Lights & Sirens

Go behind the yellow tape with The News Tribune

NOTICE: Lights & Sirens has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Lights & Sirens.
Visit the new section.

Archives: June 2009


Suspected bank robber in custody in Fife, bag had towels inside

Law enforcement officers have taken a suspected bank robber into custody after the man was holed up inside a Fife bank with up a bag that he said contains an explosive device.

KOMO carried a live video feed of the arrest. The man had come out of the bank, had his hands raised and was taken into custody without further incident.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s and Tacoma Police bomb squads worked to remove the suspicious bag. The bag was disrupted and investigators found only towels and other personal belongings inside. The stolen money also was recovered.

The 41-year-old suspect was being interviewed by detectives and will be booked into Pierce County Jail on robbery charges. Investigators believe he lost his job last week and was a gambler. He also had suicidal thoughts, Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said. Investigators were trying to track down the man’s family.

No injuries were reported during the incident.

All employees of the Bank of America and any customers inside at the time of the robbery have been evacuated, Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said. None were injured.

Troyer said the incident began around 10:15 a.m. when the man walked into the branch in the 5000 block of Pacific Highway East. He carried a bag and told tellers he had a bomb. He demanded money.

The robber got an undisclosed amount of cash, then something went sideways, Troyer said. The bank robber started acting strangely and remained in the bank.

Bank employees called police. Fife officers evacuated the bank except for the robber.

Surrounding businesses also were evacuated and the streets were closed off to traffic. Fife police had the bank surrounded. Puyallup and Tacoma police as well as Pierce County sheriff’s deputies responded.

More than an hour later, Fife officers were able to talk the man outside, where he was taken into custody without further incident.

“We’re lucky this thing ended the way it did,” Troyer said. “It could have sure turned out differently.”

The state Department of Transportation briefly closed the off-ramps from southbound and northbound Interstate 5 to 54th Avenue due to police activity.

Investigators do not believe the suspect is the same man who robbed a Tacoma bank branch on Friday evening, Troyer said.

Photo courtesy of Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer.


Read more »


Man charged in interrupted burglary in Tacoma

Pierce County prosecutors have filed charges against one man suspected of stabbing a homeowner during an interrupted burglary earlier this month in Tacoma.

William G. Bergquist, 45, was charged Monday with first-degree assault in connection with the June 20 incident.

Court documents provide the following information:

A homeowner told police he heard a noise in the alleyway behind his house in the 4500 block of South Thompson Avenue early on June 20. He went to investigate and saw a man near the garage and another man.

The homeowner asked the two what they were doing.

Read more »


ALL CLEAR: Crash blocks two lanes of SR 167 near Sumner

A multiple vehicle crash is blocking both lanes of northbound State Route 167 at 24th Street East near Sumner this morning.

Paramedics are on the scene, the state DOT reports.

Troopers are headed to the scene.

UPDATE at 9:01 a.m.:
The crash has been cleared and both lanes are now open to traffic.


Firefighters return to burned Federal Way duplex after flare up

South King Fire & Rescue investigators are looking into an overnight fire at a vacant duplex in Federal Way.

Fire crews were notified of the blaze at 29013 28th Place S. just after midnight Monday. Flames covered about 50 percent of the duplex when firefighters arrived at the scene, the South King Fire & Rescue department reported.

No occupants were living inside at the time. Fire crews got the blaze out within 30 minutes.

Investigators believe the fire started outside of the building.

Firefighters returned to the duplex shortly after 1 a.m. for

Read more »


1 arrest made during Taste of Tacoma

Tacoma police report a relative quiet Taste of Tacoma event last weekend at Point Defiance Park.

Officers made one arrest Saturday, Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum said. In addition, more than 30 people were banned because of suspected gang affiliations and actions. They’d reportedly tried to stir up a fight, left the venue to further their efforts and then tried to come back inside, Fulghum said.


Missing Kent woman found in Tacoma

The Kent woman who was reported missing last Wednesday was found in Tacoma, police said.

Tina Williams was found at about 8 p.m. in the 1100 block of Tacoma Avenue South. She was in good medical condition, but was taken to a hospital as a precaution.

After she was reported missing, police added her name into a state and national crime information system, which helped Tacoma Police find and identify her, Kent police said.


Man sentenced to federal prison for distributing meth in Western Washington

A federal judge on Monday sentenced a Mexican national convicted of trafficking methamphetamine in Western Washington to more than seven years in prison.

Herminio Barragan Mendoza, 36, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute meth and being an alien in possession of a firearm. He faces deportation following his prison term.

Federal prosecutors said Mendoza lived in Olympia and owned a farm near Roy at the time of his arrest.

He was one of 22 people arrested in April 2008 following a lengthy police investigation. More than 300 law enforcement officers served 20 search warrants and seized

Read more »


Jury in Tacoma convicts man in scheme to steal excess federal property

A federal jury today found a Canadian citizen guilty of helping his half-brother steal nearly $3 million in merchandise from the U.S. government, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle reported.

The jury, seated in Tacoma, deliberated for about 10 hours following a three-week trial before convicting Bradley A.G. Garner of wire fraud, theft of honest services, mail fraud and unlawful monetary transaction.

Garner, 51, faces up to 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced on Sept. 28.

A grand jury indicted Garner and Steven B. Smith, a former technician with the Federal Aviation Administration, in February.

Read more »