was finished with work.

Officers left and came back three hours later. It was 9:40 p.m. Outside, they saw a friend of the offender, who said the man was inside.

Two officers covered the back side of the house. Two more spoke to the girlfriend. She said the man wasn’t home and hadn’t been home. No, she said again — he had no cellphone and she couldn’t contact him.

Yes, she said — officers could search the house. They went inside. In the laundry room, they found a hidden hatch in the floor, covered by a rug. It led to a crawlspace, which led to the backyard.

The officers heard another officer outside, telling someone to get on the ground. It was the offender. He’d climbed over the backyard fence, not knowing police were there.

The offender carried three cellphones. He said his girlfriend had texted him and called earlier to say police were looking for him, so he ran.

Officers asked the man about the hidden floor hatch. The man asked who had snitched about that. He said he’d used the hatch the other day when police were looking for him.

Officers told the woman she could be arrested for obstructing officers. She denied contacting her boyfriend. Officers booked him into the Pierce County Jail on the active warrants.

Oct. 11: It was a long limo ride, close to an hour — all the way from the Snoqualmie Casino to the 4300 block of South Thompson Avenue in Tacoma.

The subsequent ride to the Pierce County Jail was shorter.

The dispatch call came from the limo driver, who was standing outside the Tacoma address. The driver said his passenger, a 33-year-old man, had stepped out of the casino, flagged the limo and asked for a ride home.

The fare was steep: $120. At the end of the ride, the passenger had stepped out, handed a state ID card to the driver, said he had no way of paying, and walked into the house, the driver said.

Officers ran a background check on the passenger’s ID card. Hits came back: three misdemeanor arrest warrants for drunken driving and driving with a suspended license, with bail set at $50,000.

They knocked on the door. A woman answered. Officers asked if the man was inside.

“He’s upstairs,” she said. “Do you want to come in?”

The woman said the man came home drunk and went to bed. She led the officers to his room.

The man woke up. He smelled like liquor. Officers told him why they were there. They cuffed him and took him outside.

The man said he intended to pay the fare but had no money on him. The woman paid the driver, who was satisfied. Officers booked the man into the Pierce County Jail on the active warrants.

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