Pierce County prosecutors have charged a 47-year-old man in a series of strong-arm robberies and burglaries targeting elderly women.
They allege Kenneth D. Bolden took the women by surprise, forced them into their homes and then stole their jewelry, cash, medication and wallets.
Bolden was arraigned on 21 charges – including multiple counts of robbery, assault and burglary – last week. He is being held in Pierce County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail.
Bolden faces a third strike – and a life sentence – if convicted as charged. He has previous convictions for home-invasion robberies and burglaries.
Bolden was released from prison in April 2011 after serving time for robbery and burglary convictions.
Prosecutors allege he started committing a new series of crimes Dec. 5, targeting women who’d just returned home from the grocery store or were outside doing yard work.
“Upon being released from prison, the defendant continued his pattern of violence on the Pierce County community,” court documents state.
Prosecutors charged Bolden in the following 11 incidents:
* Dec. 5 at a Tacoma home. The 87-year-old victim returned home from a doctor’s appointment, set her purse down and went outside. She returned 10 minutes later to find her purse had been moved and a necklace, wallet and checkbook missing. A forensic specialist lifted fingerprints from a window screen. The prints matched Bolden’s.
* Jan. 8 at the home of a 61-year-old woman. She’d been outside working in the yard when she heard her dog barking. She went inside and found an intruder. The two struggled. The intruder eventually picked her up, took her purse and a jar of coins and forced her into another bedroom. She escaped out of a bedroom window and alerted a neighbor.
* Feb. 8 at the home of an 84-year-old woman who’d just returned from the bank. She’d noticed a man outside in her yard with a bamboo stick. Moments later, the man knocked on the door and forced his way inside after she answered. He demanded the woman’s purse and pushed her onto her bed.
* Feb. 24 at the home of an 80-year-old woman who was preparing to eat a sandwich. An intruder got in through a basement window. The woman heard a noise in her bedroom and, when she investigated, was confronted by the intruder. The intruder rifled through her purse and stole cash and jewelry from the bedroom. He ordered the woman to stay in a bathroom.
* On March 4 at the home of an 80-year-old woman who’d just returned home from a shopping trip. An intruder pushed his way into the home as she tried to close the door. The intruder pushed the woman, then forced her into a bathroom. The suspect stole jewelry, cash and medication.
* March 15 at the home of a couple in their 80s who’d just returned from the store. The suspect surprised them from behind and grabbed for the husband’s wallet. He also grabbed at the wife’s wallet.
* March 16 at the home of a couple in their 80s who had just returned from the store. The 82-year-old woman was unloading groceries when she spotted an intruder in her home, walking toward the bedroom. The intruder demanded money and ripped the rings off the woman’s hands. He hit the husband over the wrist with a fire poker, fracturing his wrist.
* March 20 at the home of a 75-year-old woman who’d just returned home from the grocery store. An intruder confronted her inside her garage, grabbed her arm and demanded her purse. He led her to her bedroom and dumped her purse out on the bed as he looked for money. He rummaged through her bedroom and ransacked the rest of the house.
* March 26 at the home of a couple in their 50s. The woman was working outside and the man was in his office when he heard a man’s voice in the home. He spotted an intruder running from the kitchen toward the back of the home. The intruder stole the woman’s purse.
* March 29 at the home of a couple. The couple returned home from work to find their house burglarized. The burglar got into through a bathroom window and stole two guns, ammunition and $8,000 worth of jewelry.
* April 2 at the home of an elderly couple who’d been working in their yard. The wife went into the house and was confronted by an intruder. He shoved her into the bedroom and ripped her wedding rings from her fingers and her watch from her wrist.
Court documents indicate the description and mannerisms of the intruder were similar in the attacks. Many of the victims picked Bolden out of a photo montage, court documents state.
Investigators contacted Bolden in early April. A Department of Corrections officer did a compliance search of Bolden’s home and found a stolen gun, ammunition and other burglary-related items in a backpack.
Investigators later found and photographed jewelry under Bolden’s bed. One of the victims recognize a watch in one of the photos.
Bolden has been in custody since April 4.