West Seattle Crime Watch: 3 notes, including a puzzling prowl

Before we get to two West Seattle Crime Watch reports – a quick note about a sizable police response in Arbor Heights this afternoon, near 34th/102nd: What started as an “assault with weapons/aid” call on the 911 log was a fight between relatives, police told us at the scene. While one person suffered minor injuries, they said, no one needed to go to the hospital, and they were not expecting to arrest anyone involved. Now, to two reports out of the WSB inbox today – both involving car crime, including a prowling incident whose victim is a bit puzzled:

First, a short note from Kyle:

I wanted to alert the community that my driver side wheels and tires were stolen off of my Toyota Prius on 45th Ave between Charleston and Andover last night.

Second, from Stephanie:

I live on 39th between Stevens and Olga and went out to my car this morning around 10 to find my door partially closed, with a t-shirt I had had inside the car on the ground by the curb. I opened the door to find all of my stuff had been gone through. First, I tried to figure out how they got into my car, because I always lock my car and if I don’t, it does it automatically a few minutes after closing the door and taking the keys out of it. But, there was no damage anywhere else to the car or the lock mechanism or anything of the sort.

Next I started looking through things to determine what was missing. They left a debit card, probably 50+ CDs, an iPod shuffle, my subwoofer, and a lot of other random things. The only things I could see that were missing were a bag that was full of quarters and other change, and also my Columbia fleece. However, when I talked to my neighbor, we started looking around and found it thrown nearby in the bushes. Who leaves a debit card and an iPod though?! Anyway, I parked my car in front of my house around 7 pm and went out again around 9 pm, and then not again until 10 am today. So, anyway, I just wanted to alert the neighborhood to watch out for a very weird thief!

18 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: 3 notes, including a puzzling prowl"

  • chrisma June 7, 2011 (6:22 pm)

    Not that weird, really. Perhaps the thief was watching her as she left the vehicle and noticed that she didn’t lock it. Could have got in before the auto-lock did it’s magic and voila: no damage. A debit card is useless without the pin and you only get 3 or so guesses before the machine eats it. Plus you get your photo taken at the ATM. Were the CD’s in their original cases? If not, good luck selling them. I don’t know what you can pawn an iPod Shuffle for, but it’s probably not that much. Maybe that’s a little weird. Otherwise, the thief took the cash and apparently the fleece, but then tossed the fleece. Maybe it didn’t fit.

  • ces June 7, 2011 (7:15 pm)

    Most places have security cameras nowadays, so if you use a credit/debit card, you are probably on video, and therefore traceable. CD’s take time and effort to sell. So would the ipod shuffle, which also has a serial number, and therefore is traceable. Cash is cash – everyone takes it. And how would I prove that the $20 bill you used to buy groceries was the $20 bill from my wallet?

    BTW – you might have that car alarm checked out – they’re battery-operated, and batteries do die. If the battery is dead, it wouldn’t have gone off. And frankly, so many car alarms go off that who pays attention to them anymore?

  • CS June 7, 2011 (11:12 pm)

    someone went through our (unlocked) car the other night and all I could figure that they stole was my box of tampons out of the glove compartment! We caught them in the act and called 911, the dispatcher was cracking up. The police didn’t find the car prowlers- a red nissan sedan, newer model, rolling down the street checking to see if cars are locked and if they’re not they go through them. I assume it was a woman…

  • NWS June 7, 2011 (11:42 pm)

    “A debit card is useless without the pin”

    False. A debit card can still be used for purchases. I got a call from my bank recently that someone had used my (stolen) debit card to make a purchase via the internet. I didn’t realize the card had been stolen until the bank called to check out suspicious activity, which turned out to be real fraud.

  • chrisma June 8, 2011 (12:27 am)

    NWS, I’m glad you spoke up. Stephanie (the car prowl victim) should have her account changed. Even without taking the card, the thief could have copied the number, expiration and CVV code, as well as gotten the billing address from registration or insurance papers in the car. Fraudulent charges could be made later with this information, assuming the account is left active. Hope you took this step, Stephanie.

    I think taking the card would have been pointless. Knowing the theft would likely be discovered within 24 hours, I don’t know what the thief could purchase on the internet that would be of use/value AND not be traceable to him or her. Can’t have anything shipped to you. Can’t pay any bills in your name. What can you get?

  • wsguy June 8, 2011 (1:06 am)

    “Cash is cash – everyone takes it” – NOT ME! As far as the stuff left behind they might have been spooked. Scum bags, I mean poor miss guided soles

  • A Wise Woman June 8, 2011 (4:00 am)

    “To Catch A Prowler”
    I live on Avalon Way and over the last 3 months I have had my vehicle gone through several times.
    Of course I don’t have anything of value in my vehicle because it has a convertible top. Nothing seems to be ever missing but electrical fuses.
    However this morning I woke from a drifting sleep at 1:50 a.m. to hear my vehicle rear door close. I looked outside to find my passenger door wide open.
    In my skivies, I went outside to close vehicle door and assess loss, if any.
    But lo and behold I end up confronting drunk man (28-30 something Latino or Native American 5’4 or 5’5 long black braided pony tail) still going through my ashtray looking for something not there (probably money). Hopefully I scared him bad enough to never come back again.
    I called police – dispatcher delayed a little not as bad as usual though. After getting dressed I decide to look down street where scared guy went.
    Police drive up, I explain. Other police cars are searching.
    Lo and behold stupid drunk man is running up the street on the sidewalk across from me and police officer. Five 5 veteran police officer men and one 1 rookie converge on man and arrest him for multiple violations -for car prowling plus.
    Man is friends with older Native American woman who wears sunglasses at night and lives near Avalon & Genesee whom rode the bus #21 home last night about 10:30 p.m. On the bus she and other drunk friends (suspect wasn’t on the bus) were loud and obnoxious.
    Turns out man was recently released from Jail.
    Man now knows he safer in jail than in my Jeep.
    No prowling on my watch – I am not having it!

    • WSB June 8, 2011 (4:16 am)

      Well, that’s quite the story. Will probably showcase it separately later. Thanks! – Tracy

  • CandrewB June 8, 2011 (6:03 am)

    I’ve seen the same three derelicts on the 54 and wondered where they lived (or hung around).

  • P-star June 8, 2011 (7:13 am)

    Car thieves/prowlers will often pull back the rubber weatherstripping above the windows and reach down to unlock the doors. The glass can actually bend just enough for your arm (or tool) to press/pull the unlock button. Once the glass is released, it will return to its position and will appear that no force was used to gain entry.

  • Jeff June 8, 2011 (7:29 am)

    Sounds like they needed quick cash, probably for a drug deal. This kind of thing used to happen all the time when I lived in the CD in a drug hot zone.

    A debit card is probably useless to someone trying to make quick cash but is far from useless to a thief with a longer range plan. Someone can rack up a lot of purchases before a card is reported. And there are even places on the internet where debit and credit card numbers can be sold for profit.

    If your debit card goes missing or stolen report it immediately!

  • cherylc June 8, 2011 (8:39 am)

    A Wise Woman, “Man now knows he safer in jail than in my Jeep.” This may not have been your intent, but this sounds like an imitation of the the way Indians spoke in old TV shows, and if so, that’s not cool. If not, I apologize for the assumption.

    I love the part about you running out in your skivvies though. That is awesome, and brave.

  • GAnative June 8, 2011 (9:37 am)

    “A debit card is useless without the pin”

    False again – A debit card can be run as “credit card” and if the purchase is under $25 some stores don’t require a signature.

  • Lulu June 8, 2011 (10:04 am)

    Interesting. I had a similar situation happen last October. I came out at 4am to my car parked in my driveway to find my driver door ajar. No damage to the car or to the door lock, so I have no idea how they got in (unless I left my car unlocked). They clearly shuffled through my stuff, but left behind an iPod nano, Versace sunglasses, and my Magellan navigation. The ONLY thing they took was my brand new North Face jacket. Go figure. I’m guessing they were just cold… ? I was lucky not to lose more. But still, very strange. (I live in High Point)

  • Beth June 8, 2011 (11:36 am)

    Great point NWS.

    My brother had a similar expereince. But, in his case, he was taken completely aback when the bank called, because the card was in his wallet! They surmised the number was pulled from a restauarant or coffee shop! Dang. You can’t trust anyone…

  • us too June 8, 2011 (2:01 pm)

    similar experience here, to Beth and NWS. the numbers for one of our debit cards (not the card itself- which we still have) were stolen somehow at a restaurant, etc, we are not sure. the bank called US to ask about a suspicious charge, which was less than $5. it was suspicious because the transaction was ‘called in’ and it was out of state. they canceled the debit card immediately and sent a new one. since then, a couple weeks ago, we’ve gone back to using cash as much as possible.

  • One More Observation June 8, 2011 (3:09 pm)

    My debit card number was hijacked as well. There is a handy dandy little device that some a$$ came up with that restaurant/bar staff can carry insignficantly and use when they take your card for the legit payment. The machine can scan your debit card info for later use. Someone used ours to pay their phone bill (??) Crazy and aggravating. It RARELY happens with credit cards apparently…only debit cards.

  • Paul June 9, 2011 (3:46 am)

    I would booby trap my car but then I would probably get sued by the robber,,,Maybe I could get a pet rattlesnake and keep it in the car overnight

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