Lakewood

JBLM soldier accused of stalking young women in Lakewood

JBLM soldier accused of stalking young women in Lakewood
LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- A 34-year-old solider stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord has been arrested for allegedly stalking at least three young women around Lakewood -- two of them under 18 years old.

Police say Lamar Yoder would be in military uniform and drive his truck around, shadowing women as they walked to school in the morning. When he spotted one, he would honk his horn, wave his arms, and ask them to come to his truck, investigators said. When the victims ignored Yoder, he continued following them and keeping them under surveillance, police said.

A teenage girl reported the first incident in July outside Clover Park High School.

"We looked at the school surveillance system and found the truck he was driving was captured on their system," said Lt. Chris Lawler with Lakewood Police.

Police say they didn't hear anything more about the man or the truck until Monday.

"Another girl on her way to Harrison Prep school down in the Lake City area saying, 'Hey I'm being followed by this guy -- he creeps me out,' " Lawler said. "(She) described the truck and we realize, OK, this is now another related incident."

On Tuesday, undercover police patrolled schools and bus routes hoping to catch the man in the act.

"Sure enough, we found him driving around the school routes in that same truck," Lawler said.

Police arrested Yoder, and while questioning him, they say another call came in from a woman complaining a man matching Yoder's description had been stalking her near the Transit Center just a few blocks away.

Yoder told investigators he was lonely and just wanted to talk to the girls -- and admitted to stalking nearly 50 women since March, police said. Yoder also indicated his habit may have started as early as January, Lawler said.

Now, Lakewood police are checking with nearby police agencies to see if any similar incidents have occurred and are asking the public if you know of additional victims, to give them a call.

"It's not normal behavior -- that's the problem," Lawler said. "I mean, you don't drive around and motion for a woman to come to your car."

Yoder is now being held in jail, facing three counts of stalking.