Advertisement

Fugitive in Drag : Seeking Suspected Probation Violator, Police Find Their Man--Dressed as a Woman

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Hot on the trail of suspected probation violator Dave Marwick, Simi Valley police found only Karen.

She greeted the officers in eye makeup, a long white robe and a strangely high-pitched voice.

Then they noticed her hairy chest.

They had found their man.

Advertisement

“Mr. Marwick is 5 feet, 9 inches tall and 170 pounds, so he’s not a real shapely woman at that,” said Sgt. Mike King, a department spokesman. “They asked him who he was, and he said in a woman’s voice--not a very Academy Award-winning voice-- Karen .”

Police busted Marwick, 27, on suspicion of breaking probation from a burglary conviction. No charges were expected against him for impersonating a woman to evade arrest.

The pursuit of Marwick began, police said, just after 4 p.m. Thursday.

Officers in the department’s Special Enforcement Detail, out looking for him on a couple of warrants, spotted the pony-tailed, mustachioed suspect about to drive away from a mobile home in the city’s east end.

Advertisement

One warrant, said Officer Craig Reiners, was for failing to appear in court to answer a charge of drug intoxication. The other warrant was issued after a Ventura County judge temporarily released Marwick from a burglary sentence to handle personal business after the Jan. 17 earthquake damaged his home, and he never came back, Reiners said.

“After I recognized him, I yelled, ‘There he is,’ and he saw our car,” Reiners said. “I hit him with the red light, but he jumped out of his car and he had just enough of a lead on us to duck into a trailer. We weren’t exactly sure where he had gone.”

With 200 trailers in the park and no search warrants, the officers had to call off the chase after about 40 minutes, Reiners said.

An hour later, he said, a tipster told the officers they could find Marwick inside the trailer at space 190. But when they arrived it was locked, and no one answered the door, Reiners said.

Advertisement

A tipster called again at about 11 p.m. to say that Marwick was definitely inside the trailer, and the officers went and knocked.

Marwick’s girlfriend answered and let the officers in to search the trailer, Reiners said.

“We went in there and I observed him sitting with his back to me, and I saw he was dressed in a robe and his hair was down,” said Sgt. John Wilcox, another Special Enforcement Detail member. “I thought it was a female, and I said, ‘Don’t move while we search the place.’

“I said, ‘What is your name?’ and he came back with the name of ‘Karen’ in kind of a high-pitched tone. And as I started to see the face from the side, I could see it was a pretty unattractive female,” Wilcox said.

Advertisement

“I was surmising this wasn’t a woman,” he continued. “And as the other officers came around to the front, they could see it was the suspect.”

Marwick had shaved off his large, ornate mustache, Wilcox said.

He had daubed on eyeliner and donned a woman’s heavy, white terry-cloth robe in a half-finished attempt to pass himself off as a woman, Wilcox said.

“You know, another 10 minutes,” King quipped, “and he might have been missing some plumbing.”

Advertisement

The officers quickly arrested Marwick and held him overnight at the Simi Valley Police Department. He was transferred to the Ventura County Jail, where officials said he was to be held without bail.


Advertisement