West Seattle Crime Watch: Areas hit by multiple car prowls

Two neighborhoods with multiple car prowls are among the newest reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch. From Tommy:

Over the last week, there have been at least two vehicles with broken windows. One was a minivan near SW Juneau St and 25th Ave SW (first a broken front window, then the next night all side windows were broken).

This morning, walking my dog, I saw a neighbor on the 5400 block of 26th Ave SW picking broken glass out of her car door. She said that overnight, someone broke out the window, then stole nothing. Just wanted to get it out there in case someone sees something.

(added) CM sent word of this car break-in, not far from Tommy’s area:

My car was broken into early Sunday morning in the 4800 block of Delridge. Police said it looked like they were trying to hot wire it – damage to the ignition. Hard pressed to afford the repairs.

(back to original report) And this report from Fauntleroy:

Wanted to report several car prowls early Saturday morning 2/23 on Director St. at the bottom below 45th Ave SW.

At least 3 cars were broken into sometime between 2 am and 4 am, all parked in residence driveways. Small items were taken, and in one case, and expensive stereo/navigation unit was hacked out of the dashboard.

Police were notified and reports filed. If anyone else in the adjacent area was affected, please let us know. We’re wondering how far-reaching and organized this might have been.

Ahead, two more reader reports – a patio theft, and a “suspicious person” situation that might not have been a crime, but yielded some advice that a witness wants to share with you:

From Melissa:

(Monday) morning we noticed a toolbox was taken from our patio. It was up against our fence and not visible from the street, but in direct sight of our front door, so someone had to have come onto the property to have found it. Our yard is not accessible without coming through a closed gate so I would have to assume people were looking for quick things to grab.

It contained BBQ equipment and not actual tools so if someone took it hoping to pawn some tools they are out of luck. We’re on 35th near Cambridge.

And from Mary, a frightening situation that also proved educational:

At approximately 6:40 am (Monday, February 25) a young woman and I were at the last northbound C line bus stop on Avalon Way & SW Bradford near Luna Park Café. A man in an orange cab travelling south on Avalon yelled something at the young woman seated in the bus shelter. He did a u-turn and pulled in front of our bus stop and was talking to the young woman but his words were undetectable.

When I realized that she did not know him I requested that he leave. He did not leave so I told him I would call 911 if he did not leave. I pulled out my phone and he continued to stay and intimidate us until it was clear to him that a 911 operator had answered the phone and he sped off very quickly. He turned onto Spokane Street but it was unclear if he drove onto the bridge or under the bridge.

We stayed on the line with 911 until the bus came.

Upon recalling as many details as we could on our bus ride, the young woman and I can remember this:

The orange cab was stripped of all markings, so there was no cab company or cab number. The back window on the passenger side of the car was out, or down and it was covered with thick opaque plastic, but it was flapping in the wind, and he was speaking through it. The man appeared to be African or African American with a beard. We could not come to a conclusion as to whether he had an accent, if he was inebriated, or if he was speaking incoherently on purpose so as to get someone to come closer to the car to hear him.

It was very unsettling and this is what I learned: Be very clear with your fellow bus riders. When the young woman made it clear to me that she didn’t know the “cab” driver, I realized I needed to call 911 immediately. Also, to call 911 in situations like this is pretty helpful. The operator was patient with me and stayed on the line until our bus came to keep me calm. That was nice because my heart was pounding.

I live in High Point, so I see these taxi cabs often, but one without any markings and the back window covered in plastic should probably be avoided. And there isn’t really a reason for a cab to be trying to get a fare at a bus stop.

SIDE NOTE: Two reminders about upcoming meetings: one more mention that the West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network meets tonight with special guests talking about mail theft/fraud – 6:30 pm, Southwest Precinct (on Webster west of Delridge). And the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council has announced the topic for its next meeting – graffiti vandalism. Mark your calendar for 7 pm March 19th, also at the precinct.

11 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Areas hit by multiple car prowls"

  • MetPatrick February 26, 2013 (7:14 pm)

    The incident in the 5400 block of 26th SW is about a block away from my house( just south of SW Alaska ) and over the last 2 nights around 330 am I have seen 2 questionable vehicles driving 26th SW, One is a white van ( late 90’s early 2000’s ) model and the other being a dark suburban again ( late 90’s ) more specifically the suburban I witnessed drive northbound 26th SW from Hudson LITERALLY creeping down the street…. not sure if these two vehicles are connected but to have a vehicle going so slow multiple times up my road just screams NO GOOD, I did report the suburban but not the van and If I see either vehicle again I will be sure to call it again and again and again etc etc. I am always up late most days and 9 times out of 10 I either see something or hear something that just doesn’t mesh with the overall tranquility of my immediate neighborhood during the overnight period.

  • Beth February 26, 2013 (7:37 pm)

    Good luck getting the police to do anything! I have not one, but *TWO* tapes of the guys who prowled my car at the gas stations on Roxbury, approximately 10 minutes down the road from where my car was prowled (in the middle of the day on 35th Ave. SW). The police still have not picked up these tapes. It’s pointless to even bother with them – they’re useless. I’m going to suggest that my boss talk to his neighborhood watch about installing a camera nearby. But seriously, what do you have to do to get the police to release tapes from gas stations? If anyone has an answer, let me know. I’m pretty frustrated with them.

  • Beth February 26, 2013 (7:38 pm)

    Worth noting that eventually the tapes will be erased, disallowing police from seeing if they can get a license number for these guys who are ballsy enough to break into a car in the middle of the morning on a busy street.

  • Carrie February 27, 2013 (3:52 am)

    IMHO, the SPD is becoming a joke.

  • Faith4 February 27, 2013 (10:02 am)

    I wonder if these people were part of the ID theft ring that was busted in the area this morning as reported on the blog.

  • Joe February 27, 2013 (11:37 am)

    Beth, you should please come to the community group meeting:
    This is the Facebook group for it: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WWRHAH/
    Is there no way to backup the tapes to keep them from getting overwritten? Do you physically control the tapes? Why would the police need to release them?

  • Eli February 27, 2013 (12:23 pm)


    Be sure to get license plates when you can. A description, no matter how thorough, takes time to process and ultimately goes out as a heads up to officers. License plates are quick to process and provide all the associated info. The cab instance would’ve been a great time to snap a photo. Often times this alone will scare them off

  • Beth February 27, 2013 (12:43 pm)

    I’ll try to come – I actually live in NE Seattle, but work down here, so we’ll see if I can make it. The Shell station owner said that his tapes get deleted after 90 days (it happened on Jan. 18), and I have no idea how long the Safeway store keeps theirs. I can’t even see the Safeway one without a police office present, because of their store policy (which is sensible). I was able to get a look at the one at the Shell station because the owner wasn’t sure there would be anything (and there wasn’t much, just the vehicles and fuzzy video of the three guys involved).

  • G February 27, 2013 (3:47 pm)

    I’m just waiting – literally – for my turn to get my car prowled (again), have my house broken into, or something else. Insane.

    I also wonder if crooks are reading the blog and taking notes.

    • WSB February 27, 2013 (4:45 pm)

      Certainly they’re as able to read it as anyone else, including the police, block watch captains, other residents, etc. – or as able to read any other news publication.

  • Ellen Saboe February 28, 2013 (12:16 pm)

    a car prowler took our garage door opener, breath mints, roof-top pod key and a pair of prescription sunglasses from our Subaru Outback that was parked on 44th Ave SW and Juneau last Saturday, Feb 23, day time.

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