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One of 'Washington's Most Wanted' Charged With Stealing, Trafficking Scrap Metal

A Spanaway man has been charged with burglary and trafficking of stolen scrap metal after recently being featured on the Q13 TV show 'Washington's Most Wanted.'

A Spanaway man has been charged with burglary and trafficking in stolen property for stealing and selling $1,500 worth of scrap metal, according to a press release from the Pierce County Prosecutor.

Stephen Passmore, 49, was arrested and arraigned this week after being featured on Q13's Washington's Most Wanted.

Crime Stoppers of Tacoma/Pierce County received various tips from viewers of the Feb. 15, 2013 broadcast. The Pierce County Sheriff's Department's Community Support team followed up on these tips, which led to his arrest near his Spanaway residence on February 22.

"This case serves as another example of the power of collaboration between Washington's Most Wanted, Crime Stoppers, law enforcement, and our office," said Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. "Working together, we effectively serve our community."

According to the police report, Passmore and his accomplice, Cyrus Tangorra, burglarized Tacoma Metals in April 2011. They cut locks, climbed a fence, then threw 600 pounds of brass valves and radiators over the fence and into a U-Haul truck. Later that morning, the two men and a friend took the brass to Calbag Metals and sold it for $1500.

When the Tacoma Metals manager was made aware of the burglary, he contacted Calbag Metals, which confirmed that it had received similar items. The Calbag employee said that the items were dropped off by three of their frequent customers, including Passmore. The incident was reported to the Tacoma Police Department.

During the investigation, detectives interviewed the defendant while he was in custody on unrelated charges. He explained that he had scrapped metal since he was a child, but he had no specific recollection of the incident at Tacoma Metals. The defendant was implicated in the burglary by multiple witnesses, including his accomplice, Tangorra.

In August 2012, Passmore was summoned to appear before the Pierce County Superior Court regarding the charges of burglary and trafficking in stolen property. He did not appear and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Cyrus Tangorra pled guilty to theft on January 28, 2013. He was sentenced to six months in jail.

Passmore has prior convictions for stolen property and drugs. His next court date is scheduled for March 14, 2013. Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

John Arbeeny February 27, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Metal theft is rampant in Pierce County especially in unoccupied single family homes that may be for sale or for rent. Thieves will enter crawl spaces, garages, and even attics to strip out wire and plumbing. This results if thousands of dollars of damage for just a few dollars in "scrap". They'll also steal appliances and baseboard heaters. I recently had this happen twice in as many months to my own rental properties and have seen it at least six times more while vacant showing properties to clients in the last 3 months. When I questioned a Tacoma police officer about this he said it was very common: 10 calls a week! Local police need to get busy and shut these thieves down as well as any crooked scrap metal dealers that service them.
Lauren Padgett February 28, 2013 at 07:45 PM
You're absolutely right, John. All police agencies I've worked with at Patch have said it's a problem that's growing more every day. It's especially problematic in homes under construction. It's definitely not victimless but can be hard to track, as metal shops will sometimes take the stolen materials, no questions asked. This arrest was thanks to the public, who recognized this guy and called it in, so much thanks to viewers of Washington's Most Wanted!

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