Four Olympia men are facing criminal charges after they allegedly spent weeks targeting and robbing a local homeless man.
On at least three occasions, the men reportedly took the victim’s money, shoes, clothing, backpack, wallet and cellphone. Once, they allegedly left the victim with a black eye and bruised ribs.
Three suspects — Gregory Sharlow, 30; Christopher “Mouse” Snyder, 23; and Taylor Hymas, 27 — are being held in the Thurston County jail.
Joseph “Joe Joe” Tolbert, 20, was released on $25,000 bond.
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Each of the four suspects is charged with two counts of first-degree robbery. Each pleaded not guilty to the charges at a Tuesday hearing.
Lt. Paul Lower said Olympia police began investigating the alleged attacks after an officer responded to reports of an assault during a free dinner at First Baptist Church. But because the victim was hesitant to give his name or much information, it took awhile to figure out.
Lower said the arrests were the result of officers’ hard work, and relationships — with the downtown community and local social services — that have been cultivated for years.
“Our officers have relationships with folks here,” Lower said. “When things go wrong, we have open lines of communication. There’s some trust going on here.
“But cases like these are complicated. People don’t come to our front doors and admit to committing crimes.”
Officer Michael Peters responded to the incident at the church about 5:45 p.m. Feb. 5. Peters wrote in his report that the victim didn’t want to give his name and that he had been “jumped” by four people.
He declined to answer additional questions and walked away.
A few witnesses came forward and reported seeing four men attack the victim, climb into a blue pickup and drive away, according to the report. Peters found a 2-inch folding knife at the scene.
On Feb. 11, Officer Duane Hinrichs spoke to a 35-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl in downtown Olympia. The man told Hinrichs that he was the victim of the Feb. 5 robbery at First Baptist Church, and that Sharlow, Snyder, Hymas and Tolbert had stolen $100 from him.
The man and the teen were afraid to talk to Hinrichs in an open setting, he wrote in his report.
The man told Hinrichs that Snyder and Tolbert had “checked his pockets” at knifepoint earlier that week while they were all at the Interfaith Works Winter Warming Center. He said he didn’t call the police.
He reported that he was robbed another time while he was sleeping, and that the four suspects took his backpack, phone, wallet and shoes, according to Hinrichs’ report.
The man told Hinrichs that he’s afraid of the suspects, and that he believed they were having another man, who drives a white Honda, follow him and report on his whereabouts.
Police identified the man with the Honda, but he hasn’t been charged in the incidents.
The man later told Officer Brenda Anderson that one of the incidents left him with several bruised ribs and a black eye. She wrote in her report that remnants of the black eye were still visible.
Several officers responded to First Baptist Church on Feb. 12. Sharlow and Snyder were there, Officer Jeff Davis wrote in his report.
When Davis arrested Snyder, he reportedly found brass knuckles, a rifle round and three shaved vehicle keys in his pockets.
Another officer reportedly found four counterfeit $100 bills in Snyder’s pockets.
According to Anderson’s report, Sharlow admitted to assaulting the 35-year-old man during one of the incidents. Snyder denied involvement in any assault or robbery.