Community Police & Fire

Gig Harbor Police Blotter: Suspected raffle ticket scammers struggle to answer questions

Posted on September 9th, 2022 By:

Editor’s note: The Police Blotter is written based on information in Gig Harbor Police reports.

Beware of people selling raffle tickets for an alleged youth basketball team called the “Knights.” Gig Harbor officers spoke with suspected scammers doing that in the parking lot of a store on Point Fosdick Drive on Aug. 30.

An officer saw an adult man and a teen boy sell such tickets to at least three people around noon. The officer recalled having purchased tickets from the same people last year, and later believing the sale was fraudulent.

After buying the raffle ticket in 2021, the officer saw people on social media flagging the two men as possible scammers. The officer couldn’t find any website or social media presence for the “Knights” basketball club. And at least one person called police to question the legitimacy of the raffle.

When the officer saw them again on Aug. 30, he asked a store employee if he knew anything about the ticket-sellers. The employee didn’t know anything, other than “a lot of our customers say it’s a scam.” The employee, however, said he did not have authorization to remove them from the parking lot.

The adult ticket-seller, a 35-year-old Tacoma man, told the officer they were selling tickets at the behest of his son’s youth coach. Yet the 35-year-old couldn’t reach the coach by phone.

He tried to tell the officer that they had just returned from a basketball tournament in Anaheim. But when the officer tried to look up the tournament on his phone, the man claimed that the “Knights” had played under a different name and wouldn’t appear on the list of tournament participants.

The officer examined the raffle tickets and noticed that they did not have sequential serial numbers, as required by state law governing raffle sales.

The officer later learned that the same man was a suspect in a possible fraud in the same parking lot in 2014. In that incident, the man and his young son — the same boy who was at the parking lot on Aug. 30 — sold candy bars as a fundraiser for a team allegedly affiliated with Tacoma Metropolitan Parks. Police determined that no such team was associated with Tacoma Parks. The child told investigators then that he and his father would go out “candy selling” to make money, and his mother admitted it wasn’t legitimate.

Police forwarded a report on the incident to the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office for review of possible fraud charges.

Stolen car rams GHPD patrol vehicle

A stolen Subaru SUV plowed into a Gig Harbor Police car on Aug. 30 as its driver attempted to flee. Nobody was injured.

Witnesses asked police to come to a grocery store parking lot on Point Fosdick Drive around 8 p.m. Aug. 30 to check on a white Subaru with no license plate. Two officers watched the Subaru until another vehicle, described in the report as a “passenger car,” pulled up next to it.

A woman and a man got out of the other vehicle. The woman then got back into that car while a man got into the driver’s seat of the Subaru. The other vehicle drove away, and officers in two police patrol vehicles approached the Subaru.

The man reversed the Subaru, hitting the patrol car positioned behind him. He then pulled forward, where the other officer had gotten out of his car. The suspect came very close to hitting the officer on foot.

The officer in the damaged patrol car followed the Subaru through the parking lot. He discontinued the chase when the other officer radioed that he was uninjured.

The officer described significant damage to the patrol vehicle, including the push bar jammed up into the hood.

Police do not know the location of the suspect and the stolen white Subaru.

Items stolen from city-issued car in Civic Center parking lot

Even the parking lot of the Gig Harbor Police Department isn’t safe from car prowlers.

An unknown suspect stole miscellaneous items from inside a department-issued vehicle on Aug. 31. The vehicle was parked in the employee lot at the city hall and police department building on Grandview Drive when the crime occurred.

The employee responsible for the vehicle left the vehicle unlocked while it was awaiting maintenance. Suspects took a handful of relatively low-cost items, like binoculars and a Leatherman-style multi-tool. Combined, they are worth about $125.