Alleged back seat robber arrested

by: Kevin McCarty Updated:


TACOMA, Wash. - A man wanted for hiding in the back seat of a Tacoma woman’s car, then robbing her, has been arrested, thanks in part to social media.

Christopher Brown, 31, was already in the Pierce County Jail on an unrelated burglary charge when Tacoma police told him he would also be facing charges of robbery and theft for the Feb. 13 incident.

Brown is accused of hiding in Marilyn Sirmans’ car while it was parked outside a Safeway supermarket.  Sirmans admitted she left the car unlocked when she went into the store.  She said Brown approached her outside the store, asking for a light. When she got into the car after shopping she said Brown jumped into the front seat from the back seat and attacked her.

“I mean the first thing is I’m dead,” said Sirmans in an interview with KIRO 7. “He’s definitely going to rape me and kill me. I just wanted him out, so I just screamed for him to get out.”  Sirmans said Brown took her purse and fled the car. She was not hurt.

Tacoma police released information about the incident along with surveillance video from the Safeway showing the man Sirmans said hid in her car.

KIRO 7 tweeted still pictures from the video, which Tacoma police also shared.  Someone saw that tweet and contacted police to identify Brown as the man in the video.

“I was able to retweet on my Twitter account,” said police spokeswoman Officer Loretta Cool. “A viewer out there actually emailed me with the tip.”

Brown was interviewed in the Pierce County Jail Monday, where he has been since his arrest Feb. 15 on charges of burglary and possessing burglary tools.  

Brown has an extensive criminal history, including 14 felony arrests in Pierce County since 2001.  His mother took out a restraining order against him in 2005; she says Brown threatened her with a gun.

“Due to his history, he definitely could be considered violent,” said Cool.

Brown is expected to appear in Pierce County Superior Court to face charges of robbery and theft on Tuesday.