Friday, June 11, 2010

Suspect in South Sound espresso stand robberies arrested


A man suspected in a string of coffee stand robberies has been arrested.

Pierce County Det. Ed Troyer said detectives, following a tip, tracked down the suspect's car and pulled him over at approximately 9:30 p.m. The two people who were riding in the car were both taken in for questioning, and the suspect was placed under arrest.

The unidentified man is suspected in a a dozen robberies that have occurred in the area in recent months, most recently late Thursday morning.

Troyer said the robber had a gun and was wearing a red bandana. The robber was not successful at the first location, but was at the second one, Troyer said.

A dozen similar robberies that have occurred around the South Sound area since March, eight of which have occurred in the past two weeks. Café Elite in Fircrest was hit on Wednesday, and the incident was captured on surveillance tape.

The footage shows just as the stand was opening at 5 a.m., a man in a hooded sweatshirt and mask race up to and climb through the stand's window, gun drawn, as the barista set the tip jar outside the window.

Inside, video shows the robber stuffing cash from the register into a sack. Then, the robber points the gun at the barista as he yells at her to get into the bathroom. Once in the bathroom, the barista said the robber pulled electrical tape out of his bag and tied her up.

Moments later, the lights go out and the robber goes back to the register. At one point he makes a mistake and takes off his bandana, giving the camera a brief glimpse of his face.

As he walks out a side door, an outdoor camera captured him pulling down his hood, revealing a bald head.

The stand's owner says the barista was tied up in the bathroom for about five minutes, and when she heard the robber leave, she untied herself and ran to a nearby restaurant to call 911.

In some of the robberies, the robber has stolen the barista's car, driven it a few blocks away and ditched it. Police say it shows these are calculated crimes; they think the robber is parking his car somewhere else so it's not caught on camera and using the barista's car to get back to his own.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Puyallup cop charged in road rage incident


A Puyallup police officer has been charged in a road rage incident that occurred over Memorial Day weekend.

Mark Delight has been charged with second-degree assault and reckless driving in an incident in which the officer, during his off-duty hours, allegedly chased down another driver and threatened him with a gun.

Investigators said Delight called in on May 31 and said he was following a hit-and-run suspect in an unmarked car and needed backup.

Delight told officers trouble began when he was stopped at an intersection earlier in the day, and the driver in the car behind him honked the horn.

Delight said he "saw that his light had turned green while his attention was elsewhere," and "flipped off the driver behind him" before proceeding, according to the statement of probable cause.

The officer said the driver behind him then passed him "in a reckless manner," then "slammed on his brakes," causing Delight to "'lightly' rear end" the vehicle, the document said.

The driver then took off, weaving in and out of traffic recklessly, Delight said, ultimately turning his vehicle around to strike Delight's vehicle.

When later questioned by detectives, Delight changed his story and said the other driver was making a U-turn when Delight himself "ran into (the car) on the driver's side," adding he only struck the victim because he believed the victim was about to strike him.

The hit driver admitted he'd honked his horn at Delight. He added he'd then passed him, and slowed, because he wanted to return Delight's "flip off," the statement said. But when he slowed, Delight rear-ended him, he said.

The driver said he then saw Delight reaching for something in his vehicle, he told investigators. Fearful he was reaching for a weapon, he took off, wanting to avoid further confrontation, he said.

While speeding off, however, he noticed he was being followed by Delight. In an attempt to lose the car, the driver said he decided to make a U-turn in the 7400 block of 112th Street East. As he turned, however, Delight struck him on the driver side, he told investigators.

The impact of the crash sent the hit car spinning, the driver said, and when it finally came to rest, he saw Delight exiting his car with his gun drawn.

"It was not until Delight had (the driver) on the ground with his gun pointing at him that he realized Delight was a police officer," according to the statement.

Detectives said they've found evidence on the scene that corroborates the hit driver's story. They believe "when (the hit driver) was making his U-turn, Delight crossed the entire oncoming lane and past the shoulder of the road in order to strike (him) on the driver's side of the vehicle," the document said.

Prosecutors said Delight could face additional charges.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Fleeing suspect rams two cop cars in Lake City


A suspect rammed two police cars with a dark '90s-vintage Cadillac while fleeing the scene of a car prowl early Saturday in Lake City, officers said.

Police had responded at the scene, in the 12300 block of 33rd Ave. NE, at about 4:30 a.m. after receiving a report of a car prowl in progress.

As officers were arriving in the area, they spotted the dark-colored Cadillac DeVille four-door leaving the immediate area.

An officer attempted to stop the vehicle, but the driver rammed the the patrol car and refused to stop.

Several other patrol cars were in the area and the Cadillac struck a second one as it fled down Lake City Way NE onto Interstate 5 southbound.

The damage to the patrol cars was minor and none of the officers were injured.

Officers followed the suspect vehicle until it got onto I-5, when officers backed off to prevent a dangerous situation from escalating.

Police said they have enough information on the suspect to continue following up the investigation.

Crooks rob one Ferndale home, get shot at another


FERNDALE -- Robbers raided two households in Ferndale within minutes of one another early Saturday, but the outcomes were markedly different.

The suspects got away with cash in one case - and wound up in the hospital with gunshot wounds in the other.

Investigators say they don't believe the robberies are related - despite their proximity in place and time.

In the first robbery, two men burst into a residence in the 7000 block of Tall Cedars Lane at about 3:25 a.m. and demanded cash. They got away with money and a safe.

The area was searched with K-9 police dogs, but the search was unsuccessful.

The robbers were described as two white males in their 20s, with thin builds and wearing beanie hats. One man stood about 5-foot-5 and the other about 5-foot-9.

In the second robbery, robbers demanded money from a resident in the 1200 block of Lattimore Road.

Another family member interrupted the hold-up. As the robbers left, shots were fired into the fleeing suspects' vehicle.

Shortly afterward, two people showed up at St. Joseph's Hospital in Bellingham with gunshot wounds. The injuries were not considered to be life-threatening.

Both of those suspects are now being interviewed.