(August 6th photos by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand)
Donald Maxwell Plute is now charged in connection with the pickup theft and car-ramming incident that unfolded across the peninsula a week and a half ago. And his bail in this case alone will start at $250,000 – if police can find and arrest him.
Plute is the 23-year-old Top Hat man who was let out of jail the day after his arrest last week as first reported here, because District Court Judge Johanna Bender didn’t find “probable cause” to hold him. Compounding matters at the time, a warrant for his arrest was issued the same day, related to another case, but somehow it wasn’t brought to the judge’s attention. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office told WSB at the time that charges still might be filed – and today, indeed, they have been.
Plute is now charged with first-degree robbery, two counts of second-degree assault, and attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle. As we reported during and after it all happened on August 6th, the pickup truck he is accused of stealing from outside Cactus on Alki was pursued by an Audi containing two men including the pickup’s owner. While calling 911, they followed the pickup to Upper Alki, where it reverse-rammed the car, then took off. It was spotted again in Morgan Junction, where a police car pursuing it was also reverse-rammed on southbound California just south of Fauntleroy. The pickup was ditched nearby in Gatewood and Plute was arrested hiding under a deck at a nearby home.
The charging document filed today says that evidence developed since last week includes fingerprints from a phone that was in the pickup when it was stolen, as well as witness identification of Plute. The documents also say Plute has had five warrants out for his arrest in the past three years, with convictions including hit-and-run and another case of attempting to elude police; his record goes back to age 15, with juvenile convictions including theft, assault, car prowl, and possession of a stolen vehicle. The charging documents tell the tale of many citizen witnesses who spotted the suspect on the run in Gatewood and also note that the damage to the police car alone will cost more than $11,000 to fix. Again, Plute is now charged, but is not in custody; if and when he’s arrested, $260,000 in warrants are out for him.
ADDED 1:38 AM: Went back through our photo archives and found a full-face photo we took at the arrest scene after Plute was taken out of a patrol car to be checked out by arriving firefighter/medics summoned when he complained of pain.
According to a close-up view on the Facebook page a commenter mentioned, the neck tattoo says “FEAR ME.”