by: Kevin McCarty Updated:
A Joint Base Lewis McChord soldier arrested on suspicion of stalking two teenagers and a woman in her 20s admitted stalking dozens of women at shopping centers and schools since January, Lakewood police said.
Police said they have identified three victims so far and are asking additional victims who recognize the suspect's truck to come forward.
Lamar Yoder, 34, was arrested Tuesday after undercover officers staked out areas where his Dodge truck had been spotted, allegedly following young women and teenagers. "He estimates doing this with about 50 other females," said Lakewood police Lt. Chris Lawler. Lawler said Yoder would approach the victims honking his truck horn, waving his arms and motioning for them to come over to the truck. "If they ignore him he keeps them under surveillance, continues to follow them for quite a period of time," said Lawler.
The first known victim, a 16-year-old girl, told police Yoder followed her as she walked from the Lakewood Town Center to Clover Park High School last July. A school surveillance camera recorded Yoder's truck as he followed the girl.
When police received a report that the same Dodge truck had been seen following a 15-year-old as she walked to Harrison Preparatory School on Monday, police stationed undercover officers in unmarked cars at shopping centers and near the schools. Lawler said the truck was spotted Tuesday morning with Yoder behind the wheel in an Army uniform. He removed his name tape and unit badges, Lawler said.
As police questioned Yoder, they received a 911 call from a woman in her 20s who claimed a man had stalked her near the Pierce County transit center at the Lakewood Town Center. Lawler said she described the same truck Yoder was in at the time of his arrest.
Lawler said Yoder admitted to at least 50 incidents of stalking young women and teenagers since January, telling them he would leave JBLM when he was supposed to be at physical training. Lawler said Yoder claimed he meant the victims no harm. "(He) said he was lonely and that he just wanted to talk to somebody," Lawler said, "But it's pretty creepy and it made these girls feel really uncomfortable."
Yoder faces three counts of misdemeanor stalking but could face additional charges if more victims come forward.