A 29-year-old Elma man who head-butted a police car during his arrest for stealing propane tanks was sentenced to one year plus one month in prison.
Harley J. Harmon pleaded guilty to second-degree theft, a reduction from his original charge of second-degree burglary and malicious mischief.
Harmon stole eight propane tanks used to power fork lifts from The Warm Company in Elma on June 26. According to court documents, an employee responded to an alarm early June 27 in a water pump building.
Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s deputies contacted a 38-year-old woman who claimed her boyfriend, Harmon, forced her to come with him to the business “to go check and see what doors had been left open,” according to charging documents. Police reports noted the woman claimed he threatened her children if she refused to help.
She told police she saw him take the tanks and go to a small shed to take batteries. She said he cut one free but an alarm went off after he cut the wires for a second, and they both fled. Police confirmed the battery wires had been cut.
When police arrested Harmon, he resisted, eventually head-butting a patrol car and denting the door. Repair costs are estimated at $537.
Judge Gordon Godfrey asked what Harmon planned to do with stolen propane tanks. Harmon explained he planned to convert his truck to propane power.
“You’ve got to steal a Porsche or a Ferrari, not a propane tank. Not when you’re looking at a year in jail,” Godfrey quipped.