5:06 PM: After multiple secondhand reports about this, we haven’t been able to track down the police report yet, but a warning seems to be in order about a robbery/theft reported in the West Seattle Trader Joe’s parking lot this afternoon. The first person to contact us said she is a friend of the victim: “My friend was robbed at approximately 1:20. She screamed for help and no one responded. Police later notified. Robbery: Man took her money, phone, credit cards, etc, while she was unpacking groceries, then another guy drove him away.” We have a followup message out to that friend asking about suspect and vehicle description, etc. Another friend says the victim posted on social media that the thief/robber was driven up, got out of that vehicle, grabbed the purse, and then got into another car to get away (but still no descriptive details). If we don’t get more info sooner, we’ll pursue it at tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting.
6:43 PM UPDATE: We just spoke with the victim by phone. She says it happened in the center of the main lot, where she was parked not far from the exit onto Fauntleroy. The thief was a passenger in a dark-red or maroon older Ford Bronco/Explorer-type “smaller, older SUV with a squared-off back, 4 doors” that drove up next to her car. He got out, walked toward her “mumbling” – she’s a nurse so she says she wondered if he was OK – then suddenly, she says, as she was reaching for her last bag of groceries, he lunged into the back of her car, which was open, grabbed her purse, got back in his vehicle, and it left.
She describes him as “probably 5’5″, 5’6″, stocky, pale complexion, round face, stubbly,” wearing some type of hat, but she cannot recall anything about his clothing. The “strange mumbling” was his most distinctive feature, she says, adding that police told her the description and MO matched an incident elsewhere in the area within the past week.
Also, regarding the report that no one answered her calls for help after the theft, she said a woman did eventually come over and ask what she could do and offered her phone for the 911 call. The theft victim did talk with the store manager and staffers who she said came out, but she was told there are no cameras outside the store.
We’re heading to the Crime Prevention Council meeting now and if someone doesn’t bring it up, we’ll follow up with precinct leadership about the report that this was a repeat incident.