Use of stun guns to commit crimes more prevalent

first_imgCrime spree suspect appears in Clark County courtroomBrent Woodall of Salmon Creek tossed a black TASER-like device to the ground before surrendering to Portland police June 20 after an alleged crime spree that spanned Washington and Oregon, according to live KATU footage of the chase.Woodall cast off the device as a suspect would a gun to show the suspect wasn’t a threat to the officer.Marketed to the public as a form of self-defense against crimes, stun guns, such as Tasers, have gained popularity among robbers who use the devices to intimidate victims into cooperation.“It’s becoming more and more common as an item,” said John Laws, a Vancouver police crime analyst. “Back in the old days when pepper spray was new, we had a bunch of pepper spray armed robberies.”“I call it ‘the crime du jour,’” said Laws, whohas been in law enforcement for nearly 30 years.Woodall allegedly wrote in a robbery note June 20 to a bank teller at the Hazel Dell branch of Riverview Savings Bank that he had a Taser and a gun, but he never displayed it, said Clark County sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Kevin Allais. He showed the Taser or Taser-like device to the victim of a carjacking on Vancouver’s East 15th Street, Allais said.In another case, Vancouver police responded to an armed robbery involving a Taser on June 19 at the Chevron at 9414 N.E. Vancouver Mall Drive, near the intersection of Northeast 94th Avenue, close to Westfield Vancouver mall. Police found a bag with a Taser inside later that day but never located the suspect, said Vancouver police spokesperson Kim Kapp.last_img