Facebook fugitive's new status: Arrested
By Rob Ollikainen
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Travis A. Nicolaysen, who made international news for his social media posts after evading police in Port Angeles on April 4, was arrested without incident shortly after 2 p.m. Monday.
Authorities were tipped that he was staying in the basement of the house at 529 E. 12th St.
“He basically came up from the basement and surrendered,” Port Angeles Deputy Police Chief Brian Smith said.
Nicolaysen, 26, was wanted by the state Department of Corrections for parole violations and is a suspect in a March 28 assault on his girlfriend.
He evaded police during two foot chases in the residential neighborhoods near Olympic Medical Center on April 4 — then posted about it on Facebook.
Nicolaysen's name went viral after news outlets picked up the story.
“We appreciate the help from the public, and actually the help of the news media,” Smith said. “This is obviously a serious matter — the fleeing and underlying charges.”
Nicolaysen, who has not yet been charged, is being held in the Clallam County jail without bond.
He is expected to make his first appearance in Clallam County Superior Court today.
Port Angeles police responded to the house after the Clallam County Sheriff's Office received a tip that he was staying there.
City police, sheriff's deputies, state corrections officers and a U.S. Marshals fugitive task force responded.
“We deployed ourselves in a manner that would be instantly visible and established a perimeter, like we always do,” Smith said.
Authorities determined that a person matching Nicolaysen's description was in the basement and were granted permission to enter the house.
Smith said Nicolaysen did not live at the house in which he was arrested.
A Port Angeles police dog team was called to the scene, but Nicolaysen had surrendered before the dog unit arrived.
Police said Nicolaysen has been convicted of five felonies, including domestic violence, residential burglary, theft of a firearm and court-order violations.
After evading police, Nicolaysen changed his Facebook status from “in a relationship” to “single.”
He also responded to some who warned that police were after him and others pleading that he turn himself in.
After the story of Nicolaysen's Facebook posts — and the words of support and criticism from his Facebook friends — was published in the Peninsula Daily News, it was picked up by news outlets across the U.S. and into Europe and India via The Associated Press.
Social media fans began following Nicolaysen's Facebook site, and some comments supported his fleeing authorities.
At the scene of the arrest, Dan Jones told a Peninsula Daily News photographer that he lives at the house where Nicolaysen was staying.
Jones said he didn't know Nicolaysen's last name, which is why he let the fugitive stay there for three days.
Smith conceded that “not all cases like this get this much attention.”
“We take this stuff seriously, and we're glad that he's in custody,” Smith said.
Photojournalist Chris Tucker contributed to this report.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at email@example.com.
Last modified: April 16. 2012 6:40PM