Port Townsend man arrested after Poulsbo Walmart theft

A Port Towsend man was arrested after allegedly stealing nearly $500 worth of items from a Walmart in Poulsbo in addition to charges of assaulting a Poulsbo Police Officer.

Officers with the Poulsbo Police Department were called to the scene at Walmart on Jan. 4, after security officers noticed a man who appeared to be concealing items in his cart and pockets.

According to court documents, an officer saw the man, later identified as 35-year-old Joseph Gaikowski exit Walmart, bypassing all the checkout stands. Walmart’s security attempted to stop him but he ignored their directives to stop, let go of his cart and allegedly took off running, colliding with another man who had been holding a child.

When the Poulsbo officer made contact with Gaikowski, ordering him to stop, a statement of probable cause states that Gaikowski said “nope” and then charged at the officer, knocking him into a pallet outside the store’s entrance. The officer was able to simultaneously shove Gaikowski into a vending machine, slowing him down but not preventing him from escaping. The officer saw Gaikowski take off and get into a green 2001 Volkswagen GTI registered to a resident of Sequim.

Later that day officers from the Poulsbo Police Department went to two last known addresses for the owner of the vehicle Gaikowski had fled in. The landowner for one of the addresses said the vehicle’s owner lived on the property but hadn’t been seen for days, he also said he did not recognize Gaikowski in a photo provided by officers.

Officers interviewed the residents of another address connected to the vehicle used by Gaikowski to flee the scene. One of the residents confirmed the identity of Gaikowski after showing the picture to an acquaintance who had spent time with him.

On Jan. 9 Gaikowski was pulled in by Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputies and transported to Poulsbo where bail was set at $100,000.

In an interview with Poulsbo officers, Gaikowski allegedly admitted to the theft but initially denied attacking the officer. Court documents say Gaikowski ultimately admitted to and apologized for the attack while being transported to Kitsap County Jail.