WEEKLY INFO BULLETIN
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
- New Police Station Construction: Community Development has issued an administrative use permit to allow construction of the new police station, and the Building Division is nearing completion of its review of the police station construction drawings. Bid award should be presented for Council action on January 28th, with construction starting in February.
- Lakes High School Expansion: The City’s hearing examiner has issued his decision approving the conditional use permit for the Lakes High School expansion.
- Victory Motel: Demolition of the Victory Motel will occur late this month or early February.
- Lakefront Street Ends Review: The next meeting in the planning process will be at City Hall on January 23rd at 6pm regarding street ends on Lake Steilacoom.
- Hill Ward Demolition: The demolition phase of the restoration project in Fort Steilacoom Park commenced last week. Below is one of the first photos from the Hill Ward Demolition Project.
- Lakewood “Founding Father” Honored at McChord Memorial Service: Longtime Lakewood resident and a leading advocate for incorporation, Colonel (retired) Gerald Auger passed away on Christmas Eve. During his memorial service at McChord AFB on January 11th, this decorated World War Two combat pilot was remembered as a loving father and trusted friend. During a eulogy, friend Bob Arndt relayed that “one of Jerry’s proudest achievements was being associated with the Lakewood city hood effort.” Colonel Auger was honored by McChord AFB with a C-17 flyover immediately following the ceremony – a rare Air Force honor. Colonel Auger’s three adult children were joined by Lakewood Mayor Emeritus Bill Harrison and many other friends and family paying their respects. He was preceded in death by his wife Nancy in November and his son, Jeffrey in 1947.
- 2008 Homeless Count Survey: The Tacoma-Pierce County Coalition for the Homeless is conducting its annual one-day count of the county's homeless population. The point-in-time survey is scheduled for January 24th and 25th. More than 100 community volunteers will contact homeless individuals and ask a few questions about their situations. Human Services Division staff (General Services) is partnering with Police in an attempt to locate unsheltered homeless persons by doing walking surveys of areas in Lakewood where homelessness exists, as well as by surveying patrons of the motels in Lakewood. Volunteers also will staff "give away" sites, where homeless persons can obtain personal items such as clothes, blankets and toiletries. All City volunteers will be attending training on January 22nd. Data collected during the annual survey helps provide a picture of the homeless issue in Pierce County, drives planning efforts such as the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness and leverages funding for homeless housing and services from the public and private.
- Adult Entertainment Violations: Special Ops did a compliance check at Déjà Vu this week. In one night, 21 dancers and the manager were cited for Adult Entertainment Ordinance violations, including improper collection of tips, violating 4-foot distances rules for lap dances and 8-foot rules from stage dances. All of these constituted illegal contact between dancer and customer. This continues the City’s nine year record of never doing an undercover operation in a strip club without finding significant violations by dancers.
- Counterfeit Ring: As our now fully staffed NPO (neighborhood police officer) cadre takes charge, we are beginning to see more proactive investigation of property crime. What began as a simple case of a counterfeit $20 bill to a 7-11 in District 3 (Lakeview) was not of appropriate value to assign to a property crimes detective for follow up investigation. However, with full NPO staff on board, this was given to newly-assigned NPO Brian Wurts to follow up, and it turned up a much bigger counterfeit ring. It was given back to the Property ProAc unit to handle, and they have engaged the Secret Service. This is a good example of the lower level crime follow up and interdepartmental coordination.
- Embezzlement Case Investigated: An employee embezzled over $300,000 from her Lakewood employer where she was employed as the bookkeeper. During the investigation, the Property ProAc unit obtained a search warrant for her bank records, which showed all the checks from the employer that were deposited into her checking account. The financial investigation was then turned over to Brinks and Sadler CPA firm, who confirmed she had embezzled $309,000. The suspect was arrested in June 2007 and booked on four counts of Theft 1st. She was subsequently charged with 32 counts of Theft 1st, and on January 10th, a plea agreement was reached whereby she was sentenced to 43 months at Purdy Correctional Center. The Property Pro-Ac unit is currently working on another case where the employee embezzled $400,000 from another Lakewood business.
- Theft from Wal-Mart: During a shoplift, a female suspect reportedly pulled a knife when confronted by store security. Police units arrived and detained the suspect and one accomplice, with one more female accomplice outstanding. She was eventually located on the payphone next to the front door talking to her attorney. As it turned out, the suspect was not pulling a knife, but a plastic hair pick, which was mistaken by security for a weapon. Three out of state suspects were booked for Theft 3rd.
- Armed Robbery Arrest: Two males, one armed with a handgun and the other armed with a knife, entered a pizza restaurant, displayed the weapons and demanded money. Employees told them they didn’t have any money, and the two fled the business. Officers in the area had run the license plate of a suspicious vehicle exiting a nearby parking lot about a minute prior to the robbery call. Further checking on the suspicious vehicle revealed the registered owner had been arrested for Armed Robbery in Puyallup in September. The vehicle information was then immediately broadcast by LESA throughout Pierce County. A short time later a Pierce County deputy located the vehicle driving in University Place and initiated a felony stop. The two were detained; LPD arrived and confirmed they matched the suspect descriptions and a handgun was plainly visible in the back seat. The car was impounded to the station for a search warrant. Patrol Officers interviewed both suspects independently at the station and obtained confessions from both.