In three months, Shane Sweetman has been charged with 19 crimes in four East Pierce County cases and paid $75,000 in bail to secure his freedom time and again.
After his most recent arrest Monday, Sweetman appeared to be having trouble coming up with the $750,000 bail slapped on him by Court Commissioner Meagan Foley.
This time, the 33-year-old Graham man’s need for freedom is dire.
His Save the Date indicates he will wed his pregnant wife in a formal ceremony Saturday (April 23). The couple officially tied the knot in February but has a celebration with friends and family scheduled for the weekend.
“He probably won’t make his wedding,” sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said. “When you’re out on bail for multiple cases and still stealing, you obviously haven’t learned your lesson.
“This guy is an example of someone causing all kinds of hate and discontent.”
The Prosecutor’s Office has flagged Sweetman as a high-priority offender and will fight to keep him in custody with high bail.
Sweetman’s defense attorney declined to comment Friday. Sweetman could not be reached for comment.
Sweetman’s year started with accusations that he and another man did surveillance on neighborhoods, stole vehicles in the early morning hours and tried to sell them online.
A Spanaway man who lost his pickup and 20-foot-long utility trailer tracked down surveillance footage of the theft and spotted a Ford F150 driving away with his vehicles.
He tracked the truck to a property in the 25800 block of Meridian Avenue East, where Sweetman and his girlfriend live. Deputies went there and recovered more than 12 stolen vehicles, including quads and trailers.
Sweetman pleaded not guilty Jan. 29 to seven counts of unlawful possession of stolen vehicles, two counts of first-degree possession of stolen property and one count of first-degree trafficking in stolen property.
He posted $40,000 bail the same day and was released.
One of his victims in the case was a 50-year-old widow caring for her 72-year-old mother and trying to raise pigs to scrape by.
Dinah Wheaton told the court that having her quad stolen tripled the time it took to feed the pigs and forced her to carry 5-gallon buckets of wet barley. She eventually had to hire help and felt so uneasy about her safety that she installed a fence and security lights.
Another victim was a veteran with disabilities who runs a mobile photography business with her husband.
Mary Morris told the court it was hard losing their $20,000 trailer and heartbreaking that her twin sons lost the baseball gloves they’d used for nine years to collect autographs from Seattle Mariners players.
Worse, Morris wrote in a victim impact statement, Sweetman’s wife had the gall to threaten her via social media, and the couple openly posted online trying to sell stolen property.
“So it isn’t bad enough to steal from people, damage their lives and incomes, but you need to openly throw up a finger at the victim and the police because you have gotten away with this so many times before?” Morris wrote.
In one post that investigators confirmed Sweetman or his wife put up, the author says he desperately needs to sell construction equipment because he is “in a bind.” Then the poster digresses into taunting “cop callers” and claiming he will always be around even if “I have to go on an extended vacation.”
Sweetman’s wife could not be reached for comment. A phone number listed at their address does not accept incoming calls.
Sweetman’s luck held until March 21, when a neighbor spotted him crash a 1997 Honda Civic and then walk home. Turns out the car was stolen from a Walmart employee working at the Spanaway store.
Deputies arrested Sweetman at his home and found a shaved key in his pants pocket, according to charging papers.
Sweetman pleaded not guilty to unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle and possessing motor vehicle theft tools. Bail was set at $60,000 and he was released nine days later after paying $10,000.
A day later, prosecutors charged him with five counts of possessing stolen vehicles after Sweetman got in an accident while driving a full-size pickup truck with a stolen car engine in the bed.
Deputies went to Sweetman’s home and this time found five stolen vehicles, all Honda Civics from the 1990s.
Foley, the court commissioner, set Sweetman’s bail at $75,000 on March 24. Five days later, Sweetman put up $25,000 and was released from jail.
He almost made it a month before getting picked up again.
This time it was in Puyallup for allegedly cutting the locks on 18 public storage units and stealing the contents with two others.
The man and woman, who were found hiding in the woods near stolen items, told detectives Sweetman “was the mastermind of the whole thing,” police Capt. Scott Engle said.
They said Sweetman approached them Monday, told them he’d cut a hole in the storage business’ fence and asked them to help him haul away stolen items.
Sweetman had left to get a car and was on the way back to pick up his accomplices when officers arrived, police said. He took off but the other two identified him to police.
Officers arrested Sweetman at his home and found a backpack with gloves, a mask and two pairs of loppers in the backseat of his Ford Mustang convertible, records show.
He pleaded not guilty to second-degree burglary and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm because he was seen with a rifle.
He is prohibited from having weapons after being convicted in 2010 of second-degree assault and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. He’d threatened a group of people with a gun after they came to his home to clear up a misunderstanding.
While out on bail for that case, Sweetman was charged with assault in another case after a fight in Puyallup.
He allegedly ran a couple off the road and beat the man with a pipe before the man was able to stab Sweetman. The beaten man suffered a fractured forearm and bruising.
Prosecutors deemed Sweetman “an ongoing danger to the community” in 2010 and requested $250,000 bail. He eventually pleaded guilty to third-degree assault.
Because of his history of eight felony convictions, Sweetman was flagged in January as a high priority offender and prosecutors sought higher-than-usual bail for property crimes.
“We identify them early in the process, ask for high bail to get them off the streets and then seek high sentences,” Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653