West Seattle estate-sale robbery followup: Getaway car on cam

February 5, 2013 at 4:26 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 22 Comments

(Thursday photo by Mike Scharer)
Five days after last Thursday’s estate-sale robbery in the Belvidere neighborhood (WSB coverage here), Seattle Police are showing photos of what they believe to have been the getaway car:

Last Friday, you might recall, we published a detective’s call for images from any surveillance camera along the possible getaway route. Today, the images you see above are part of an update by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee just published on SPD Blotter:

… After the robbery, police were able to track down footage captured by privately-owned surveillance cameras, and detectives now believe the suspect fled the scene in a blue two-door 2007 or 2008 Chevy Cobalt. Witnesses described the suspect as a white male in his late 20′s to early 30′s, 5’9 to 5’10, with a large build and dark hair. He was dressed in a black ski mask, black jacket, and black pants, and was armed with a semi-automatic pistol.

Follow the link to SPD Blotter to see photos of some of the jewelry. Spangenthal-Lee writes that part of the estate sale’s proceeds were to benefit Woodland Park Zoo, per the will of the home’s former owner. Meantime, the full report on the robbery is also now available; it says the robber entered the home where the sale was under way at mid-afternoon last Thursday and yelled, “This is a robbery, get down!” forcing everyone present to get down on the floor, and ordering them not to look at him. According to the report, he had trouble getting into the case where the jewelry was displayed, and banged on it, trying to break the glass, until someone told him – worried he would become more violent – that it wasn’t locked. The report says he got away with $5,000 in jewelry and $4,000 in cash.

22 Comments

  1. First of all good job on digging up video. Secondly, why do people need that much money in hand during a sale? Maybe if some of the money was taken to a bank early in the sale or stashed somewhere discreetly, there would be less cash stolen from estate sales. I have a feeling we’ll hear about more estate sale robberies since this guy made off so easy with a lot. Im sure they’ll catch this thief soon.

    Comment by Alki Resident — 4:55 pm February 5, 2013 #

  2. Why are surveillance camera photos always so blurry in this day and age? At least they got one but a clear photo would go so much further in helping to catch someone.The sale should have had their own cameras, a lot of them do.At least they say they do.
    I love to go estate saleing and agree this incident may make it less fun to go due to others getting the same idea. Seems they will need good security from now on.So.sick.of.thieves.Hope they catch this creep soon.

    Comment by oddreality — 5:18 pm February 5, 2013 #

  3. @ oddreality – - –

    I was just thinking the same thing when viewing the photos that were posted earlier today regarding the possibility of a serial robber – Why do surveillance camera photos need to be so blurry? Sort of defeats the entire purpose of having any cameras in the first place.

    Goodness, my old mobile phone with it’s 1.2MP camera can take better photos than the majority of surveillance photos that are published.

    Saw a news item a few months ago for a camera that uses motion sensors to track movement and the camera tracks to the area of the motion. Something like that might actually be useful. Need to research that one…

    Comment by Ken — 5:48 pm February 5, 2013 #

  4. Excellent. It shouldn’t be long now until they narrow it down to whoever that a-ho*% is. Yeah, picture is a little blurry, so what. It worked. It’s probably a blown up image from 100 feet away,
    and moving. Realize the limitations people. Pahhhlease. Congrats to whoever supplied the pic.
    That’s a good neighbor.

    Comment by steve — 6:31 pm February 5, 2013 #

  5. I think Contour here in Seattle has a prime opportunity for a new market. Supplying actual quality camera equipment for surveillance.

    Comment by Mike — 7:16 pm February 5, 2013 #

  6. If the video was HD it would take a HUGE hard drive to store months of video.

    Comment by tk — 12:34 am February 6, 2013 #

  7. Funny how when a private citizen has a camera aimed in public we think they need better equipment to better capture our comings and goings yet when our government puts cameras up it is an infringement of our rights and “a slippery slope.” Just an observation that nobody is shouting about this when it might possibly be used to catch a crook.

    Comment by 2 Much Whine — 3:08 am February 6, 2013 #

  8. ^ Couldn’t agree more!

    Thank you again, West Seattle Blog for your tireless reporting, our community benefits greatly from your eforts. I wish people would stop complaining about the quality of these surveillance photos, and be grateful the word even got out, thanks to you guys!

    Great reporting. Hopeful they can find this guy – I’m thinking he lives in the neighborhood and will be on the lookout for a blue chevy cobalt.

    Comment by WSrez — 7:39 am February 6, 2013 #

  9. You got that right, 2 Much Whine. We have quite the tangled web of double standards in this society…ya just can’t win!
    No one wants to be “watched” but they sure as heck shout “where were all the surveillance cameras??” when something does go down.
    And I bet Steve is right, you can’t always blow up a picture (or zoom way in) and get a quality image…that’s just not how it works. This image was likely captured from some distance. It’s not as simple as some tv shows make it. For instance, scan a photo onto your computer at a high resolution, then zoom in and crop it. You will have a more “muddy” image even though the resolution is set the same…you’re working with pixels here.

    Comment by MB — 8:26 am February 6, 2013 #

  10. For everyone complaining about the image, PFFFT!! At least there is something that could possibly help the investigation and at least the private citizen cares enough about the safety in his neighborhood to have made the effort. He reached out to the police to help catch a bad guy and you are criticizing?? PFFFT!!!!!

    Comment by NeoYogi — 10:23 am February 6, 2013 #

  11. I would check at seatac rental cars
    I have rented that exact car multiple times from enterprise seatac
    Its only 15$ a day on the weekend

    Comment by Jeff platt — 10:34 am February 6, 2013 #

  12. Oh the cams being put up around seattle will be abused
    Spd will find a way to miss use the cameras
    U will all see

    Comment by Jeff platt — 10:37 am February 6, 2013 #

  13. All property owners should really consider getting a few security cameras. They’re fairly cheap and can prove to be extremely valuable.

    Historically we’d have barky dogs and extended family living at home to serve this intruder detection purpose, but cams are much more neighbor friendly!

    Comment by tiptop — 10:40 am February 6, 2013 #

  14. Was NOT complaining about the photo,I said it was good they got one for goodness sake.I am glad there was a camera somewhere to help.[I think I am..I am somewhat torn on the idea of having surveillance cameras in neighborhoods.]Was simply an observation of the quality of ALL the photos they get from surveillance cameras ~ bank photos for instance are always blurry. Those crooks are just standing there..close to the camera and still blurry photos.
    Just an observation no need for a freak out.

    Comment by oddreality — 12:17 pm February 6, 2013 #

  15. Just curious does anyone know if the police took any finger prints, or was he wearing gloves ? Reading how he had a hard time getting into the display case holding the goods he took. Haven’t seen anything saying if they did.

    Comment by wetone — 1:47 pm February 6, 2013 #

  16. Slightly stressed…mostly from the craziness in our quiet little neck of the woods. Hit and run, armed robbery, breaking & entering and car prowls. All within a couple of blocks of my house and a couple of months. Sorry for the overreaction. Still, loving it here since I moved from D.C. Not even close to that stress :)

    Comment by NeoYogi — 1:51 pm February 6, 2013 #

  17. WSB,

    Disappointed but not surprised you censored my comments about home and business owners defending themselves from these armed intruders.
    I don’t think West Seattlelites have the stomach to face the responsibility or reality of defending themselves.

    Comment by Craig — 2:48 pm February 6, 2013 #

  18. Sorry, I just checked but have not declined any comments in this discussion for approval. We maintain the right to decline approval of any comment and exercise that right unapologetically when we have to, but unless you lost something to our sometimes-aggressive automated spam filter (which currently has almost 900 comments, according to the counter, usually all garden-variety spam but I’m off to a meeting and can’t go digging through it), nothing’s missing here. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 3:06 pm February 6, 2013 #

  19. A former employee brought someone over to buy a truck……..2 weeks later 2 trucks were stolen. A friend of mine had her windows cleaned and then a few weeks later her house was burglarized. I just thought to hell with the hassle of selling anything and took everything to Goodwill and took a tax deduction.

    Comment by lookingforlogic — 4:44 pm February 7, 2013 #

  20. most cameras that are “security” cameras are going to have trouble with capturing a moving car unless they are truly capturing HD and zoomed closer. Most cameras also with capture a wide area ( read – wide angle ). So best thing is still if buying cameras, get highest quality you can afford. I have full HD cameras that hook up either to a vcr or computer, that work at night time with infrared. These can be had for $150 each at the security place on 4th avenue S opposite Costco. They are very reasonable pricing compared to internet sources for these kinds of cameras. The recorder and other stuff would be extra money. But anyone thinking the picture is bad, well actually its probably as good as you’re going to get for a moving vehicle. Hope that helps.

    Comment by themightyrabbit — 9:35 am February 12, 2013 #

  21. Strange, I believe I hv a picture of this guy that was creepin around shore wood the other day, I have a clear picture with the Lic plate if anyone knows who I can get it to.

    Comment by Shane — 8:06 pm February 14, 2013 #

  22. Shane – please contact the robbery detective whose name and phone number are in this earlier story:
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2013/02/west-seattle-estate-sale-robbery-followup-police-seek-home-security-videophotos

    Comment by WSB — 8:56 pm February 14, 2013 #

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