West Seattle Crime Watch: Man beat up, robbed in Admiral

August 18, 2014 at 11:24 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 63 Comments

Just in via SPD Blotter:

A coffee-shop employee was beat up and robbed in the North Admiral neighborhood Monday morning while he waited for the store to open. The victim got to work, near 41st Avenue Southwest and Southwest Admiral Way, about 4 am, before the manager arrived. After he sat on the steps to read a tablet computer, three men approached and asked for money. The victim said he didn’t have any and the men began hitting him in the face and head. The robbers took the victim’s tablet, cell phone and bag, then fled. Officers arrived quickly and surrounded the area but did not find the (robbers). Medics treated the victim at the scene and gave him a ride home.

Though the item doesn’t identify the coffee shop, the only one at that corner is the Admiral Starbucks.

63 Comments

  1. This is awful! We really need to put a stop to all of these strong arm robberies. We need sting ops from the SPD – plain clothed cops posing with mobile devices or something. Such a bummer that the SPD has been neutered. I hope that the victim is ok and these idiots are caught.

    Comment by Admiral Resident — 11:30 am August 18, 2014 #

  2. whoa…that’s a half block from me…and I was up at 4am…never heard a thing…although, I did hear male voices right around 4am in the alley directly behind me that is the direct route to Starbucks…

    how crappy this is….:(

    Comment by JanS — 11:44 am August 18, 2014 #

  3. Could the robber’s have been people who “camp” below the bridge? Maybe they previously cased the Starbucks and are on security tapes?

    Comment by sc — 11:49 am August 18, 2014 #

  4. @Admiral, Have an inoffensive looking cop — not one of the bigger ones — acting like a total tourist, with a tablet and phone out, or a Macbook, something distinctive, playing at being oblivious about their surroundings?

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 11:53 am August 18, 2014 #

  5. Maybe if Starbucks was not a “gun-free” store this would not have happened.

    Comment by GunsandCoffee — 11:56 am August 18, 2014 #

  6. Admiral Resident, what do you mean SPD has been neutered?

    Comment by B — 11:59 am August 18, 2014 #

  7. This is really dismaying. I’m definitely in favor of a sting or something. It’s crazy that they couldn’t find a group of people. Are there descriptions?

    Comment by JohnN — 12:02 pm August 18, 2014 #

  8. I feel terrible for the employee. I find myself gripping my phone a bit harder these days when walking around in the CD, but I wouldn’t expect that to happen here. I also live about 200 yards from Starbucks (assuming this is where the incident occurred) with direct access to the alley, and I can say that this has been an area of issues. Parked in the alley, I had my car broken into in May 2011. More recently, the windowed door at the Safeway gas station has been broken out at least twice.

    I know officers usually like to get coffee at that Starbucks and generally there has been a decent police presence, but my hope would be that this unfortunate incident leads to more early morning patrols and hopefully the apprehension of the criminals involved.

    Comment by SDVAdmiral — 12:26 pm August 18, 2014 #

  9. And the description of the assailants is…….?

    Comment by Eric — 12:29 pm August 18, 2014 #

  10. Good point, John.

    Any idea why don’t they include descriptions of the assailants?

    Comment by maplesyrup — 12:29 pm August 18, 2014 #

  11. What you see above is the entirety of the SPD Blotter report. However, keep in mind they are writing for a citywide audience and in my experience don’t often include descriptions. I have a followup question out to SPD Media Relations to ask if they have that info. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 12:36 pm August 18, 2014 #

  12. There WAS a secure fence along the bridge homeless camp, but its been tampered with and people could crawl under – again. So sorry and angry to hear this : (

    Comment by BMC — 12:39 pm August 18, 2014 #

  13. “Maybe if Starbucks was not a “gun-free” store this would not have happened.”

    That’s a silly comment. This wasn’t “IN” Starbucks, but outside the store. There’s never been a robbery “in” the store (even being gun free, sigh). Crooks are cowards and lazy (it’s why they’re crooks). That’s why they rarely go into an open store FULL of people in the middle of the day to rob someone, but like this, wait to find someone alone waiting outside.

    Comment by David — 12:43 pm August 18, 2014 #

  14. For those questioning how the perps got away, remember the victim was alone and lost his communication. It may have taken a while to even call for help.

    Comment by newnative — 12:56 pm August 18, 2014 #

  15. this just makes me sick; beating up and stealing from the working poor
    ~
    I am frequently at this location and would REALLY like a description
    ~
    I would really doubt it’s the kids who dig in dumpsters there and then camp under the bridge
    ~
    and yes, please set up sting operations; this is way out of control

    Comment by Diane — 12:58 pm August 18, 2014 #

  16. I live in one of those buildings with access to the alley by that Starbucks. This neighborhood has gone downhill and has me concerned. There are homeless people that camp under the bridge roaming the alley at all hours and suspected drug dealing. One homeless girl came by asking if this is where the party was for under the bridge one evening. When I moved to Admiral it was because of the sense of community, safety and location to businesses and transportation. Now I am afraid to walk my dog at night.

    Comment by doggonetiredofit — 12:59 pm August 18, 2014 #

  17. I see a LOT of sketchy characters hanging out around the stores in the N. Admiral area. It’s hard to say whether or not these yardbirds came from Fairmount canyon, but it’s past time to start enforcing the laws on the books regarding camping in public areas and drive these people out. Not every homeless person is a helpless ‘urban martyr’, as some who’d like to take a romanticized view would have you believe. There are thieves and predators there, too.

    We need to take this seriously. This incident could’ve ended a lot worse. How much longer do you want to wait before the victim is you or one of your kids?

    Comment by McGruff — 1:09 pm August 18, 2014 #

  18. I find the comment from SDVAdmiral “expecting it to happen in the CD area and not here” being very prejudice and offensive, just because the CD is a mostly low income neighborhood doesn’t mean they are criminals or that there are more criminals living there. This kind of thing happens everywhere.
    I hope the employee is and will be OK and a reminder this should fall under the City’s new time off policy…SSL.(Seattle Sick Leave)

    Comment by unknown — 1:11 pm August 18, 2014 #

  19. Stings (like bait cars) don’t seem to work here because the incidents are so random, are probably mostly robberies of opportunity and don’t fit a geographic pattern. With that said, the 2:30-4:30 am timeframe seems to be a particularly fruitful time for certain property crimes.

    Comment by cjboffoli — 1:20 pm August 18, 2014 #

  20. SPD Media Relations says the only descriptive information the victim was able to provide was that he thought one robber was black and two Hispanic, all three male.

    Comment by WSB — 1:58 pm August 18, 2014 #

  21. A description at last! There often seems to be reluctance when the perps are minorities. I want a description whatever they are! This is not a time to be PC…

    Comment by marty — 2:33 pm August 18, 2014 #

  22. No, there is no “reluctance,” whatever color, gender, age, whatever. We have had that discussion here about 100 times. If we get description information, however fragmentary, we will publish it. The SPD Blotter item did not include it, and as I mentioned, they often don’t, and that’s why it wasn’t in the item above, which I published minutes after the SPD Blotter link was tweeted. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 2:41 pm August 18, 2014 #

  23. I didn’t mean you, the SPD Blotter omitted the description. Not the first time either. I appreciate your effort to give us all of the information we should see.

    Comment by marty — 2:54 pm August 18, 2014 #

  24. There really seems to be an increase in ‘strong-arm’ robberies here, it what are generally considered ‘better’ neighborhoods. WSB has reported previously of folks being accosted and robbed of their cel phones (and other property) in N. Admiral and the Charleston area of California Ave. Last week, a woman was forcibly relieved of her purse and phone on Beach Drive, of all places (fortunately, the SPD swooped in and collared a suspect in short order on that one!)!
    .
    Just as German U-boats crossed the Atlantic to pick off ships on the relatively unprotected American coast in 1942, I wonder if ‘hood rats’ are coming up here from their own ‘hoods because they perceive West Seattle as a community full of rather soft, naive people with lots of nifty tech toys that are theirs for the grabbing.
    .
    Like the USA in ’42, we need to become more savvy. Report suspicious characters when you see them in your area. Tolerance of vagrant camps (with their addicts, weirdos and shoplifters) only exacerbates the problem. Don’t give money to panhandlers; if you want to help, buy a copy of Real Change, or donate to one of the organizations like Union Gospel Mission.

    Comment by McGruff — 2:55 pm August 18, 2014 #

  25. I’m all for a sting op. There has been a real increase in the amount transients in the area. I really like the sign Thriftway in Morgan Junction had put up that says something about discouraging panhandling and inquiring within the store to give to charities. Not that this is the best place to post the idea, it just made me think of it. The more we support this type of activity, the more transients and vagrants think West Seattle is a good place to hang out.

    Comment by lox — 2:58 pm August 18, 2014 #

  26. McGruff, when we get names and IDs, more often than not, they are West Seattle residents. There is no east/west/north/south divide regarding crime. I guess just the lingering ancient unfounded beliefs. We lived on Beach Drive our first two years here and our car window was shot out, plus there was a random murder just down the street. Follow the crime map, follow the stats (on the SPD site you can see monthly stats broken out by precinct sectors). Happens everywhere. The most brazen recent burglary spree started a couple steps from our HQ here in partly posh upper Fauntleroy, and the suspect (who is still in jail) lived in West Seattle.
    .
    Also, just a note on the Beach Drive incident you mention; it turned out to be a little different than the preliminary information provided by police; I finally got the report and have been meaning to update the original story for archival sake if nothing else. The victim had left her cell phone on the seat in her car, door open, while parked in front of her apartment building. The thief was walking by with friends, reached in, and grabbed it. The person believed to be that thief was found in a nearby apartment where, according to the narrative, relatives live. I don’t have a name so I don’t know what has happened since. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 3:06 pm August 18, 2014 #

  27. Thanks for the info, WSB. At the end of the day, facts are facts, and they’re on your side. I very much appreciate the followup on the purse/phone theft.
    .
    As Winston Churchill once said, “I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.”

    Comment by McGruff — 3:17 pm August 18, 2014 #

  28. @McGruff: yes, I believe that we a experiencing an increase of criminals from “bad” areas who are preying on residents of higher-income areas, as there are more opportunities for them. There is also a perceived notion among street thugs that people in more affluent areas of Seattle are less “scrappy” and more reluctant to fight back than victims in distressed areas.

    Comment by Bradley — 3:31 pm August 18, 2014 #

  29. @unknown, I don’t think anyone was implying that people who live in the CD are more criminal than others. Yet it actually can be conclusively shown, without attributing an underlying cause, that the CD suffers more reported violent crime than the Admiral district. The SPD publishes numbers on all this stuff and anyone can fact-check from their website.

    Comment by hj — 3:33 pm August 18, 2014 #

  30. I second “Unknown”‘s comment “I hope the employee is and will be OK and a reminder this should fall under the City’s new time off policy…SSL.(Seattle Sick Leave)”
    .
    But want to add that technically the employee should file a report with L&I- he was at work (the fact that he hadn’t “clocked in” yet is not relevant) when he was attacked.
    .
    He shouldn’t have to use any of his own sick or personal leave to recover from this.

    Comment by Ms. Sparkles — 3:49 pm August 18, 2014 #

  31. Not to blame the victim, but having a tablet, or even a phone, out in the open when thugs are, or could be casing the area, is not a good idea. Yes, we should be able to do it, but it puts a big target on your back for thieves to exploit. I can’t count how many times I’ve watched teen-aged thugs run by and grab cell phones at downtown bus stops, usually from younger women or men with ear buds in, making them completely unaware of the happenings around them. We wouldn’t flash $500 out in the open in public, so why a tablet? Just saying that we could do a better job of protecting ourselves and deflecting attention. I’m sorry the employee got attacked, and I’m not blaming him. But I’ll bet he doesn’t pull out his replacement tablet at 4 a.m. again.

    Comment by pjmanley — 3:51 pm August 18, 2014 #

  32. How did KOMO discern it was Starbucks?
    http://www.komonews.com/news/crime/Coffee-shop-employee-robbed-while-waiting-for-store-to-open-271713501.html

    Comment by schwaggy — 3:54 pm August 18, 2014 #

  33. Message to TR. Huge kudos to you for keeping it together as you respond to comments. You rock!

    Comment by Kathryn Gordon — 3:55 pm August 18, 2014 #

  34. Hi neighbors – please come to the Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting and work with your neighbors on this crime issue. Block watches are also a great idea! The Admiral Neighborhood Association meets every month and can help neighbors find solutions to public safety problems like these, but you must get involved. From the admiralneighborhood.org site:

    We meet the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Sanctuary at Admiral from 7 – 8:30 PM. Join us for our next meeting, all are welcome!

    2656 42nd Ave SW, 98116

    Comment by Beth — 4:16 pm August 18, 2014 #

  35. @hj I appreciate your being rational; I should clarify that I meant the CBD, not CD as I originally commented. I work in the Columbia Tower and get to work pretty early, and having witnessed more than one assault in that area, I wouldn’t be as surprised if this attack had been reported there. To me this is a solemn reminder that it probably is best to pocket the tablets and smart phones at certain times, but I admit that I don’t always take the SPD’s advice to do so.

    Comment by SDVAdmiral — 4:44 pm August 18, 2014 #

  36. I completely agree with pjmanley. I am very sorry for the attack and certainly no one deserves that. But we must be mindful of the environment around us, especially in the middle of the night and with expensive electronic equipment. It’s unfortunate to have to always be on guard, but that is the reality of the world we live in. Hopefully those who committed this crime will be found and held responsible.

    Comment by John — 4:46 pm August 18, 2014 #

  37. “There is no east/west/north/south divide regarding crime. I guess just the lingering ancient unfounded beliefs.”

    Sort by “Violent Crimes Total” (it defaults to homicide) under “Select a Statistic” and the map I see shows big differences.

    What am I missing?

    http://web6.seattle.gov/mnm/statistics.aspx?tabId=3

    Comment by Smitty — 4:47 pm August 18, 2014 #

  38. PHOENIX JONES!!!!!! Where are you when we need you?

    Comment by DunkinDoughnuts — 4:57 pm August 18, 2014 #

  39. I think TR is spot on, these are local kids prowling about late at night. The other day I found a lead pipe with a taped up handle by the Lafayette playground. Also, check out the graffiti around Admiral. It’s obvious that kids are out being territorial late nite. That’s part of city living.

    Comment by Fozzy the Bear — 4:58 pm August 18, 2014 #

  40. I have to wonder if they disappeared somewhat quickly could they locals?

    Comment by cj — 5:05 pm August 18, 2014 #

  41. well my electronic equipment might look expensive/enticing from a distance, but thieves would be VERY disappointed to steal my $15 cell phone that only takes calls, and my nook with broken android, and the $11 cash in my wallet; but because of the rampant beat-up & steal electronics anywhere & anytime of day/night, I am hyper aware when using in public, sometimes even bordering on paranoid; and that sucks

    Comment by Diane — 5:06 pm August 18, 2014 #

  42. Yes Ms Sparkles you are correct file with LNI because it is an on the job injury but the SSL are hours you accrue and are there for you to use for things like this too.

    Comment by unknown — 5:14 pm August 18, 2014 #

  43. Smitty, I’ve never used nor seen that weirdly formatted map before (you can have a difference of one crime in one year and be in a different shading category? what?) and looking at how it breaks things out, I believe the disclaimer on the sidebar is a valid one. Anyway, there’s buckets of newer data on the /police/crime breakouts, which go through April of this year. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 5:19 pm August 18, 2014 #

  44. A pipe with a tape wrap handle is most disturbing. Get a CPL folks.

    Comment by Thomas M. — 6:46 pm August 18, 2014 #

  45. We had an incident the other day of a 17 year old sitting down in an outside chair across the street. There was nothing wrong with that until we saw him look like he was packing something in a bottle or shaking a bottle & then slamming it onto the sidewalk so hard it sprayed glass across the sidewalk, across the lawn and into the street. We hollered at him from our location & we did call police & they eventually found him. The teen was disoriented & what we thought were shorts were his underwear. He had gone into a store in his underwear, no shoes, did not know where he was and admitted to the police partying during the night. This is North Admiral also. He apparently lived in another area & not West Seattle. If you see something happening that does not look right, do call the Police so they can check it out.

    Comment by Thea — 7:38 pm August 18, 2014 #

  46. Sitting on the doorstep of your employer’s premises before your working hours have commenced does NOT qualify you to be eligible for worker’s comp benefits. Sorry. That’s almost as absurd as saying if you hurt yourself walking to work, that should be covered by L&I too.

    Comment by Jason — 7:47 pm August 18, 2014 #

  47. hey Jason, we are talking about a city that protests when someone doesn’t pay rent since 2011 and gets evicted…..

    Comment by flimflam — 8:26 pm August 18, 2014 #

  48. @Beth – thank you for the most productive and proactive comment on this thread.

    Comment by Beth (different one) — 9:21 pm August 18, 2014 #

  49. @ flimflam. “A city” that protests? The entire city protested? Spoke with one voice? Hardly.

    Comment by Robert F — 10:14 pm August 18, 2014 #

  50. That map only shows that where there are more people per square mile, there is more crime per square mile. There’s nothing particularly revealing or unexpected in that sort of correlation. A block with 500 residents has more crime than a block with 50 residents.
    .
    Crimes like this have always happened, in every neighborhood. 20 years ago, you would probably only know that a mugging had occurred if you happened to know the victim.
    .
    Of course, even one violent crime is too many, and I applaud the efforts of Block Watches and neighborhood organizations. But commentators often make it sound like crime is new, when what is actually new is the outstanding news coverage.

    Comment by Community Member — 10:38 pm August 18, 2014 #

  51. Dear Mr. Guns and Coffee…the store wasn’t even open yet. He was waiting outside at 4:30 am waiting to go to work…so stop with the “well, if they had guns in the store this wouldn’t have happened”. BS….you know it and I know it. Just what we need…a shootout at the local Starbucks, where there are innocent people and sometimes kids…what planet are you from?

    Comment by JanS — 11:52 pm August 18, 2014 #

  52. Thanks, Jan. A recent CDC study reported that the ten states with the highest suicide, violent crime, and domestic violence rates were the same states that also have the highest gun ownership numbers. These ten also have the highest poverty rates in the country, and most poorly educated residents. A household with a gun is three times more likely to experience a suicide. Of the 32,000 gun deaths in the U.S. last year, 20,000 of those were suicides. So congratulations Mr. Guns and Coffee, you’re in great company!

    Comment by M — 1:30 am August 19, 2014 #

  53. to unknown, you can think it’s prejudice but stats are stats, you are just more likely to have these types of crimes happen in the CD. It’s been that way for decades. Were you living here in the late 80s and early 90s when it was an even hotter area for gang violence than now? http://web6.seattle.gov/mnm/policereports.aspx

    Comment by Mike — 5:43 am August 19, 2014 #

  54. How frightening – hope the employee is doing okay. WA voters need to demand a kill switch for cellphones and other electronic devices. Yes I know, possibilty of phones being hacked with this system, but people are continually being injured and even killed for phones. Madness – destroy the incentive.

    Comment by FionaEnzo — 7:35 am August 19, 2014 #

  55. Perhaps if the victim had been carrying his phaser, the perps would have been dissolved into ether and the situation wouldn’t have even made the police blotter?

    Which is another way of saying, taking G&C’s troll bait only emboldens them… :-)

    Comment by wakeflood — 9:01 am August 19, 2014 #

  56. Blaming people for carrying a mobile device and “causing” the attack is ridiculous. Pre-tech gadget era, we many wore valuable watches and most of us have carried wallets/purses. Some of us have worn and still wear jackets that obviously can fetch a couple hundred dollars. We drive cars that are worth thousands. To say the spike in crime is due to the new gadgets is silly. There have always been things to steal from people. Why can’t we just admit strong arm crime is up in our area??? Head out of the sand some of you!

    Comment by Donna Rumblejerk — 9:57 am August 19, 2014 #

  57. I live in West Seattle and work on Cherry Hill. Both neighborhoods have the same problem. I rearranged my backpack with my work’s Blackberry on the outside. I will give zero resistance handing it over.

    Comment by David — 12:00 pm August 19, 2014 #

  58. to Mike>>> yes I am born, raised and lived here my whole life in Seattle>1955 to be the exact year so yes I was here in the 80′s so I’ve seen a lot of things and changes and I still think it was wrong to say this could only happen in the CD area even though the commentor didn’t mean the Central District (2nd comment)

    Comment by unknown — 12:43 pm August 19, 2014 #

  59. Jason/flimflam…this person was on company property waiting to get in for his scheduled shift, whether his boss/manager was late or not he was still on the companies property so I guess it is up to WA. State LNI & or his boss if this could be a LNI Claim. ???

    Comment by unknown — 1:21 pm August 19, 2014 #

  60. Jason & flimflam – how familiar are you with the L&I claims process and requirements?
    .
    It’s been a while since I did payroll and processing, but if my memory serves then the fact that he was on company property makes it an L&I claim.
    .
    Jason you wrote “Sorry. That’s almost as absurd as saying if you hurt yourself walking to work, that should be covered by L&I too.” – I know in California you are covered under workman’s comp if you’re injured on your way IN to work (even if you’re still miles away) because you can prove a causal relationship between your work and your injury. Not certain WA L&I rules are so liberally construed.
    .
    The fact that he was sitting on the steps of company property (even if its a leased building they’re liable for it) and he’s an employee there for his shift makes it an L&I claim. And if Starbucks treats their employees as well as they say they do then his manager should be walking him through this claim process now.

    Comment by Ms. Sparkles — 3:41 pm August 19, 2014 #

  61. Ms. Sparkles…thank you, well said! :>)

    Comment by unknown — 7:38 pm August 19, 2014 #

  62. For those of you who implied that the victim was “asking for it” because he had a tablet out- while waiting for his mgr at 4:30 am? Seriously ? And are you the same ones who complain when your coffee takes a little longer on the morning commute? I sure hope the victim is ok and recovering and not losing any wages – yeah that’s what happens to the hourly folks.

    Comment by Wb — 11:56 pm August 19, 2014 #

  63. I think that we would need to extend what applies for riding the bus and walking around red zones. Do not expose cellphones, tablets, Laptops, or electronics of any kind or value and always being aware of what is going on in your surroundings at all times. I am so sad for the guy. Hoping he is good now.

    Comment by Pichu — 4:16 pm August 25, 2014 #

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