Nude cyclist pedaling off to prison

EVERETT — A Lynnwood man who once tried to out-pedal police while wearing nothing more than a bicycle helmet is off to prison.

James E. Kirk was fully dressed in standard-issued jail clothes Monday when a judge sentenced him to two years behind bars. Kirk pleaded guilty last month to felony burglary and robbery in connection with an Aug. 18 crime spree, including a frightening home invasion in Edmonds.

Kirk, 50, didn’t have any prior felony convictions. In exchange for the defendant’s guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to recommend a low-end sentence. Snohomish County Superior Court Judge George Appel followed the recommendation, sparing Kirk an additional eight months in prison.

Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow on Monday called the events that led to Kirk’s first felony convictions “colorful and bizarre.”

Kirk was first arrested Aug. 16 after wrestling his ex-wife’s car keys from her and driving off in the woman’s Mustang. She told police she suspected that Kirk was using street drugs and not taking his psychiatric medication.

Edmonds police tracked Kirk down and arrested him, but there was no sign of his ex-wife’s car. Kirk posted bond and was released from jail.

On Aug. 18, an Edmonds police officer spotted the stolen Mustang racing through a neighborhood. Kirk bailed out of the car and scrambled down an embankment through brush. His loose shorts came off, leaving him wearing only a T-shirt.

Within minutes Kirk was spotted pedaling a bicycle. He was naked, except for a bicycle helmet.

Eventually Kirk ditched the bike and broke into a house, where a woman was home alone. Kirk demanded clothes. He also threatened to kill the woman if she gave him trouble. The woman told police Kirk forced her into a guest bedroom, pushed her onto a bed and hit her with a pillow.

Police rescued the woman while Kirk was in a different part of the house. Officers then shot pepper spray into the basement. Kirk finally surrendered.

He denied threatening the woman, telling the cops that they’d “developed a relationship.”

Kirk also told police he recognized one of the officers who pointed a gun at him during the standoff. The officer recently had led some Boy Scouts on a tour of the police department. Kirk had been with the troop.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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