Half-naked attempt to flee police ends with felony charges

EDMONDS — A Lynnwood man was charged with felony burglary and robbery Friday in connection with a Aug. 18 crime spree that reportedly included stealing his ex-wife’s car, a chase that featured naked bicycling, and a home invasion.

James E. Kirk, 50, got the attention of police in south Snohomish County after he seemed intent on driving away in his ex-wife’s 2001 Mustang.

The pair has been divorced for roughly seven years, and police were called Aug. 15 after he began demanding use of her car, deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow wrote in Snohomish County Superior Court papers.

The woman told police she believed Kirk was substituting street drugs for his psychiatric medication. The next day, he showed up at her home and allegedly wrestled away the Mustang’s keys.

She called police, but when officers arrived the car was gone and so was Kirk. Edmonds police tracked him down and arrested him, but they found no sign of the missing Mustang. He posted bond and was released.

Early Aug. 18, an Edmonds officer spotted the stolen Mustang being driven at high speed through a residential neighborhood. The driver pulled over when a squad car gave chase, but didn’t surrender.

“The defendant ran down an embankment through blackberry bushes,” Darrow wrote. “His loose shorts came off in the process leaving him wearing only a T-shirt.”

The man managed to slip from sight. Within minutes Kirk — by then naked, but wearing a bicycle helmet — was spotted trying to pedal his way out of the police dragnet, court papers said.

He headed into nearby back yards and managed to briefly elude officers, but a police dog got on his trail. The stolen bicycle was found dumped in the brush and the dog led officers to a home where there was a broken basement window and a bloody towel.

The woman who lived there later told officers about awakening to find a nude Kirk in her bedroom, demanding clothing and her silence.

“He told her he was running from the cops and would kill her if she made a noise,” Darrow wrote.

He got clothes and cash and the woman’s car keys and went into the garage, where he apparently was unable to start her car.

Kirk was arrested after police went into the home, got the woman to safety, and blasted him with pepper spray.

When later questioned by police, Kirk denied threatening the woman, saying he’d “developed a relationship” with the stranger during the time he was in her home.

Kirk also told them he’d recently been part of a guided tour of the Edmonds Police Department and that he recognized one of the officers who showed up at the woman’s home. At the time, the officer was “pointing a gun at him through the garage window while he was trying to start” the woman’s car, Darrow wrote.

Prosecutors want Kirk’s bail maintained at $100,000.

Scott North: 425-339-3431, north@heraldnet.com.

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