Not the best way to get your car in the garage
Last Saturday, Officer Spencer Berntsen was dispatched to a reckless vehicle on Sylvan Way. A license plate was given, and the officer went to the address of the registered owner.
He saw the vehicle coming up to the house, and as he watched, he witnessed it proceed into the driveway and directly into the wall of the garage, destroying the wall and the garage door.
The driver was by himself in the truck, although there was a child seat next to him. Officers and Fire medics checked the man for any medical problem, and after making sure he was not injured, gave him a breath test. He came back at a .16 alcohol content, twice the legal limit.
Oh, I forgot to mention this was at 11 in the morning. He was arrested for DUI.
Recipe for disaster
Last Monday, we had a call that is a good reminder of how a “routine” day can quickly become much more dangerous and demanding. Officers responded to East Bremerton for a domestic violence call. The wife in the home had called 911 to report she had been strangled by her husband.
While she was on the phone, the man had barricaded himself in the bathroom, and had taken their young child with him. She went on to say that the man did have access to firearms and that he was drunk. Hard liquor, domestic violence, kids and guns … anytime you put these ingredients together it is a high-priority and high-risk call.
Officers surrounded the house, utilized heavy vests and tactical helmets and approached the door. Military-style helmets and rams to break down doors are used in these types of situations, if the suspect will not come out voluntarily. This type of equipment is often referred to as “militarization of police” by people who don’t really care about officer safety or understand what officers face, but I digress.
Since the man would not come out, officers entered the home, and the mother and child were able to come out to the officers and were taken away from the scene. The man persisted in staying barricaded in the bathroom, so officers got a search warrant from a judge.
They found the man sleeping, also known as “playing possum,” in the bedroom. He feigned surprise upon being awoken and had piled up clothes on top of himself, apparently believing that would camouflage his location.
He demanded to know what right the officers had to enter the home. They explained that threatening your family, strangling your spouse and a signed search warrant are more than justification for entry under both the Constitution and common sense. The man went to jail for felony assault.
Here we go again down the road
Later on Monday night, a driver drove up onto the median on the Warren Avenue Bridge and was “high-centered,” unable to drive off again. This happens a few times a year. It took two tow trucks and some amazing physics to remove the vehicle, while traffic was backed up. We appreciate everyone’s patience.
Look the gift horse in the mouth
Our officers have taken reports of a number of scams involving fake checks. The check is sent to an address, and a note says something like “here is your check — please call or text this number to confirm receipt,” etc.
The victim will often not recognize the sender or know why they received the check, but a little bit of greed will creep in and they will try to cash the check. There is a “float,” or short period of time, when the bank is processing the check and, depending on your account, it may even look like it clears and the funds are in the account.
Then, the text or message will tell the receiver that “the funds are in excess of the intended amount,” or something like that, and they want the victim to send some smaller portion of the amount back to them — but always by Western Union, or gift cards, or some other untraceable method.
Once that is sent, the check is deducted from the account because it was never good in the first place. The whole thing is a scam.
Some victims will have spent that amount by the time the bank takes the money away, and now the victim is out the money they sent to the scammers, as well as the money they spent and did not have in the first place.
Here’s how brazen these scammers have become: I received one of these checks, written to me, sent to my police department address. It came from a landscape company in Maryland, and the whole thing is fake. The scammers are this bold because there is almost no way to prosecute them — almost all are out of the country.
So, what do you do? Pretty easy: Never, ever send money to anyone you don’t know. Especially if they want the money via some sort of wire or untraceable gift card. There is always some sob story or other reason it “has to be that way,” but don’t buy it. These scammers are looking for that one in a hundred who is too trusting and too unwilling to hang up on them. There is more information on our police website.
Memorialize Jimmy Hendryx
Finally, our officers are wearing mourning bands this week to memorialize Firefighter Jimmy Hendryx, who passed away last week. He was a good man and will be missed.
Steven Strachan is the Bremerton chief of police. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.