West Seattle Crime Watch: Gunfire in Highland Park leads to search in White Center; car, house break-ins

We start this West Seattle Crime Watch roundup with a story that’s still developing:

GUNFIRE & SEARCH: For the second consecutive afternoon, police are investigating gunfire, with no injuries reported. This time it happened at or near the Seamart store at 16th and Holden. Police we talked to there say that one person was reported to have left on foot northbound afterward while a vehicle described as a green SUV – in which the shooter reportedly was riding – headed south.

What’s believed to be that vehicle has turned up in downtown White Center, on 16th south of Roxbury, but police are still looking for the person believed to have been driving. We’ll update with anything else we find out about this incident.

All that happened as we were putting together a roundup with other reports from the inbox, so on with those:

CAR PROWL ON VIDEO: Mike‘s surveillance camera caught what happened early Monday morning on the street outside his home in the 6300 block of 41st SW:

Mike is a firefighter and says the thief/thieves “got some of my Firefighting gear. Brand new boots (still in the box) and gloves worth about 500. Some DVDs.”

ANOTHER CAR PROWL: Bill says this happened last night near 41st and Barton in Upper Fauntleroy:

After removing Christmas tree from car at 8:30 pm 12/14, I forgot to lock the vehicle. Approximately at 1 am on 12/15, just before going to bed, I was in the kitchen getting a drink. I looked out to where my car was parked, I noticed a pick-up truck suspiciously parked in the middle of the street next to my vehicle. I went out to my car noticed that the driver side door was ajar, and the contents of my glove compartment and middle console compartment were dumped on the seats. Some personal items, a pair of Nike sunglasses ($75) and a tray of coins/change < $5.00. The prowler sped off when he saw me, but I got a pretty good look at the vehicle and have reported its description to the police.

CAR PROWL/HOUSE BREAK-IN CONCERN: Mia at 42nd and Findlay writes, “Over this past weekend, we experienced our 3rd car break-in (we’ve also had a couple home break-ins in the past 5 years). Fortunately, we didn’t have any valuables inside the car, but we’re very worried that we are being watched, or, rather, there is a very shady crew combing our streets on a regular basis.”

18 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Gunfire in Highland Park leads to search in White Center; car, house break-ins"

  • Alan December 15, 2015 (5:03 pm)

    This second shooting is only about six blocks from the one yesterday. Assuming there are two different people involved, I hope they get taken off the street soon.

  • sbre December 15, 2015 (5:31 pm)

    Re: the video of the car prowl; Why do the lights of the victimized vehicle all come on at the time the thief comes to a momentary stop alongside it?

    Does s/he have an electronic device which they’re able to unlock vehicles?

  • Eric1 December 15, 2015 (6:48 pm)

    sbre- You have a pretty sharp eye. That is probably how they do decided to stop and shop. Modern cars would let thieves know when they unlock with the courtesy lights.
    .
    There is a device that boosts the signal of the car looking for a remote and also boosts the remote signal from the key fob. I forgot the rumored range but it is usually close enough if you leave your keys by the front door. In theory, they could drive off with the car as well with a push button start option.
    .
    Pretty sad that they can do that but that is the kind of features the public demands. We are too lazy to even push a button, let alone get out a key.

  • ACG December 15, 2015 (9:12 pm)

    We just bought a new car. Really would have preferred an actual key, but it wasn’t available. We disabled the ignition push button and the function where the vehicle auto-unlocks as you approach the car. To start the car, you have to touch and hold the key fob to the start button for a few seconds and then you can push the ignition button. Won’t solve all the problems, but would make it a little more difficult for someone with an amplifier device.

  • CM December 15, 2015 (9:20 pm)

    Can somebody get in touch with Firefighter Mike and let him know that I, or maybe “we” can help him with replacement costs? Stealing gear from those that protect us is just worse than wrong. This seriously pisses me off. Mike, if you read this, I’m at cbmaddock at gmail dot com.

  • Eric December 16, 2015 (5:20 am)

    The person said they left the car unlocked. I don’t think it was some special device

  • AMD December 16, 2015 (8:42 am)

    Mike had the video being that raised the point about the device (because the lights came on all at once) and Bill is the one who reported forgetting to lock his doors. Two separate prowls.

  • tm7302 December 16, 2015 (9:13 am)

    This shooting happened real close to my home. It’s a sad state of affairs when I felt safer in Afghanistan than in West Seattle. Hopefully, these thugs/shooters will get what they deserve and soon. Live by the sword, die by the sword…

  • Alan December 16, 2015 (10:00 am)

    Good eye at spotting the lights coming on. That is disconcerting, yet I would happily have my car broken into this way over having the window broken out, especially since I have nothing in my car to steal. It makes me wonder how many people thought they must have left their car unlocked when they actually had not. I hope the police are looking for these devices when they do stop a suspect.

    This reminds me of the old garage door openers. People would fail to change the dip-switch settings from the factory settings, so anyone could buy replacement remotes and drive neighborhoods hitting the device until a garage door opened. They then had not only access to the garage, but likely access to the house.

  • SWinWS December 16, 2015 (10:43 am)

    I am curious what brand and size the fire boots were that were stolen, Mike? I see a lot of suspicious posts for sale on Craigslist, and if I or someone came across them, maybe it would lead to the thief; and, if possible, to notify the authorities, including flagging it on Craigslist. Its an awful time of year for this type of crime, and its worse when it affects the people that serve and protect the community.

  • julian assange December 16, 2015 (11:46 am)

    Sorry about that Mike. Hope you have insurance. Because in short the police ain’t doing nothing more in your case.after they do there paperwork u goto the back burner. You might ask how would I know or that’s not true. Well just like you I filmed my truck get all 4 tires cut. About $1200 worth of tires. And as I watch this retard of a neighbor that’s right a neighbor cut my tires , then walk back into there house. 2 months later …still nothing.

  • Morgan Junction Mom December 16, 2015 (12:46 pm)

    Just to confirm – the car WAS locked. This creep has some sort of device that unlocked it, which you can see happening when the lights came on. And I agree, it was marginally better to have the car broken into this way, instead of when they did a smash-and-grab on our other car last month, and got away with our girls’ ballet costumes.
    I think the best we can do is reprogram the keys to not turn on the convenience lights when activated. How else do you guard against something like this? Venomous pet snake?
    CM – you are generous to offer, but we can cover the replacement costs. It’s more the violation and resulting helplessness that ensues. But if you see a pair of new-in-box 13W boots on craigslist or ebay, you have likely found our perpetrator. Grrrrr!!

  • Gina December 17, 2015 (1:36 am)

    To be clear, it’s only the new keyless starting cars that are affected by this device? BTW, where do they get them? I thought it was just me being old fashioned, but I hate to get a rental car that’s keyless. It’s bad enough to be in a car with which you are unfamiliar, but then the terrain is also new and unpredictable. I’m always waiting for some new issue to arise.

  • Alan December 17, 2015 (10:12 am)

    @Gina – No. MJM can correct me, but my guess is that their car does not have keyless entry. Even if it does have keyless entry, I don’t believe that was the function that was defeated. When I approach my car at night, the interior lights slowly light up as if to say “Do you want to go for a drive?” If I use the unlock function on the fob, the exterior lights also flash on as we see happen in the video. At any rate, this issue isn’t limited to cars that do have keyless entry. Cars with keyless start have the additional concern that their cars could be stolen.

    The basic idea is that both keyless entry and keyless start involve communication between the car and the key fob. The car sends out a signal and the key answers back, requiring the fob to be in close proximity (a couple of feet) to the car. The question is whether or not a device exists that can amplify the signals so that the car believes the fob to be closer than it is. This NYT article suggests that this is true and inexpensive, but I found other articles that suggest otherwise:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/16/style/keeping-your-car-safe-from-electronic-thieves.html?_r=0

    These articles gives a much more in-depth overview:
    http://www.dailytech.com/Are+Keyless+Entry+Hacks+Really+the+Source+of+Recent+Car+Break+Ins/article37339.htm
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/17-car-key-hacking-device-not-exist/

    There does not seem to be definitive information out there on how this is being done. I am guessing that the police and manufacturers would prefer not to give potential thieves more information than necessary. The reality is that if someone wants into your car, they will get in. Someone with access to your key (mechanic, valet, detailer…) could clone it, they could get in with a slim-jim or they can break a window.

    The only real solution is to leave NOTHING in your car. If you have keyless start, you may want to clean out that garage. I think the suggestion of leaving the keys in the freezer is horrible. You can buy a privacy protection bag on Amazon for about $10, which is going to be cheaper than replacing the fob you ruined in the freezer.

  • Alan December 17, 2015 (12:48 pm)

    I may be wrong about this event not involving keyless entry. I remembered that MJM stated that they might change the programming so that the dome light doesn’t come on. I watched the first few seconds of the video and it does appear that the dome light might come on before the other lights turn on. In that case, it could be they cruise through until a dome light comes on and then reach out and touch the door handle to unlock it. They would have to be driving very close to the car.

  • Sandra December 18, 2015 (4:19 pm)

    My car was broken into last night inside the garage at the Sound Crest Apartments on Ocean View Drive. I ALWAYS lock my car, but there is a possibility that my daughter, who was in the car eating her McDonalds when I left the vehicle, did not lock the door. She says she did. Eveything in my glove compartment (had a pair of Maui Jims and a CD holder with quite a few CDS and car repair bills, reading glasses, etc.)and there were two boxes with my shoes and some clothing in the trunk, as well as a small luggage with clothes and makeup–all gone. More importantly, they took my garage remote and my boyfriend’s garage remote. It is really upsetting. I feel violated and don’t feel really safe at all. Don’t know if anyone’s else’s car was broken into.

  • Alan December 21, 2015 (3:40 pm)

    @Sandra – You and your boyfriend hopefully unplugged your garage door openers until you could get them reprogrammed. My remotes just require dip switches on the opener and in the remote to match, so they are easy to change. Not sure about other manufacturers, but there should be a way.

  • Colton Lloyd December 28, 2015 (3:57 pm)

    Hey i probably should’ve showed this earlier. But i got the dope on what really happened in front of the Seamart. Got the video. I put it up on Youtube with music and a slow motion replay. I can’t stand that this is happening in my neighborhood. We have kids walking around. Screw these guys.

    https://youtu.be/UR6XN3VtuXU

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