Tacoma and Gig Harbor police are investigating a crime spree that spanned from the Peninsula all the way to King County.
Three sixteen-year-olds, two of them girls, were arrested Thursday night after a high-speed chase that started in Tacoma and ended in Federal Way.
The chain of events on Thursday began when police say a shopper at the Gig Harbor Costco was tased, and a female suspect tried to rob the shopper of her purse.
The teens also took Tacoma police on a high-speed chase later the same day.
Plus, investigators are looking into whether another shopper who got tased on Wednesday at a Winco in Tacoma is related to the Costco tasing case.
Danielle, who didn’t want to share her last name because of safety concerns, says she was targeted Wednesday evening. She said she was parked right near the front of the store when the incident happened.
“There’s really nowhere safe anymore. Western Washington is out of control,” Danielle said. She had just wrapped up shopping at the Tacoma Winco on Sixth Ave when she says she noticed a driver in a ski mask.
“And the driver locked eyes with me,” Danielle said. She said she rushed back to her car with her daughter in the backseat when a young woman got out of the suspicious vehicle.
“She opened my door and immediately tased my left side here. I was able to turn my body a little bit so I was able to kick her a few times,” Danielle said.
She said the young woman left and went back to the car while laughing, and the group drove away.
“They all looked very young, very, very young,” Danielle said.
Then on Thursday, Gig Harbor police shared details about a very similar case at the busy Gig Harbor Costco on Thursday. It happened at about 3:30pm in broad daylight.
Sean Banks said the victim was his 68-year-old mom.
“Somebody tried to grab her purse. My mom wouldn’t give up her purse so they tased her. And my mom still wouldn’t give up her purse, so a struggle ensued,” Banks said.
The teens ran away, but Gig Harbor police say the suspects did end up stealing another woman’s purse out of her trunk.
That woman’s stolen credit cards were used in Tacoma.
Tacoma police say an officer spotted the stolen car running a red light and started chasing.
“The officers reported speeds were high around 100 mph,” said Detective William Muse with the Tacoma Police Department.
He said once WSP troopers got eyes on the car from the air, officers backed off on the suspects. The teens parked in a residential area in Federal Way and started running. Police say that’s when all three 16-year-olds were arrested.
Muse said one of the responding officers recognized one of the 16-year-old females from a previous crime three weeks ago. The teen then admitted to cutting off her ankle monitor.
“According to the officer she spoke to, the female juvenile suspect appeared to be somewhat flippant in her response,” Muse said.
The teens are now being investigated for at least four crimes, most of them felonies:
· Stealing a Kia (King County)
· Robbery (King County)
· Attempted robbery (Gig Harbor)
· Theft (Gig Harbor)
· Fleeing and eluding (Tacoma)
Plus, investigators are looking into whether these are the same teens involved in the earlier Winco case.
“Unfortunately, this is where our society is at. We have to enact justice on these types of people,” Banks said.
“I just think it’s insane there is no repercussion for these kids,” Danielle said. “We’re out here trying to protect ourselves at this point and it’s really scary,” she said.
Though the teens were arrested, Tacoma police are also expressing frustration at how little they can do when it comes to teen crimes.
“We have to put some systems in place to help hold them accountable and make it less appealing to other juveniles. Honestly, they see their peers doing things like this and getting away with it, and they become emboldened to do it themselves,” Muse said.
Gig Harbor police said the same vehicle might have also been involved in similar crimes Wednesday in Auburn – that is still being investigated.
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