West Seattle Crime Watch: 5 reader reports & 6 prevention tips

The newest round of West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports – THANK YOU for sharing the information so your neighbors ALL around the peninsula know what’s going on – plus the latest prevention advice:

BURGLARY & CAR THEFT: Paige and her husband discovered early this morning that someone had broken into their house near 21st and Holden, stealing not only his wedding ring, but also the keys to his truck – which subseqently was stolen. Watch for a 2004 black Toyota TUndra with a crew cab and tonneau cover, license C71042B.

Three car prowl and theft reports from The Junction:

TRUCK BREAK-IN: From Jessica:

Just in case it happened to others, I wanted to report that we had a pick-up truck broken into on 41st Ave SW next to Jefferson Square last night and they look to have used a universal remote keyless entry tool as everything was taken but the car doors were found this morning with doors locked again, nothing broken, but everything inside taken including a phone, tools, insurance info and other paperwork in the cab of the truck. The car alarm when off when we opened the car this morning. If it happened to others maybe somebody has info we can use to track the suspect down.

CAR BREAK-IN, BALLET COSTUMES GONE: Milyssa says this happened last night “after ballet class”:

My family went out to dinner in the Junction, parking in the lot behind Bakery Nouveau. We were gone no more than 45 minutes, and I came back to a smashed front passenger window, and a missing work bag … all (it) contained was a Fire Department lunch bag, various tubes of Chap Stick, and two lovely ballet costumes that my daughters wore to dress-up day at dance class. And two pair of ballet shoes. Of course I have reported to police, and checked nearby dumpsters to see if they just dumped the bag after seeing the contents. No luck. So, this is a crappy reminder to me, and a gentle reminder to your readers to leave nothing visible in your car. And if any of you happen to find one of our ballet costumes, my girls would dance for joy!

PACKAGE THEFTS AND CAR-PROWL TRY: First Wendy e-mailed to say, “3 packages from Amazon (various shippers) were stolen from the front door on Monday, 10/26/15, in 4400 block of 44th Ave SW. (Report) filed with police.” Then she sent this followup: “And when I told my neighbors, I found out that one just had an attempted car break-in. Someone took a crowbar and damaged their door and skylight trying to get in.”

A series in the Alki area:

CAR BREAK-IN ATTEMPTS: Reported by Kate:

Monday, approx. 12:30 am, the 2400 block of 55th Ave was victim to numerous car prowl attempts. We have filed a report and handed over security camera footage to police. My vehicle was locked but prowlers were still able to get in without breaking a window. It is believed they used a radio-frequency device to unlock the car. They did not get anything of value so they moved on down the street looking in other vehicles. This is a team of thieves and move very efficiently, with one person walking while another drives a vehicle behind. Please don’t leave anything of value in your cars; let’s not give them motive to violate our property! It is also important to file a police report even if nothing was damaged or stolen. If you live on or near 2400 block of 55th SW and have any security footage of the time frame I mentioned, please contact authorities. We may be able to get more detail on thieves and their vehicle.

PREVENTION ADVICE in the newest newsletter from SPD Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon (as previewed in our Tuesday report on the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting):

CAR PROWL PREVENTION

* When you exit or enter your parked vehicle, take a moment to look around the area.

* Turn off and lock your car whenever you have to walk away from it. This includes at gas pumps, ATMs, coffee shops, etc. Never leave your car idling and unattended.

* Leave No Valuables in Your Car. Items of little or no value to you still look inviting to a thief. Even pocket change is enough of an enticement for some thieves.

* If you must leave valuables in your car (say you’re out shopping and still have some stops to make), make sure that nothing of value is within plain view. Place items in your car trunk out of sight. Do this when you get to your car, rather than waiting until you park at your next stop.

* Don’t leave accessories visible in your car. You may have taken the Laptop or IPod in with you, but if you leave the USB cables for your laptop or earbuds for the IPod in the back seat, the offender may think those items are in the car and break in anyway.

* If you have a GPS, think about how it is mounted in your car. If the mounting for the GPS is visible, the thief may think the GPS is in the glove box or under the seat and may break in to try to get it. Have removable mounting for the GPS and put that out of sight as well.

We can speak to #5. And even though none of “the items” were in the car, the thief or thieves took the connector cord anyway. And yes, only a $2 loss, but we filed a report online – you can do that here, but we hope you never have to.

22 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: 5 reader reports & 6 prevention tips"

  • sam-c October 29, 2015 (12:08 pm)

    So sorry to all of these crime victims. the story about the stolen ballet costumes really is a painful reminder to not leave anything in the car. I know there have been times I’ve been picked up from work with family requesting to get dinner in the junction. And as much of a pain it was to go out to eat with my work bag, a breast pump bag and a diaper bag….I always do. I have been tempted to leave the breast pump bag in the car, to aggravate some idiot thief that might try to take it, but i never do….

    I hope people are able to get their things back.

    • WSB October 29, 2015 (12:18 pm)

      In the prevention advice, we can speak to the one about the cables … our block was prowled some months back and that’s ALL we had in the car, a couple of connector cables, but one was peeking out from the console and apparently that’s all the temptation someone needed. We’ve published reports here with even cars being broken into with nothing visible but crumpled paper bags …. maybe the thieves thought something was hidden in them. And thanks to everyone who sends reports of found items, especially found items that seem discarded, which is exactly what might have happened with some of what was mentioned here. You can e-mail us – editor@westseattleblog.com – and/or post in the WSB Forums. – TR

  • hj October 29, 2015 (12:24 pm)

    I just bought a brand new 2015 car that due to a quirk of fate has entirely manual locks (not even power locks, definitely not remote locks). I wonder if that will be enough to fend off the new tech-enabled baddies, or if they will just resort to old-school window smashing.

  • Kate October 29, 2015 (12:26 pm)

    Jessica: Just like you, our car was locked and they still gained access then closed it all up again. Police believe the tool the thieves are using will help explain some other break ins where access was achieved without breaking anything. Hopefully our security footage will help as well.

  • linda October 29, 2015 (1:30 pm)

    I read an article about devices which “boosts” the signal from the remote keyless entry devices for cars (which I can’t find the reference to right now). Basically, if the key is out of the car’s range, the booster increases the range and allows the car to be unlocked. The author of the article has started keep his key in his freezer as that acts as a Farraday cage preventing the booster from working. Makes me wonder if this might be what the thieves are using. Also wondering if that’s why one of my car door’s was open a few weeks ago since I keep my keys in my coat pocket within a boost range of the car (I thought maybe the passenger had failed to shut the door or maybe I had failed to lock the car, there was nothing in the car to take so I never reported it).

    • WSB October 29, 2015 (1:31 pm)

      Interesting! But also – please – DO report even car prowls with nothing taken/”nothing to take.” The online link at the end of the story will at least get it into the system, and now more than ever, SPD is using data to allocate resources, etc.

  • Joan October 29, 2015 (1:35 pm)

    Agh, I hate to read all these. My car was broken into during the day a couple years ago, right near Schmitz Park. The passenger window was broken out. There was nothing visible, except my empty reusable grocery bags on the back floor, and I had just picked up a library DVD, which was in the glovebox. The thieves got empty bags and the DVD, which I had to replace. Moral: I don’t even leave empty bags or an empty glass case visible.

  • CMP October 29, 2015 (2:22 pm)

    I live north of Trader Joe’s and my neighbor said their vehicle was broken into earlier this week, most likely with that remote keyless tool mentioned above. Super aggravating, and this report is disheartening!

  • Jason October 29, 2015 (4:09 pm)

    It’s stories like these that reaffirm my decision not to lock my car anymore. A few years back, someone smashed my passenger window and stole a portable DVD player. The cost to fix the window was twice the value of the device. So now, I leave the doors unlocked and nothing of value in the car.

  • R Ferguson October 29, 2015 (4:20 pm)

    Here’s a NY Times article from April that looks into wireless key entry thieves: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/16/style/keeping-your-car-safe-from-electronic-thieves.html

  • admiral family October 29, 2015 (5:59 pm)

    just to add to this thread – last night in our north admiral neighborhood we had 2 sets of cleats, rain boots, and faux uggs stolen right off the front porch. Strange – almost like a weird prank – mostly kids/young adult sizes. discovered them missing today when heading out in the rain and going to soccer practice!

  • clinker October 29, 2015 (7:34 pm)

    linda- It would be interesting if the thieves were using some kind of amplifier device like this. It would be quite simple to make a countermeasure that would trigger an alert.

  • Matt S. October 29, 2015 (8:46 pm)

    Let’s take turns leaving bags visible in our parked cars, each containing a poisonous snake covered in neon ink.

  • Emmyjane October 29, 2015 (10:11 pm)

    I’ve been meaning to report our truck was broken into Saturday night/Sunday morning around 46th/Oregon. There’s a chance we left it unlocked wrangling two small children. Everything was gone through but only sunglasses taken.

  • Elly October 29, 2015 (10:11 pm)

    I saw a guy looking in the window of the parked car next to me and another after that as he weaved through the lot. Very casual but it caught my eye. I was in the back of our van breastfeeding and he didn’t see me. Blonde hair, late twenties. Last weekend by pharmaca. Might have been nothing but these guys are obviously staking out our parking lots and streets so don’t leave anything in sight, stay vigilant and report trouble.

  • aa October 29, 2015 (10:23 pm)

    A habit I am finally developing is if I am going for a walk on Alki or at Lincoln park, I put my purse in my trunk at home before I leave. You don’t want people to see you putting your purse in the trunk where you park.

  • Maggie October 30, 2015 (5:39 am)

    Yes, Aa! Put everything in the trunk *before* you arrive. And don’t leave *anything* visible! I’m glad I learned these tips from hiking pals years ago (trailheads are common targets because surprise surprise – people don’t follow these tips).

  • PLEASE REPORT CRIME October 30, 2015 (6:54 am)

    Please report ALL car prowls to police! Even if nothing of value was taken! It helps police track patterns of where and when it occurs so they can focus on catching the thieves! Help protect your neighbors and the community from future crime! REPORT IT!!!

  • Trina Fuka October 30, 2015 (10:00 am)

    I live on 24th and Cambridge. Yesterday afternoon I found out my 11yr old son’s bike was stolen from our backyard.. I am pissed off right now because this was my sons 1st bike, he only had this bike for two months, But it meant the world to him! He cried himself sleep last night,and I couldn’t do anything about it:'( when it hurts my kids it hurts me 10x more!! I’m bit concerned about it even more because I am a stay at home mom of 3 kids my husband works full time and is gone most of the day, just knowing someone was prowling around in my backyard stealing while I’m in the house with my 3 kids completely unaware is very alarming! It makes me wonder on what else are these thieves are capable of besides stealing things and breaking in to cars.

    • WSB October 30, 2015 (10:04 am)

      Trina – have you already e-mailed us information about this? I have one report of a stolen child’s bike that will be in today’s Crime Watch and would be able to include yours if you e-mail – editor@westseattleblog.com – so sorry to hear it happened – TR

  • Beth October 30, 2015 (10:07 am)

    I’m with Jason- nothing valuable and keep your car unlocked! I learned that lesson after a thief smashed a window ($500 out of pocket for me) to take a ripped leather jacket and a broken CD player which was on its way to be recycled.
    I’d rather the thief make off with whatever’s in my car (some febreze, phone charger, etc.) than have to replace a window.

  • Robert F October 31, 2015 (7:43 am)

    My turn. I came out this morning to find my car ransacked. I know not to leave anything I value in the car, but the one night I didn’t get my suitcase of teaching materials and tool tote from the car, I got hit. Nothing of value to anyone who isn’t a reading teacher. For this teacher, missing teaching manuals and student files. If anyone finds a pile (most likely wet) of teaching materials, please let me know. I am in Arbor Heights, on 98th Street.

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