(Photo by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 7:48 AM: Thanks to those who messaged us early this morning about a SWAT operation just after 6 am in the 7300 block of 16th SW (map). Neighbors heard loud noises – suspected to be the “flash-bang” type of devices often used in SWAT operations – and say they saw one person handcuffed. Only a Bellevue Police vehicle was visible when we arrived; Seattle Police say they were “assisting another agency.” We have a message out to Bellevue PD and will add anything more we find out.
9:40 AM UPDATE: Just talked to Bellevue PD spokesperson Officer Carla Iafrate. She says BPD’s Special Enforcement Team arrested five people – four men and a 15-year-old girl – in connection with an “ID-theft ring (that has) several victims from Bellevue.” Their investigation “led us to this house in West Seattle,” and SWAT was used to get into the house for searching and arresting because of “some intel about possible firearms or (about) one of the individuals,” requiring “extra safety.” Officer Iafrate adds that BPD “collected a lot of evidence at the house, and the detective and officers are going to be weeding through that.” She adds that the team at the scene was thanked by several neighbors – not an everyday occurrence, she notes – who had been aware something was going on there for some time.
12:15 PM UPDATE: Bellevue Police’s official news release is out. The only thing in it that we haven’t already reported is that there may be some non-Bellevue victims. Full text in this PDF.
5:13 PM UPDATE: This photo is courtesy of our friends at KIRO 7 Eyewitness News, who asked permission to use one of our photos from this morning and shared this in return:
That’s some of the evidence displayed by Bellevue PD, according to KIRO, which says it constitutes “close to 200 credit cards, some driver licenses, checks (some altered). Laptops and cell phones,” with “dozens of victims from Bellevue, Seattle, Bonney Lake, Auburn, Kent, Tukwila, Tacoma, and Bainbridge.” And they tell us the 15-year-old girl who was taken into custody was a runaway wanted in connection with something unrelated, not the alleged ID-theft ring.