Plucky driver defies gun-wielding car thief
A 16-year-old is being held in the Whatcom County Jail after trying to steal a car last Wednesday afternoon, September 29, in Blaine from a Canadian driver who, despite staring down the barrel of a loaded revolver, simply refused to cooperate with him.
Jamez E. Brown of Tacoma, who’s being tried as an adult and therefore can be identified, arrived in Blaine that afternoon in a car allegedly stolen from a Tacoma convenience store parking lot. He stopped at the Boblett Street Yorky’s gas station near the airport and began pan-handling for gas money, but apparently was unsuccessful. An unidentified 57-year-old Surrey, B.C. man said that he’d stopped for gas and was just starting his car to drive off when Brown approached the passenger side holding the revolver on him and demanding that he get out of the car.
According to police reports, the driver reached up and began to turn off the car but Brown yelled “No! Leave it running and get out!” Instead of complying, the driver said no to Brown, turned off the car, removed the keys, got out and walked into Yorky’s store. Brown then ran back to the car he arrived in and drove it around into the Cost Cutter grocery parking lot.
“The driver certainly showed presence of mind, to come up with a plan like that and execute it,” said Blaine police chief Mike Haslip, “and while we applaud the guy’s bravery it may not have been the best course of action to take in a situation like that.”
According to detective Dan Sartain, who investigated the crime scene later, the pistol that Brown was brandishing “was likely stolen. It’s a nine-shot High-Standard .22 revolver, so the driver could easily have seen that it was loaded.”
driver called 911 and moments later officers on duty were
notified by dispatch that “an armed robbery with
a gun” was in progress.
Haslip said that luckily it happened near the shift change time and five officers responded, including an off-duty patrolman. The border patrol was notified as well and a containment perimeter was quickly established. Moments later an unidentified citizen told a border patrol officer parked on the perimeter of “a man in a gray Honda sedan” acting strangely in the Cost Cutter parking lot.
Brown was in custody shortly after that. In addition to the attempted carjacking, officers determined that he was also wanted on a felony parole violation and that the car he was driving had been reported stolen the night before in Tacoma.
Haslip credited the border patrol’s cooperation in being able to make the arrest quickly. Sartain, speculating on why Brown went to the parking lot instead of just getting away, said that since he needed gas he was probably after another victim.
“He could easily
have found any number of people coming out of one of
the stores over there who wouldn’t be
quite so hard for him to intimidate as the
first one he tried,” Sartain
Brown was booked into jail on the parole violation, attempted first degree robbery and first degree possession of stolen property. Bail was set at $100,000.
Sartain also said that in going over the car Brown was driving he found a partially empty box of shells hidden under the dash and an empty shell casing on the front seat of the car.