Saturday, October 17, 2009

Man arrested in hammer attack


Authorities have arrested the man accused of breaking into his ex-girlfriend's house and attacking her with a hammer.

King County Sheriff spokesman John Urquhart said Milord Gelin was arrested while boarding a Greyhound bus in Eugene, Ore.

Gelin, 33, is accused of breaking into the home of 41-year-old Laurie Williams around 3:30 a.m. Monday and beating her with a hammer while she was sleeping.

Two neighbors called 911 after hearing her screams for help, Urquhart said.

The suspect allegedly stole the woman's SUV and was gone before deputies arrived at the Kirkland home.

Williams was taken to Evergreen Medical Center to be treated for severe injuries.

"She's very bruised. She's on heavy sedation," said Joe Bryant, the victim's brother-in-law.

Family members said Williams ended a 3-year relationship with Gelin a few months ago.

"My sister-in-law had just purchased a new home, a home he was not a part of," said Bryant. "And it was that nice new home that she hasn't even had a housewarming for that he broke into and tried to murder her this morning."

Gelin and Williams lived together in a house near the Big Finn Hill neighborhood last year. Former neighbors said the two were a solid couple who showed no signs of problems.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Men want out of selling magazines, get beat with baseball bats, golf clubs


TACOMA -- A meeting of magazine salesman at a hotel room on Monday night ended with two in the hospital and six others in jail.

Investigators say trouble began after the group gathered at a room at the Best Night Inn in Tacoma.

When two of the men announced they wanted out of the magazine-selling operation, they were beaten with baseball bats and golf clubs.

The attackers ran off, but just blocks away, police stopped a white SUV that didn't have its headlights on.

Police grew suspicious when one of the men inside the car lied about his name. When officers found that same person was armed with brass knuckles and a gun, all six men in the car were taken into custody.

What's more, the state Attorney General's Office says the men were not selling magazines.

Order forms for a company called Fresh Start Opportunities were found in the hotel room. Just a few weeks ago, the attorney general issued a second warning about a door-to-door scam involving a company by that name.

Fresh Start claims to give young adults a fresh start on life with the money consumers pay for magazine subscriptions. But people across the country reported getting no magazines for their donations ranging from $50 and $800.

The two victims' conditions were not known. The six men who were arrested have been booked into the Pierce County Jail.

Monday, October 12, 2009

'River Rat' robber trapped, jailed


A man suspected of being the notorious "River Rat Bandit," who has committed at least 18 armed robberies from Oregon to the Puget Sound, was arrested in Pierce County after he was identified through a fingerprint, police said.

An accomplice also was arrested in Portland, Ore., after he was implicated by the suspected bandit.

The River Rat Bandit is believed to be responsible for at least 18 armed robberies of banks and check-cashing businesses from late July until early October from Portland to Kent, netting an estimated $100,000.

In most of the bank robberies, the robber has displayed a black handgun and demanded cash. In several cases he leaped onto or over the teller counter to reach the money.

Police gave him the "River Rat" name because the robberies have taken place on both sides of the Columbia River. They say he is a 32-year-old Bonney Lake man with ties to the Portland area. His name was not immediately released.

Two of the robberies and one attempted robbery took place in Puyallup.

On Friday, detectives identified a fingerprint from one of the Puyallup robberies and staked out a residence near Bonney Lake that was associated with the suspect.

Surveillance units spotted the suspect at about 7:45 p.m. Friday as he arrived at the residence in a vehicle belonging to his girlfriend.

A Pierce County SWAT team apprehended the suspect on two arrest warrants for three counts of robbery and one count of attempted robbery as he was about to leave the residence in a vehicle at about 9:15 p.m.

He was later booked into Pierce County Jail.

During questioning by detectives, the suspected bandit implicated a possible accomplice who lives in the Portland area.

On Saturday afternoon, officers followed the suspected accomplice as he drove from Vancouver to Portland. He was arrested without incident near Northeast 138th and Halsey on an arrest warrant for five counts of robbery.

The suspected accomplice is a 35-year-old Portland man and is currently being held in the Multnomah County Jail.

Joining the Puyallup Police Department in the investigation were the FBI, the Auburn police, the Bonney Lake police, the Clark County Sheriff's Department, the Kent police, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office, the Portland Police Bureau, the Puyallup tribal police, the Vancouver police, Metro SWAT team and Pierce County SWAT team.