Burglary suspect hit with Taser while trying to escape

Posted 9/10/21

A Quilcene man arrested after an apparent crime spree in Port Ludlow, Port Townsend, and Quilcene was ordered held on $10,000 bail despite his pleas to be immediately released so he could go home to …

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Burglary suspect hit with Taser while trying to escape

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A Quilcene man arrested after an apparent crime spree in Port Ludlow, Port Townsend, and Quilcene was ordered held on $10,000 bail despite his pleas to be immediately released so he could go home to his wife, dogs, and lawn mower.

Zachary Abel Christensen, 36, is facing five counts of second-degree burglary, third-degree theft, possession of a stolen vehicle, obstructing a law enforcement officer, and resisting arrest.

Authorities allege Christensen tried to get into a motorhome on Discovery Road at about 5 a.m. Aug. 11. After finding the door locked, Christensen tried to climb through a window but was pepper sprayed by the woman living in the home.

Christensen then fled the scene, leaving behind his dog and a 2004 Chevrolet C4500 truck.

FOUND NEAR THE SCENE

A deputy found Christensen a short time later near the grocery store on Four Corners Road and Highway 20, where he had purchased a carton of milk to stop the sting from the pepper spray.

Later that night, the deputy discovered the Chevrolet truck that Christensen had abandoned had been reported stolen from its parking spot outside a Port Ludlow restaurant.

A little more than a week later, Christensen was seen entering a shop on a property on Oak Bay Road after he told a youngster he was looking for a sheriff’s deputy he thought lived there, because he wanted to settle an earlier dispute he had with the lawman.

Christensen was allegedly seen eating yogurt and a can of beans he had taken from the shed as he walked away.

Another deputy found Christensen the next day at the end of Rose Street in Quilcene near the Hood Canal Ranger District office.

When the officer approached Christensen and said he was under arrest, the deputy noticed Christensen had bulky items in his pockets and a metal container of acetone in his hands.

He dropped the can and started reaching for his pockets, but when the deputy stepped forward, Christensen allegedly blurted “F-that” and started running.

The deputy gave chase, and said Christensen dropped a large alarm clock that had been in his pocket as he ran away, trying to escape down a wooded trail.

The pursuing deputy caught up to him after Christensen tripped on a vine and fell down.

When the deputy grabbed him by the shoulders, he continued to try to get away, and said he wasn’t going to jail.

After he allegedly started grabbing for the deputy’s hands, the deputy said he backed up and pulled out his Taser, pointed the weapon’s laser sight on Christensen, and asked him to surrender.

Christensen again tried to get away, and the deputy shot him on his right thigh with the Taser. 

He then said “I can’t breathe,” but the deputy noted in his report that he was still some distance away at the time. He was arrested and checked out by an aid crew before being booked into jail.

A BIT OF A SURPRISE

At his first court appearance last Wednesday, Christensen expressed surprise at the charges as they were read by Judge Keith Harper.

“Whoa. What?” asked Christensen, who was appearing via a phone call from the county jail because of a COVID-19 infection.

“I never stole anything,” he added.

Harper continued to read the counts against Christensen, but the interruptions were nearly nonstop. 

“You have to be quiet while I’m talking. Be quiet! I am going to read the charges to you,” Harper said.

The warning was not heeded, however, with Christensen rapidly talking over the judge.

“I’m going to tell you one more time to be quiet or we will mute you. Do you understand?” Harper said.

THE CREEPINESS FACTOR

When discussing potential bail, Deputy Prosecutor Anna K. Phillips noted that Christensen had at least four arrest warrants in his criminal past, and said it wasn’t known if he was a transient or had a permanent local address.

The circumstances of the charges were also noteworthy, she said, including the contact with minor children on a property where he wasn’t welcome.

“Really what I would call the creepiness factor of being in someone else’s garage, taking their food,” Phillips said.

She also noted that Christensen tried to run from police when he was finally located.

Phillips asked that bail be set at $10,000.

Richard Davies, stepping in for Christensen’s lawyer who was not present at the meeting, noted that Christensen had only been charged with property crimes.

Christensen pleaded to be released from jail.

“I just want to go home and take care of my wife,” he said. “I’ve been married for 15 years. Faithfully, I might add.”

He noted he was self-employed and had never missed a court date in the past.

He promised to make things right.

“I am a good man,” Christensen said. “I will make you proud; I promise.”

He said he wanted to go home, mow his lawn, and hug his puppies.

“And show you guys I do care. I’m begging for one chance, sir,” he added.

“I want to hug my wife tonight,” Christensen said.

That prompted a snappy response from Davies.

“I’m not sure you should be hugging anyone, with COVID,” the attorney offered.

Harper said he had been inclined to set bail at a higher amount, given the series of “highly unusual” criminal events, including one where Christensen said he wanted to settle something with a law enforcement officer. 

There was also the allegation of running from police, and resisting arrest, the judge continued.

“It was a misunderstanding!” Christensen interrupted again.

“You better learn how to listen to somebody,” Harper advised.

The judge said  Christensen was a high risk to not show up in court, and set bail at $10,000.

“Am I going to be released, then?” Christensen asked.

Not unless bail was made, the judge responded.

Christensen went on.

“If I could be released to go home that would be a beautiful thing. Am I going to be able to go home today?” he asked again.

“If you post bail,” Harper said.

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