Transient faces six criminal charges for alleged crime spree in Port Townsend

Suspect in series of PT vehicle thefts is ruled a flight risk

Posted 6/15/22

A 31-year-old homeless man is facing multiple felony charges after he allegedly stole two vehicles from businesses in Port Townsend and then drove off with a third without the owner’s …

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Transient faces six criminal charges for alleged crime spree in Port Townsend

Suspect in series of PT vehicle thefts is ruled a flight risk

Posted

A 31-year-old homeless man is facing multiple felony charges after he allegedly stole two vehicles from businesses in Port Townsend and then drove off with a third without the owner’s permission within the span of little more than a week.

Andrew Nicholas Adam Gaikowski made his first appearance Thursday in Jefferson County Superior Court following his arrest June 8. He was jailed on $25,000 bond.

Gaikowski is facing two felony counts of theft of a motor vehicle, as well as felony charges of second-degree burglary and second-degree taking a motor vehicle without permission. He is also facing two gross misdemeanor charges of third-degree malicious mischief.

The alleged crime spree started sometime over the Memorial Day weekend. Port Townsend police were called to Shold’s Landscape Products & Garden Center on West Sims Way when an employee reported a 1999 Ford F-150 that belonged to Shold’s Excavating was discovered missing.

The truck was found by a deputy from the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office near 7 Cedars, and Gaikowski was found sleeping in the truck, according to an incident report by Port Townsend police.

The Ford had not yet been reported as stolen, but when a Clallam County officer checked with the excavating company, the deputy learned it was stolen and went back to the truck discovered Gaikowski had fled and abandoned the truck. The Ford was impounded.

On June 7, a man doing community service at Believe in Recovery on West Sims Way said he left his 2016 Ford F-150 parked unlocked with the keys inside but came back five minutes later to find the pickup was missing.

Video footage recovered from Believe in Recovery showed someone matching Gaikowski’s description walk past the truck and look inside, then come back and get into the vehicle and drive it away.

Gaikowski was identified in the video footage by relatives, who later said they had talked to him on the phone and he said he was in the Forks area and “just wanted to get some rest and that he would return it when he was done,” according to court documents.

A detective with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office allegedly found Cotton driving in the truck on Highway 19, presumably driving the truck back to its owner.

Gaikowski was pulled over on Highway 19 and said he had gone to Forks to get away for a while, and said he knew he didn’t have permission to take the truck, according to an incident report from Port Townsend police.

Prosecutors also claim that Gaikowski stole a 1998 Toyota Corolla from Gary’s Cars and Trucks on West Sims Way sometime around 3 a.m. June 5.

The owner of the business said someone broke a window to get inside the building and took a set of keys off the desk, then took the Corolla from the parking lot.

Video footage from the business showed a man entering the building and rummaging around the office, eventually taking keys off a desk and leaving.

Officers, deputies, and other members of the community identified the person in the footage as Gaikowski, according to court documents.

The Toyota was valued at $2,000 and the damage to the building was estimated at $500.

After his arrest, Gaikowski allegedly told authorities he broke the window at Gary’s and went inside the business. He also said he could not figure out what keys would start the Corolla, so he broke out the steering column, causing about $500 in damage to the vehicle.

The stolen car was later found by the power lines between Four Corners Road and Anderson Lake Road, where Gaikowski had allegedly told officers he had dumped it.

During his first appearance on the six criminal counts last week, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tuppence Macintyre noted Gaikowski had an extensive criminal history of theft, residential burglary, malicious mischief, and other charges that stretched back to 2005.

She also noted his legal troubles included 19 warrants for his arrest and asked that bail be set at $25,000.

Scott Charlton, Gaikowski’s public defender, asked bail to be set at $5,000.

“Mr. Gaikowski has no resources whatsoever. I know that it would be tough for him to even post that,” Charlton said.

Superior Court Judge Keith Harper agreed with the recommendation from prosecutors.

“Nineteen warrants is a lot,” Harper said.

“It’s alleged you committed these offenses in just a matter of days,” the judge added. “Three alleged automobile thefts is quite remarkable in such a short amount of time.”

“You appear to be a high risk not to show up to court when you are supposed to, and to continue committing serious crimes. I’ll follow the prosecutor’s recommendation,” he added.

Harper set bail at $25,000.

Gaikowski’s arraignment was set for Friday, June 17.

Both theft of a motor vehicle and second-degree burglary can result in a maximum 10-year prison sentence and $20,000 fine upon conviction.

Taking a motor vehicle can result in a maximum five-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine upon conviction.

Conviction of third-degree malicious mischief can carry a maximum 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.

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