West Seattle Crime Watch: Stolen SUV to watch for

April 21, 2014 at 7:16 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 13 Comments

Auto theft in The Triangle today; Lori hopes you will watch for her SUV:

Our green 2007 Honda CRV, license plate #425XBU, was stolen from the West Seattle Family YMCA around 12:30 pm today, along with my husband Charlie’s wallet and keys. Someone broke into his locker while he was working out, took the keys and wallet, and sped off in the car. A police report has been filed, case # 14-122027, and we appreciate people keeping an eye out for it.

13 Comments

  1. I’m guessing the gym locker was unsecured?

    Comment by Okkk — 8:30 pm April 21, 2014 #

  2. I’m really sorry to read about this.
    My family and I use this Y, I’d like to know how the Y is addressing the security problem in the locker room.
    It’s sad to think that it could be another Y member who broke into the locker and stole the car and wallet.
    Curious to know if the car was parked in one of the Y parking lots.

    Comment by Jen — 8:52 pm April 21, 2014 #

  3. Is there a tracking device on it?? My CRV came stock with one so it’s possible yours has one

    Comment by heads up — 9:22 pm April 21, 2014 #

  4. Yes, the car was parked in the back Y parking lot. They racked up over $1000 on our credit cards today on a rapid spree to grocery stores and gas stations before the cards were cancelled. The locker was locked with the key the Y provides. It was simply picked open, the keys and wallet stolen, then clicked shut.

    Comment by Lori — 10:58 pm April 21, 2014 #

  5. What’s most frustrating is that the Y, the grocery stores and gas stations all have cameras that likely recorded the guy, but since it takes time and effort to search the tapes, it won’t happen. As a result, this repeat felon will continue their spree.

    Comment by WSDB — 7:46 am April 22, 2014 #

  6. Well, I guess I won’t be locking anything valuable in the lockers at the Y anymore. This needs to be addressed and a warning put out on the front desk at the Y to anyone who might think the lockers are a safe place to store valuables. They already do that for the frequent car break ins that occur around there (and which I’ve been a victim of myself). Frustrating that this person will likely get away with this crime. Sorry this happened to you, Lori.

    Comment by kayo — 8:53 am April 22, 2014 #

  7. Can you get into the Y locker rooms if you are not a member of the Y? Even if its not “allowed” Could someone just sneak by the front desk and go in? I know it gets pretty busy at times when we have stopped by for info.

    Comment by BJB — 9:37 am April 22, 2014 #

  8. Yes, I agree that this is a serious problem that the Y needs to address immediately. It is definitely a very busy place and I would think someone could get by the front desk, but it very likely is someone who has access. The Men’s locker room has had problems since I have been there and there are signs up all over the place reminding folks to make sure their locker door is fastened securely. But this won’t help if people are now “picking” the locks with some type of tool.
    .

    What’s a person to do that drives there? I was told that it wasn’t safe to leave your valuables in your car either. Okay. Do we drive over and leave our wallets at home? Not too practical. And you still need your car key.
    .

    One possible short term solution is to bring a sturdy lock of your own and put it on the upper loop above the key lock. Will they next start bringing in big cutting tools to cut locks?
    .

    And maybe one could wear one’s wallet and keys around one’s neck or shoulder in a little bag. This would work except for cardio groups and swimmers.
    .

    Do they make lockers that have more secure locking systems? Can these lockers be retro-fitted? Can they replace a third of the lockers with stronger locks and rent those out for an additional fee or premium membership benefit? Can they hire an attendant to constantly roam the locker room?
    .

    I would like to hear someone from the YMCA come on this forum and make a statement committing to stronger security or it just won’t be worth it to use the YMCA as a workout facility. Really? Having your wallet, keys, car stolen and life turned upside down for a reasonable workout fee and schedule doesn’t seem to equal the anxiety and stress. I just can’t see going back there if I am going to be a sitting target for opportunists.
    .

    Does that West Seattle Fitness facility with all its problems have this problem too? (Are they even still operating?) Thanks. ~z

    Comment by zephyr — 11:34 am April 22, 2014 #

  9. Have had past reports from there. Yes, they are still operating. Meantime, I’m following up with the Y. I also requested the police report but there’s nothing in it beyond what the victim’s report mentions here. – Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 11:51 am April 22, 2014 #

  10. The West Seattle Y takes the security and safety of Y members and participant very seriously. In response to the incident that Lori and her family have experienced, we want to answer your questions and inform all of what we have done to address this situation.

    The Y does not have cameras in the locker rooms and parking lots. We cannot speak for the grocery store and gas station.

    When people come through the front desk, we check everyone’s membership card and/or photo ID. We also have Y employees walk through the building and locker rooms during all open hours and keep records of both walk throughs and visits. At this time we do not have any records, information or witnesses as to any suspicious individuals in our facility during the time the theft occurred.

    We are in the process of posting signage with steps for our members to follow and are stepping up the times we have employees walking through the building and locker rooms. We do ask that if you drive to the Y that you leave your valuables at home or in the trunk of your car. Car break-ins generally happen when people leave valuables in sight either on the seat or floor of their car. We do not encourage you to drive to the Y without your driver’s license. We ask that members always double check that their locker is completely closed and they always keep their key with them. One comment suggested that members bring an additional pad lock to use on their locker and that is a great suggestion that we encourage.

    Lastly we ask that all of us, employees and members be diligent about our surroundings and report all suspicious behavior immediately. We are sorry that Charlie and Lori had this experience at the Y.

    Suzzanne Bull, Senior Director

    Comment by Suzzanne Bull — 1:51 pm April 22, 2014 #

  11. Dear Suzzanne,
    .
    Thank you so much for speaking up for this incident at the Y. I don’t expect you to engage in a lot of discussion here. It is very much appreciated that you have addressed those of us who are Y members and very concerned about our personal security. But I would like to pose some more ideas and ask you to at least consider them while this is all still fresh in our minds—members and staff.
    .
    I have no knowledge about the women’s locker room set up, but there are a LOT of lockers in the Men’s Locker Room. Do we really need so many? Please take a look through there after hours or before opening hours and notice all the blind spots. Those interior lockers stick way out from the interior walls creating a lot of privacy, but also a lot of unseen areas for mischief. When I first starting using that locker room, I felt like I was in a maze.
    .
    Can each of those banks of lockers jutting out to create individual bays be shortened? Can maybe those projecting rows be reduced to a third of their present length? If there was more visibility versus out of sight areas, I would feel more comfortable. As it is now, I feel isolated in those areas. Like I asked earlier, do we really need so many lockers?
    .
    Then the locker lock that guarded Charlie’s belongings was “picked”? Is this relatively easy, or does a locksmith-trained person (or professional thief) need to do this? Is the YMCA willing to upgrade the locks on the current lockers?
    .
    Yes, I have a pretty strong lock that I use on my locker at the Y, but I don’t know if professionals would find this easy to pick as well. That’s why I think increased visibility would really help in there and MORE frequent and random checks of the premises.
    .
    For all we know, the thief was sitting in the parking lot waiting for someone like Charlie to arrive, park and head into the building. Then after he checked in at the front desk, they checked in and made a casual observation where the victim locked up his keys and valuables. There may have been more than one person involved as well.
    .
    I do hope that the YMCA consults with law enforcement and / or security/design professionals on how to handle this situation. As things are currently, a similar incident seems likely to reoccur since the payoff was so big.
    .
    I would like to say that I am sorry the folks who were victimized had to experience this.
    .

    Comment by zephyr — 5:24 pm April 22, 2014 #

  12. • I would like to make just a few more comments on this. Thanks for your thoughts on the configuration of our Men’s locker room. We will keep these ideas in future discussions as we are always trying to make improvements to our facility. I can tell you that at our busiest times most of the lockers in the Men’s locker room are used. It is still unclear how Charles’s locker was broken into. There was no damage and it did not appear to be picked. Immediately after the incident, all staff on site was interviewed internally to gather information that might be of interest to law enforcement. We are sorry that Charlie and Lori had this experience at the Y and will work hard to find best practices that will prevent this type of thing from happening in the future. Suzzanne Bull

    Comment by Suzzanne Bull — 6:20 pm April 22, 2014 #

  13. Thanks Suzzanne and commenters. We appreciate the support and constructive conversation. It is what makes this community and the WSB special. The Y is a wonderful asset and I hope this incident ends up having a net positive effect in the long run so we all can continue to enjoy it.

    Comment by Lori — 7:45 pm April 22, 2014 #

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