West Seattle Crime Watch reader report: Parking lot robbery attempt

One more West Seattle Crime Watch reader report tonight – an attempted strong-arm robbery. Jacqueline sent this note:

I wanted to let you know that I called the police and reported an incident that happened just before 8 pm this evening, 9/26/14. I stopped at the Walgreens at the corner of 35th & Morgan in West Seattle (High Point neighborhood), right across from the West Seattle Food Bank. I was stopping quickly to return a dvd rental at the Redbox. When I was getting out of my car, a man approached me and grabbed a hold of my car door handle and tried to grab my purse. I immediately screamed extremely loud, and since I still had my right side of my body partially inside of my SUV, I started beeping my horn and the man backed off, and I also swung my door open at him to try to get him away. I screamed so much and got everyone’s attention in the parking lot with the sound of my horn.

I was able to get back into my car and get the heck out of there. I pulled out onto 35th Ave SW and drove up a few blocks and called 911. Here is the description I gave the police:

-Black male
-Around mid-20’s or so
-Tall and slender
-Baggy clothes
-Ball cap on, with Afro hair kind of sticking out of sides of hat
-The man seemed on some kind of drug
-He was walking back to the bushes and side of the gas station next to the Walgreens where there were a few other males lingering around.

***When I called 911, the dispatcher told me to hold on because they were dispatching police right away, because she had another call come in earlier with an attempted handbag robbery at the same parking lot.

What is going on with this area!?!?! I feel like I am in East Cleveland again. I no longer feel comfortable going to this location again. This area really needs some police presence and I am trying to find out information on community meetings so that I can voice my concerns on this corner. I don’t feel it is safe to go to that Walgreens for myself or other women. I wanted to get the word out. I can’t believe I was almost robbed so close to home. There is obvious drug activity at this corner, and it needs to be addressed!

We are checking with police regarding the report of at least two attempted robberies and whether anyone was arrested. As for Jacqueline’s question about meetings – we haven’t seen an agenda lately, but the High Point Neighborhood Association had been meeting at 6 pm, second Tuesdays, at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center, and the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council will resume its meetings at 7 pm, third Tuesdays, as of October 21st, at the Southwest Precinct.

60 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch reader report: Parking lot robbery attempt"

  • Fedup September 26, 2014 (11:16 pm)

    How much criminal activity has to happen in the area in and around High Point for SPD to show a presence? Last week a shooting, now this! I almost never see a police presence in this area.

  • dan September 26, 2014 (11:34 pm)

    This is the nearest RedBox location to my house but my wife refuses to go there. We had kids/ young adults watch us walk inside to grab a drink but I left my wallet in my coat which I had taken off and left in the car. I walked out of the store within 15 seconds of entering and two of them where looking in my windows to see what they could find. I hit the lock to make the car beep and they stepped back. We have not been back since. The police should hang out there for a few days or Walgreens should hire a security guard!

  • pupsarebest September 26, 2014 (11:57 pm)

    I don’t blame anyone for not shopping at that Walgreens given this incident and the general sense of sketchiness that pervades that area.
    Another reason to avoid shopping at Walgreens is their attempt at the “tax inversion” loophole a couple months back.
    Supposedly the powers-that-be at corporate headquarters changed their decision after public backlash, but I will never patronize Walgreens again—Bartell Drugs is a good, local business, and they will get MY business from now on.

  • miws September 27, 2014 (12:10 am)

    Sorry this happened to you, Jacqueline, but you handled it very well; screaming and honking your horn to attract attention, then getting the hell out of there, but calling the Police when you felt safely far enough away.



  • JanS September 27, 2014 (12:51 am)

    I’ve heard that someone is cleaning up the physical store at the gas station, but until the area is cleaned up of the people who hang there, it’s like putting lipstick on a pig. I won’t shop at Walgreen’s there.

  • Jeremy J September 27, 2014 (1:26 am)

    Indeed, that is a sketchy Walgreens. I’m very sorry that happened to you, Jacqueline. There are frequently gang tags on the back of the building. There are always groups of teens hanging out by bushes between Walgreens and the gas station next door. In the two years that I have lived in High Point, there has been a murder, 2 shootings, 12 cars stolen or broken into, 8 burglaries, 6 assaults, three large fights with groups of 20+ people, and groups of teenagers roaming the streets (walking down the middle of the street) harassing people, often with guns tucked into their jeans. I have seen a total of 3 police cars. Had I known how un-policed and violent this area was, I never would have purchased a home here.

  • trickycoolj September 27, 2014 (1:47 am)

    I call it Walghetto after seeing a group of grown-ass men dealing drugs at 2:00 in the afternoon in broad daylight. Same spot, the bushes next to the shady mini-mart on the Walghetto side of the parking lots. I used that Redbox recently but won’t go if it’s dark, I don’t bring my purse just card in hand and I drive even though it’s 5 or so blocks away because I don’t want followed home on foot.

  • trickycoolj September 27, 2014 (1:56 am)

    Jeremy I hate to say it but those stats are much better than the 4 years I lived in the U-District and the 5 years I lived in Northgate.
    Fedup we had an SPD officer dedicated to High Point. He was put on leave pending investigation and they never back filled. It’s been that way all summer and its starting to be a problem.

  • newnative September 27, 2014 (4:04 am)

    The dispatcher telling her to hang on because they were sending someone right away. Sounds like they didn’t take the first complaint seriously. Why wasn’t someone there already? Why doesn’t Walgreens call to complain about trespassers?!
    I work with vulnerable population and our building is very secure and we have surveillance but we still call 911 if someone attempts to trespass or harass the neighborhood.

  • SF September 27, 2014 (4:57 am)

    Living only a few blocks away, it’s gotten really sketchy between the corner store, bus stop and Walgreens. There is always a group of people loitering in the parking lot. One day my husband called 911 because they were playing craps and police said they couldn’t do anything. I don’t understand why walgreens hasn’t done anything to clean it up. It’s really gone downhill in the last couple of years. The corner store put new plywood up on the front but it still looks dumpy.

  • born and raised September 27, 2014 (5:29 am)

    years back when they built the cop shop down the hill they said they police presence would help the area? i have yet to see it from flashers to stolen cars and worse can some one say what we are all thinking? although good cops do exist i cant say where in this area they suck from gang memebers to panhandlers even i know where to catch kids that are tagging the delridge neighborhood but time and time again they drive right by and turn a blind eye ugh! why dont they walk the beat ? high point is quickly turning back to the 70s and 80s and i personally dont like it!!! we the people need to take responsability and start cleaning our streets ourselfs what that intails is up to us but we better do some thing the cops wont grrrr

  • sherman potter September 27, 2014 (6:50 am)

    Happening there for years.
    I pick up chemo/seizure meds for wife, bring a knife.
    Your movie whining’s are trite. Fight back if you must be there. Or just go somewhere else.
    Good luck.

  • madashell September 27, 2014 (8:54 am)

    The City wants us to Vote Yes on Prop 1B to tax ourselves $58M to subsidize preschool for middle-class families. Tell Ed Murray and Tim Burgess you want cops on the street to protect law-abiding citizens!

    Voting Hell No!

  • tonenotvolume September 27, 2014 (8:57 am)

    Walgreen’s doesn’t seem to be responsive but if you care, file a concern

  • G September 27, 2014 (9:01 am)

    I’m just as concerned with the general deterioration of civility. Was at the Admiral Safeway yesterday and a group of students(?) trashing the eating area, and using loud vulgar language. No one from the store does, or says anything. Why is Seattle so passive?

  • AIDM September 27, 2014 (9:32 am)

    It’s really egregious that there was more than one strong arm robbery attempt at the same location. I would like to see the 911 call timings for event 1 and event 2 to see why the police response wasn’t better.

  • mozabo September 27, 2014 (9:50 am)

    A couple months ago my 90 year old Mom wanted me to take her to that Walgreens. I told her no. I drive her to Walgreens in Ballard. I wouldn’t go to that Walgreens by myself, let alone take my Mom there.

  • phil dirt September 27, 2014 (10:04 am)

    I’m not sure why there is such a low police presence in the 35th and Morgan area, maybe they don’t have the personnel. But, since the Department of Justice came down on the Seattle Police, there seems to be a reluctance on their part to pay much attention to any but the most high priority calls for help.

    Several of you on this blog have expressed the opinion that Walgreens should do something about it. My question is what do you expect Walgreens to do, hire Wyatt Earp?

    As for myself, I avoid places like the 35th and Morgan Walgreens if at all possible. And, since I am 71 years old and can’t outrun the thugs, I almost never go anywhere in Seattle when I’m not legally armed with a concealed handgun. While there is no guarantee of anything, as a last resort, it can make a difference as to whether or not you arrive home safely. One thing I would never do is think that carrying a knife is good protection, especially when you are confronted by more than one assailant.

  • NicePerson September 27, 2014 (10:07 am)

    Ok, you want more police, more dog parks, more animal control., better schools, more this or that… But who are these Seattleites who vote down the taxes. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. For a different reason, i say quit complaining, as at the rate we are going, WS will have less police in the future. Ok, im off my soapbox.

  • Livin in the hood since '92 September 27, 2014 (10:36 am)

    Thanks for all the info on this Walgreens. I usually go to Rite Aid @westwood, but after an incident there in June where teens were stealing liquor, I’m scared to go there after dark. I went in the late afternoon recently, and was happily surprised to see a real security guard at the entrance. Hope he’s there every evening, too! What is wrong with Walgreens that they can’t do the same to patrol their area? Oh, yeah, their bottom line, they’d have to pay them….

  • bmc September 27, 2014 (10:46 am)

    Is the Walgreens in White Center perhaps safer? Seems so. Otherwise there is one in Burien that is good. Redboxes all over the place….

  • Bradley September 27, 2014 (11:23 am)

    I make a wide circle around the Walgreens at 35th and Morgan and avoid it like the plague. I don’t want to get killed at a store where I go for my health needs.

  • Kinsey September 27, 2014 (11:42 am)

    “Is the Walgreens in White Center perhaps safer?”


  • LJ September 27, 2014 (11:55 am)

    I get my movies at the High Point Library. They have a lot of movies, you have to put them on hold a lot of times but it seems way safer than the Walgreens if this kind of stuff is going on there. The library movies are free.

  • John Q Lincoln September 27, 2014 (12:19 pm)

    I’m on the 21 and a dude fitting that description just got on the bus at that Walgreens. Better put my phone away..

  • Gene September 27, 2014 (12:25 pm)

    Avoid the Walgreensat 35th & Morgan- the gas station/ store at the corner has been a hangout for a long time & it kind of trickles over to Walgreens. I don’t use Redbox myself but have seen them at Qfc & possibly RiteAid. Get any other drugstore needs at Bartells or RiteAid.
    Too bad because the folks that work at Walgreens are very nice.
    Not sure what people want the Police to do- they can’t just have a car parked there all day & night. They use Morgan/Sylvan Way to go back & forth to precinct – so it’s not like there’s never any cars around.

  • J September 27, 2014 (12:32 pm)

    That corner is a cesspool, and that’s putting it lightly. My family walks by the gas station mini store, Walgreens, and the alley BEHIND Walgreen daily to use the bus stop, and I’m not exaggerating when I say we take our lives in our own hands when we walk by at night… especially the alley.

  • Sandal41 September 27, 2014 (12:41 pm)

    I stopped going to that Walgreens 10 years ago and have never stopped back in since. I drive by all the time on 35th and it is super sketchy. I absolutely feel awful for the peeps who bought into the “new” high point. I noticed a sign there about new homes coming in 2015, the community should post signs informing potential home buyers about the true high point :(

  • Bradley September 27, 2014 (12:59 pm)

    Perhaps all the new market-value homes they build in High Point should come with bars on the windows?

  • Korm66 September 27, 2014 (2:03 pm)

    I refuse to go there anymore. The last time I went to that Walgreens I had some random person demand I give them the sweatshirt I was wearing. I thought they were joking so I laughed. They then demanded it again this time louder and more threatening. I said “nope, not happening” and walked past the guy. This happened 5 feet from the entrance to the store.

  • Westside September 27, 2014 (2:12 pm)

    Wow, I frequent that Walgreens and have never had a problem. Sure, there’s a seedy element that seems to hang around the gas station, but no more so than in many other neighborhoods. I will continue to patronize the Walgreens, as will my wife and kids. The reactions here seem a little overblown, in my opinion.

  • Seattlite September 27, 2014 (2:45 pm)

    I went to Walgreen’s three times since it was built. Each time I felt scared. As an older person, I’m not up to fighting. I go to a different drug store in a safer area.

    I noticed today that about three or four seedy guys were standing at the bus stop on Alaska and Calif with open bottles of liquor. The parking lot adjacent to the bus stop seems to attract seedy type guys that are scary. SPD needs to check out this area too.

  • heather September 27, 2014 (3:23 pm)

    I too have been to that Walgreens numerous times. I’ve never had any problems and the employees have always been decent. However, that corner gas mart is a problem area and as its gotten worse, I admit that I’ve moved my business elsewhere.

  • steve September 27, 2014 (3:41 pm)

    It was around midnight, I was stopped at that intersection, and out of nowhere a hooded, black man ran up and grabbed my door handle. I peeled out on a red light. Talk about adrenaline, 0-100.
    I called 9-11 and gave info. Never saw again.

  • Art Critic September 27, 2014 (3:51 pm)

    I have wondered for YEARS where the police presence at Morgan and 35th was? There is an organized drug presence with shorties wearing red gang colors all over the corners selling their wares. If I can see it just about every time I drive by there, why can’t professional law enforcement see it? They have been very open about it. Just look for guys wearing red…

  • trl September 27, 2014 (3:51 pm)

    Thank you Westside as I totally agree. As a community we can’t let the handful of people causing the ruckus win. We have to continue being vigilant and street smart but not be naive either. It’s up to us to take back our streets and I refuse to let them win. With this said, I will continue to shop at Walgreens.

  • Bradley September 27, 2014 (5:16 pm)

    Many years ago back in the mid-90’s, we had a block watch meeting at my neighbor’s house on 34th S.W. The SPD rep who led the meeting said “everyone knows that drugs are sold openly at 35th S.W. and Morgan for the past 20 years”. Ergo, the SPD has been aware of this problem for about 40 years now. I wouldn’t expect them to do anything about it now, especially with the DOJ monitoring going on.

  • wseattle September 27, 2014 (7:44 pm)

    Maybe there just isn’t enough police officers to go around? I would pay more taxes for police officers, but I also want the laws to change so that people in jail earn at least part of their keep. Our supposedly good neighborhood in north West Seattle had a rash of break ins 6 years ago. The police did a great job – they kept on catching these punks, but they didn’t serve one night in jail – they were juveniles. I wonder how many of you realize this is what happens?! Also, I have heard there is no jail space for non-violent offenders. Maybe if this 20 year punk who tried to steal this woman’s purse was put in a chain gang (our parks could use some gardening, or pick up trash along the freeway), he might think twice the next time.

  • Eric September 28, 2014 (6:57 am)

    @art critic: I brought up the same thing about a year ago. One person responded with kids will be kids and some people don’t live in the real world.

  • Hello September 28, 2014 (7:35 am)

    It’s next to the projects…
    I have seen drug dealers run up to cars stopped at the red light and quickly sell drugs through the car’s windows.
    There are always young men either sitting at the bus stop all day in front of the food bank and/or lounging on the north side of the little market.
    I went to Walgreens at that location once and felt the loungers watching me like hawks…that was the last time I went…
    Doom on those criminals may they swiftly find themselves incarcerated…

  • Sigmachi September 28, 2014 (8:56 am)

    I used to have prescriptions filled at this walgreens. I’ve transferred them to the rite aid on California. This area is way too sketchy.

    A big problem is with the police. How is it that for all of west Seattle and South Park (the entire southwest precinct area) there are many times only what…5 or 6, or 7 cops on duty at one time. We expect them to “patrol the area.” How are they supposed to do that and respond to 911 calls also?

  • Linda September 28, 2014 (2:56 pm)

    With more good people than bad these thugs are outnumbered. This is OUR neighborhood and we should not be intimidated to back off or shop somewhere else. We need to show confidence and presence. I have lived in the area for 20 years. I don’t go to the corner store but I do go to redbox and Walgreens. I do feel like I need to keep my guard up and look around but I am just as a threat to these guys as they are to me. They don’t know what you are capable of-you have your car, your voice, your keys and your smarts. They are stupid and clearly uneducated. Let’s stand together and scare these idiots out of the area!

  • Morgan September 28, 2014 (7:42 pm)

    Why doesn’t Walgreens install a camera outside? Its obvious from these comments that they are losing business due to activities around the store.

  • sam-c September 29, 2014 (11:44 am)

    that Walgreens IS creepy.

  • Leigh Tunney September 29, 2014 (12:31 pm)

    After reading comment after comment about the lack of police presence my thought isn’t why don’t we have a stronger police presence, but rather why do we have any men or women who are willing to put their life on the line to be a Seattle police officer is the question I ask myself. All I’ve seen in the news the last several years about the SPD is complaints and criticism about its “excessive use of force” – and now we want them wearing cameras around their necks.
    Well, it seems to me we’re starting to get exactly what we’ve been demanding – a kinder, gentler, (and less visible) SPD. So as far as the scary activity at the corner of 35th and Morgan I’m sure if we just explain politely to the gang members and drug dealers what they’re doing is bad and we don’t like it…

  • Lee September 29, 2014 (11:10 pm)

    Bartells across the street from Walgreen white center is also creepy and when I need something I take someone with me.
    Subway at Morgan street has scary people that pound on your car asking for money,also.

  • Bradley September 30, 2014 (7:42 pm)

    It really comes down to: if you want to get mugged by one person, go to the 35th and Morgan Walgreens. If you want to get mugged by more than one person, go to the White Center Walgreens.

  • Thomas M. September 30, 2014 (10:00 pm)

    Get a CPL while you still can. When seconds count the cops are minutes away.

  • wsres September 30, 2014 (11:33 pm)

    Excuse me but wasn’t there a murder in that intersection just a few years ago? Heck, I lock my car doors while I’m sitting at a red light there. Dangerous corner. Lots of desperate, Section 8, low income people “hanging around” there, and living there. Drugs, foreign people unemployed. Food Bank is right there. I would never park or step foot in that store. Suckers wanted at that corner. Not to say there aren’t lovely people there as well. But crime does hang it’s hat in that area and victims will be had if they don’t know that about that area.

  • phil dirt October 1, 2014 (6:35 am)

    “Get a CPL while you still can. When seconds count the cops are minutes away.” I totally agree with you, Thomas M. Since the Seattle Police have been neutered by the DOJ, thanks to those in political power here in Seattle, It’s likely that the police will arrive in time to gather information for their written report but too late to stop the citizen from being robbed, beat up or worse. Years ago I knew a nice young Ethiopian man who was severely beaten by a bunch of thugs, at what was a 7-11 store near 35th and Morgan, because he resisted their attempt to steal his bicycle. The thugs got his bike but not before they had stomped his head and put him into a coma. I visited him in the hospital and it was truly heart breaking. He never recovered and the last I knew he was still on life support. It’s likely that he has died by now. Since the animals who destroyed this young man’s life were juveniles, to my knowledge, they were given the customary slap on the wrist. Being armed is no guarantee, but it gives you an option and it just might save you from what otherwise could be very bad outcome. My advice, for what it’s worth, is arm yourself. I think things will be getting worse before they get better. Oh, and another thing, vote no on I-524. It will have little, if any, effect on crime, but it has the potential to entrap otherwise legal gun ownership.

  • Amy October 1, 2014 (2:13 pm)

    Question about the property that Walgreens and the gas station are on – who owns that land? The gas station is definitely a problem… Who has the authority to revoke their permit if the business owners are allowing these illegal activities? Also, who has the authority to re-zone those areas of land? I love our new high point neighborhood and see a lot of wholesome families. It would be unfortunate to allow outsiders to ruin it for everyone else building an honest life here.

    • WSB October 1, 2014 (2:26 pm)

      The taxpayer is listed as Walgreens, the owners as Kenneth Dayton and Lynn Gitlin, for the Walgreens site. The market is listed as belonging to SMM Real Estate Investment, which checks to Seon Hee and Kyo Ho Hwang of Issaquah.

  • Lynn October 1, 2014 (4:20 pm)

    I agree, I think it may always be a hot spot as long as that market is there. There is alot more development coming up on the 35th and still more houses on 34th. Maybe that will help change the landscape of that corner.

    It would be really nice to see more family friendly establishments on that prime corner. Im still optimistic High Point and the area is getting better.

  • mary October 1, 2014 (4:35 pm)

    @wsres – Over-reaction, don’t you think? “Dangerous corner. Lots of desperate, Section 8, low income people “hanging around” there, and living there. Drugs, foreign people unemployed. Food Bank is right there. I would never park or step foot in that store. Suckers wanted at that corner.”
    I live in the neighborhood. Your reaction is a bit exaggerated – foreigners, people who use the food bank, and low income does not equate to crime. In fact, you might be surprised who has to use those services – maybe your co-workers, your family, or your friends. I grew up low income, went to college and grad school, and understand first hand how hard it is to overcome those hurdles. I own my house in High Point and have proudly lived there for almost eight years. I love the neighborhood.
    I am not oblivious to that corner being an issue but fear is not the answer. When I have seen drug deals in the parking lot or have had any issues, I don’t hesitate to call 911. I avoid the Walgreen’s if I can because I can. But, I am also sympathetic to the people who don’t have cars and don’t have a lot of alternatives. I agree with many other commenters that there are opportunities for better policing. But, it is not necessary to make broad generalizations about those who are different from yourself.

  • wsres October 1, 2014 (9:28 pm)

    “Mary”, I have friends who are unemployed, friends who are foreigners, friends who are low income, friends who live in section 8 housing, have used a food bank years ago and contribute a truckload to that West Seattle food bank year after year from my home not too far away. Please don’t “assume” you know anything about someone choosing to post on this site.

  • faceless October 1, 2014 (10:44 pm)

    I’m responding to Phil Dirts comment. while I agree that it was pretty bad to hear about the Ethiopian gentleman die for the cause of a bike, I don’t agree with you that Seattle PD is doing their jobs. They don’t and we need to stop pretending they do. The public should give the police rank and ratings yearly and it should reflect on their pay raises. If you are in the top quartile you receive the biggest pay raise it you are in the bottom quartile, you don’t get a raise and 20% of the bottom performers should result in being fired. Pay for performance.

  • Eric October 2, 2014 (4:32 am)

    Faceless, maybe you should re read Phil Dirt´s reply. I have no idea what you’re arguing about.

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