Police Play Ketchup, Replace Smashed Tomatoes


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Last week’s bizarre chase through the backyards of south Arcata ended with a warrant suspect taken into custody at gunpoint. He was apparently unharmed, but there was one casualty: a tomato plant trampled in the Arcata Police Department’s takedown of the fleeing man.

Police had chased 23-year-old Drew James Bibber for nine blocks before cornering him in a residential backyard, where his arrest was documented by Instagram user cate_imal. “Shits going down in my sister’s backyard!” she wrote with an accompanying photo of at least seven officers surrounding a shirtless, cuffed man. The photo caught the attention of North Coast residents when it was featured on the Lost Coast Outpost’s Instagram-mining #HumboldtCounty feature.

Not long after, another Instagrammer, Spasian928, posted a closeup of the raised bed carnage: Snapped bamboo supports, packed dirt, mangled tomato stems.

Despite Spasian928’s high hopes for her tomatoes’ rehab, one APD officer was apparently awash with guilt over the smooshed vines. Ranger Heidi Groszmann returned the following day with a tray of fresh tomato starts, much to Spasian928’s delight:

Arcata Police Department came by this morning to drop off these Lovely tomato plants. Subsequently After yesterday's police Pursuit which ended in my backyard, on a freshly transplanted tomato. Arcata Police Department, Thank you for your Thoughtfulness and efforts in emphasizing the equal importance of Community support, accountability, "common" decency, as well as enforcing the law. Thank you. My intentions are to plant these tomatoes and share them with the surrounding neighborhood. Especially to those who's backyards were also trespassed upon ;D! Yay all around!! #arcata #apd #arcatapolice #northcoast #northencalifornia #neighborhood #chase #community #cool #accident #roma #tomatofarm #tomatoes #tomatoplant #loveyoulongtime #humboldtcounty #spreadthelove #sharingiscaring #honor #accountability #policework #poepoe #policepursuit #gifts #thoughtful #love

A photo posted by Jennifer (@spasian928) on

Here’s APD’s release on the chase:

On 4/17/2015 at about 6:00am, the Arcata Police Department was notified by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office in Maine, that a subject wanted for an extraditable burglary warrant, Drew James Bibber (age 23), was in the Arcata area and associated with a converted yellow school bus.

At about 1:00pm, officers located the associated vehicle in the 1000 block of 5th Street and began surveillance of the area. As officers entered a business in the area to check for the warrant suspect, Bibber exited at the same time and fled from officers when his name was called.

Without shoes, the suspect led officers on an approximate nine block foot pursuit, during which time officers traversed through the Arcata Marsh, across streets with heavy traffic, through a creek and several residential backyards. Towards the end of the pursuit, the suspect managed to find an unaccompanied bicycle and fled on that as well.

Officers were able to box in Bibber, who then jumped off the bike and fled on foot into another residential backyard where he was taken into custody at gun point. The Lincoln County Sheriff's department was notified and they have begun the extradition process of Bibber back to Maine.

The Arcata Police Department would like to thank the Humboldt State University Police Department for their assistance in the capture. Additionally, a hearty thanks to the residents of Arcata who greatly assisted their police department by continuously updating officers with the location of the suspect as he fled.


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