Possible case of elder abuse — and meth use

Port Orchard police reports

The following summaries were selected from Port Orchard Police Department reports filed by officers during the past week. The summaries were edited for brevity and clarity and don’t represent full procedures enlisted by officers during the incidents.

Oct. 6

An officer was called to respond to a referral by the state Adult Protective Services to a local assisted living center, where a staff member had helped an 81-year-old female resident with her mail to prepare for a Medicaid application. While reviewing her mail, the staffer came across a credit union monthly statement that showed a recurring civil service pension payment of $1,228. When asked about the payment, the elderly resident said she didn’t know about it. And when she was shown a recurring payment of $1,195 to a rental company in the statement, that also was news to the woman.

Suspecting possible elder fraud, the transaction was reported to APS. The staff member also told the agency representative that the woman’s next of kin was her two sons. The officer called one of the sons and reported the withdrawal to the rental agency. Asked if he knew of the charge, the son was vague but added he knew something about it, but needed to contact a lawyer because of his previous experience with APS. Told he needed to contact the agency representative as soon as possible to clear it up, the man agreed. The following day, the officer was contacted by a fraud investigator from the rental agency. He reported the credit union account was not fraudulent but was set up by a family member. Meanwhile, the APS investigator reported the son’s lawyer had contacted her and said he wasn’t representing the man because he hadn’t received payment for his services — but did disclose the son was having his rent paid by his mother.

The APS investigator told the officer that with the woman’s declining mental health due to dementia, it would be hard to prove she didn’t agree to pay her son’s rent. A follow-up conference call among the APS investigator, the officer and the son was made a few weeks later. When asked why he hadn’t disclosed that he was having his mother pay his rent — it wasn’t a crime, the officer added — the man said he was scared since his brother had been accused once before. In any event, he said, the agreement was ending soon after being in effect only eight or nine months. The man was told that an APS investigation would be moving forward and that the state was working to take guardianship of his mother. Earlier this month, the officer spoke with the investigator, who said she interviewed the mother. She believed the elderly woman had been coached by her son to say she agreed to pay his rent. Also, the investigator reported the woman’s mental health was continuing to deteriorate. As a result, the officer told her that due to the woman’s mental condition, he couldn’t prove she hadn’t agreed to help her son pay his rent. The police case was closed, but the APS investigation continues.

Oct. 6

An officer patrolling the closed Westbay Center complex at 4:08 a.m. saw a white 2010 Ford Transit van at the north rear of the building. The van’s signage indicated it belonged to a commercial business based in Gorst, not at the shopping complex. The van hadn’t been on site when the officer drove through a couple of hours earlier. Approaching the van, the officer saw that a white man and woman, both appearing to be about 20, were inside.

The man was wearing a black ball cap with a prominent marijuana leaf on the front. His companion told the officer that they just happened to find the van, unlocked and with a key in it, parked at Jarstad Park. They were afraid someone would steal the van, so they took it and kindly pumped $20 worth of gas in it since it was almost empty. In the meantime, the couple said they had been trying to locate the company so they could return it to the owner. Both admitted to the officer they didn’t work for the company. Equipped with that information, the officer handcuffed the pair and advised them of their constitutional rights. He then contacted the owner of the vehicle and the business, learning that the Gorst company had been burglarized. The suspects were transported to Kitsap County Jail and were charged with theft of a vehicle and possession of a stolen vehicle. Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office detectives took over the investigation for burglary, vehicle theft and an additional charge of vehicle prowling.

Oct. 3

An officer was dispatched to investigate a report of an unknown problem at Veterans Memorial Park at the 980 block of Retsil Road Southeast. The caller reported hearing yells coming from the park near the baseball fields. Upon arriving, the officer observed a white vehicle parked near the driveway heading into the park. On closer inspection, the officer saw a female crouching down next to the vehicle with a hammer in her hand. The woman said she was in the area breaking rocks to find interesting geologic patterns. She denied hearing cries for help. When the officer walked her to the vehicle, he saw a male sitting in the passenger’s seat. The man had his head down and his hand reaching down near the seat and center console. A glass pipe with a cloudy interior with a burnt bulbous end was sitting in his lap. It looked to the officer as a device used to smoke methamphetamine.

The man didn’t notice the officer at first and continued to reach to the side of his seat. At that point, unclear of his intentions, the officer told him not to move and cease reaching to the side. He complied. Placed into handcuffs, he was read his Miranda rights. The officer ran a records check on him and found a felony warrant from Kitsap County Superior Court for VUCSA, or Violation of the Uniform Controlled Substance Act. He admitted that he was in the process of loading the pipe and was found to have a small amount of meth in his left front pocket. The suspect was then placed under arrest for possessing the paraphernalia. Also found on him was a small glass container in his front left pocket that contained a small baggie with a crystalline white substance inside. It later tested positive for meth.

He was transported to Kitsap County Jail and booked for the Superior Court felony warrant, possession of meth and possession of drug paraphernalia. His combined bail was $20,000. The man admitted to the officer that he had a problem with drug use and stated being homeless didn’t help his addiction.

Sept. 30

An officer arrived at an Olney Avenue grocery at 8:24 p.m. to investigate a report of a possible theft. The store manager said he had observed a man washing out glass milk containers in the store bathroom. He said he recognized the man from a previous incident days earlier and had told him to leave. In past instances, people have been known to wash out glass milk jugs and return them for deposit money after originally stealing them. The manager suspected that had been the case with this man. He had asked the man and a female companion to leave the store prior to calling the police.

The manager said another man had driven the pair to the store. Still in the parking lot, the officer contacted the driver, who said the pair had gone into the store with a reusable shopping bag containing empty milk jugs that they intended to return. He said they were told they needed to wash the dirty jugs before they could be accepted. A clerk told the officer he gave the man permission to use the restroom to rinse them out. Both the male and female filled out voluntary statement forms. The officer told the store manager that no theft had occurred.

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