West Seattle Crime Watch followups: Court notes in arson, robbery cases

November 24, 2015 at 11:28 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | No Comments

Two court updates in recent West Seattle cases:

ARSON SUSPECT LOSES BAIL-CUT BID: When serial-arson suspect Jacob Kokko was arraigned on Monday, he pleaded not guilty and asked for a bail reduction. Both are fairly routine at this stage in a case. Judge Dean Lum said no to the bail-cut request, so Kokko remains held in lieu of $300,000 bail. Two weeks have passed since prosecutors charged the 22-year-old High Point resident in connection with three October fires.

ROBBERY SUSPECT NOT CHARGED: The $100,000 bail first set for an Arbor Heights man suspected in the recent holdup at the Westwood Village GameStop store is no longer in effect – prosecutors have not filed charges, saying the investigation is still ongoing. But he’s still in jail because of a $10,000 failure-to-appear warrant in a domestic-violence assault case.

West Seattle Crime Watch: One stolen car; two found bikes

November 24, 2015 at 9:04 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

In West Seattle Crime Watch this morning – one stolen car and two possibly stolen, abandoned bicycles. First, just out of the WSB inbox, from Grace:

My blue 1997 Geo Prism was taken from in front of our house on 11th Ave SW in Highland Park in the last few hours. If anyone should see it around, much appreciate their contacting SPD (case # 15 410052) so I might be able to retrieve it. License plate ANC 4242. Thanks.

Two bicycles have turned up, abandoned and likely stolen. First, Gary found this one left outside his garage door – “Body is painted over in blue and black. No sign of brand name.”:

And Patrick says the next one was abandoned in the 3200 block of Benton Pl. SW sometime last week:

Something for Crime Watch? Once you’ve reported it to police, e-mail us – editor@westseattleblog.com – unless it’s breaking news, in which case, please text or call 206-293-6302 – thank you!

West Seattle Crime Watch: From the ‘stolen/found’ files – two car prowls, two discoveries

November 22, 2015 at 12:36 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 5 Comments

ORIGINAL REPORT, 12:36 PM: Car prowls are the crime you’re most likely to fall victim to, SPD says. And from the reader-report files, we have word of another one. From Rebecca:

I wanted to report that my car window broken (Saturday) evening between 4:30 and 5:15. The car was parked on the street, by a lamp post and a bus stop on 63rd near Constellation Park. My black, leather bag was stolen.

It has “1st Aid” on it with a Red Cross like symbol, an adjustable long, cloth handle strap that’s like a thin belt. There’s a purple cloth wallet in it and an orange and white zippered bag like they sell at Pharmaca.

If you see any of those items – please comment; lately readers have found discarded car-prowl loot and it’s subsequently made its way back to its owners. Please also heed police’s advice: Don’t leave ANYTHING in your vehicle, regardless of how well it’s hidden, or whether you think it’s completely worthless to anyone else … thieves do break in on spec, just pulling out anything they find, to be rushed away and combed through later.

FOUND: Not necessarily stolen, but in our experience lately, these tend to be the kinds of items that are bycatch for car prowlers and tossed aside somewhere. Salle reports:

I found a notebook and textbook last night with an exam noting (first name starts with C, second with B). It was found in the alley behind my house in Fauntleroy Cove, between Trenton and Concord Streets, alley being 46th.

She’s been searching for the person online, but no luck yet, so she sent word in case the person missing these items – through a theft or otherwise – reads WSB.

ADDED 1:53 PM: Two more reports just came in, so we’re adding them. From Jason:

Car was prowled near upper Fauntleroy as well around 2 am this morning. We are on 41st ave in a secure garage. Got away with softball and soccer gear that was in the trunk. It tried to take off with the golf clubs but failed. They were found hidden in another part of the garage. It looked like it was coming back for them. Keep an eye open for a North Face Bag and Hershel Bag with dirty sports gear in it. It’s most likely mine and would love it back if found around the neighborhood.

And from Julie, a possibly abandoned bicycle not far from where Salle made her discoveries (mentioned above):

This bike appears to be abandoned — been here, unlocked, for several days. 46th & Trenton. There also were school books and papers scattered in a nearby alley, but someone else has taken that stuff away. (I just heard about that, never saw it myself.) Could be connected.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Seen this stolen 1986 Porsche? Plus, helicopter false alarm

November 21, 2015 at 8:18 pm | In Crime, Helicopter, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

ORIGINAL 8:18 PM REPORT: Grant‘s 1986 Porsche was stolen today from the apartment-building parking lot at 6533 California SW in Morgan Junction. Maybe you’ll be the one to help find it.

The car was last seen in my parking lot at 8 am (ish) before I left for work on Saturday November 21st. And when I got home at around 4:30 or 4:45 the car was gone. It is a black Porsche 944 Model Year 1986. It means a lot to me and I would love to see it returned safe and sound. I have included a picture of the car, its not super current (and the white writing over the back window is no longer there, was when I first bought it) but it does show a view of the back and the current license plate.

The theft is already on record with SPD, and tweeted via @getyourcarback – as the tweet says, if you see it, call 911.

ADDED 8:37 PM: Unrelated to the aforementioned auto theft but since we already have this Crime Watch story up – Guardian One just explained what they were doing over Upper Fauntleroy/Gatewood for a few minutes (including a few passes over WSB HQ):

West Seattle Crime Watch: 2 car-prowl reader reports

November 21, 2015 at 1:47 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 9 Comments

1:47 PM: As police warned again at last week’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, this is high season for car prowls, since thieves will assume everyone has something in the car, even if it’s not visible. We have two West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports to share today:

WESTCREST PARK CAR PROWL: Ann reports that her car window was smashed and purse taken while she was walking her dogs at the park on Friday afternoon, 4:15-4:45 pm.

UPPER FAUNTLEROY CAR PROWL: Cate‘s driver-side car window was smashed in around 2:30 am today, but, she adds, “I think the alarm must have scared them off because they didn’t rummage around and take anything. It was parked on the street in front of my house (in the 8400 block of) 42nd Ave SW.”

Here’s car-prowl prevention advice from SPD.

5:20 PM: So far, three more car prowl reports have come in via comments below.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Police investigating hit-and-runs

November 20, 2015 at 6:34 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 1 Comment

Thanks to everyone for the texts and other messages. Police have been out at several spots in north West Seattle, from Harbor Avenue up to Admiral, investigating hit-and-run damage done to parked cars. We don’t have all the exact locations; police theorize one driver might be to blame, but as of when we caught up with them, they hadn’t found a suspect yet. No injuries reported. But if you discover damage to your vehicle – be sure to report it. (Thanks to Katie for the photo above, taken around 5 pm at 46th/Admiral.)

CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Bail set at $100,000 for suspect in Game Stop robbery, under investigation in 4 more holdups/thefts

November 19, 2015 at 4:45 pm | In Arbor Heights, Crime, West Seattle news, Westwood | 4 Comments

New information today in the case of the 30-year-old man arrested at an Arbor Heights house Tuesday night on suspicion of robbing the Westwood Village Game Stop store earlier that night. His bail is set at $100,000 after his appearance in a jailhouse courtroom downtown this afternoon. And the probable-cause documents say police suspect him and a 39-year-old relative – who is not in custody – of committing this robbery, and are investigating them in connection with three other robberies/major thefts in the past six months:

Click to read the rest of CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Bail set at $100,000 for suspect in Game Stop robbery, under investigation in 4 more holdups/thefts…

FOLLOWUP: Arrest in Arbor Heights followed robbery at Westwood Village

November 18, 2015 at 1:11 pm | In Arbor Heights, Crime, West Seattle news, Westwood | 4 Comments

Thanks to everyone who tipped us about a big police response at an Arbor Heights house last night. We have finally obtained Seattle Police confirmation that the arrest made there was linked to the robbery we covered earlier in the evening at the Westwood Village Game Stop store. A witness to the robbery tells WSB they saw a getaway vehicle and provided its description and license plate to police. Officers found the vehicle at a home near 35th and 104th in Arbor Heights and, with a warrant, searched the house and arrested a 30-year-old man who is now in the King County Jail; the vehicle was towed as evidence. We’re expecting a few more details from police this afternoon, and will add them when available, but after many inquiries today about the AH response, we wanted to publish this as soon as we had confirmation of the link.

UPDATE: One person shot in North Delridge, expected to recover; witnesses tell police they suspect gang involvement

November 17, 2015 at 11:12 pm | In Crime, Delridge, West Seattle news | 18 Comments

(WSB photo)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 11:12 PM: Police and medics are on the way to an apartment in the 4800 block of Delridge Way SW, where a man is reported to have a gunshot wound to the back. Officers are starting a search for a suspect or suspects last seen northbound on Delridge. Police are blocking Delridge near the scene. Updates to come.

11:34 PM UPDATE: We just arrived near the scene. Before getting here, we heard via scanner that the victim’s wound is not life-threatening, and that there might be multiple suspects who reportedly fired from outside. Delridge is reopening.

12:09 AM: No new information was available at the scene, but we’ll pursue the report in the morning and add whatever more we find.

12:37 PM: We just received the narrative from the official report. With names redacted as is SPD policy, here it is:

(The victim) was over at his friend’s house playing video games.

He went outside with (two people) to try to locate a set of car keys that he may have dropped outside.

(Those two) were on the west side of Delridge while (the victim) was on the east side of the street near (the victim’s) van. All three said that they heard shots and dropped to the ground. All three said that the shooters were three B/Ms [black males], younger, possibly in their twenties, wearing dark clothing.

(One person) said that they came out from behind 48xx Delridge (east side of the street), fired approximately 3 times, then ran off to the north and then back behind the buildings on the east side of Delridge where they were no longer in sight. (Witnesses and victim) retreated back into 48xx (west side) Delridge Way SW #A where they contacted 911 to report the shooting.

When officers arrived (the victim) walked out to Delridge where he was treated by SFD Engine 11 and Medic 32. He was transported to HMC [Harborview Medical Center] for further treatment. (The two others and a third person) all believed that this was a gang-involved shooting. They implied that they knew who had done this. (One) said that he had heard the three shooters on previous occasions yell out (gang name), but all three believed that they were associated with a (different gang). All three witnesses were shaken up and did not want to provide statements at the time of the incident. I advised that detectives would be contacting them and they would be able to tell them what had happened. … Officers were unable to locate suspects or any evidence at the scene.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Westwood Game Stop robbed

November 17, 2015 at 9:42 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, Westwood | 7 Comments

Police are investigating a robbery this past hour at the Game Stop store in Westwood Village, right around closing time. We’re just back from talking with officers and the store clerk, who said the robber tried to pepper spray him, then took a swing at him, and eventually got away with some cash. No medical attention needed; no suspect descriptions. We had just left the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, where Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis had mentioned that robberies are a category of crime currently on the upswing citywide – full report to come.

UPDATE: 1 injured, 1 in custody after incident ends in 16th/Barton crash

November 17, 2015 at 4:27 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

4:27 PM: If you passed 16th and Barton this afternoon and noticed a car that crashed into a tree and then into the parking lot south of the Salvation Army Center … no, it wasn’t related to the weather. Or, you might have deduced that, given the heavy police presence:

What actually happened was still being sorted out. But police say the original call came in as a robbery. And they were looking for a weapon.

The original medical call on this was “assault with weapons” but while one person was injured and taken away by private ambulance, no one could confirm for us whether the injuries actually did involve a weapon.

Another person was taken into custody and a tow truck showed up for the red-and-green car. We hope to check back later to see what the story turns out to be.

8:08 PM: We talked with Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis at tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, and he had a little more information: This did start as a robbery – but the suspect and victim had originally arranged to meet “to make an exchange,” in the car. It went awry and turned into a robbery; the alleged robber bolted from the car, and the victim allegedly tried to hit him with the car, and that’s how it all ended up in that parking lot. The person who was injured was not shot or stabbed but someone was believed to have had a gun. Still somewhat convoluted but that provides a little more context.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Car prowlers still busy

November 17, 2015 at 6:52 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 16 Comments

We’ve heard a lot about car prowls in West Seattle Crime Watch lately, and we’ve heard from three more readers. First, from Justina, a Westwood break-in:

(Monday) around 3 p.m. I arrived at Target and saw a group of people in a car watching me. I didn’t think much of it, at first it seemed like a group of friends. I came out of Target 30 minutes later to see the window of my driver’s door completely shattered. The thief/thieves opened my trunk to steal my backpack along with my younger sister’s. I contacted SPD and soon there was another man who also had his car broken into.

Target’s security believes that there was a group of people who were all stealing from cars in the parking lot (Monday). One woman got arrested, but none of her possible accomplices came back. I just want people to be aware that these things do happen in broad daylight, even if you think you’re safe by putting your belongings in your trunk. I never thought that this would happen to me because I keep nothing of importance in my car. I always put my backpack in my trunk so no one can see it through my windows. But still, the thieves took my 10 year-old hand-me-down backpack full of homework and school supplies. Please be aware of your surroundings and stand up for what is right.

From Karna in Gatewood:

Would like to report a car prowl on the 7000 block of 42nd Ave near Myrtle. (Sunday) night between 12:00 am – 6:00 am, our car was “unlocked” and was clearly rifled, sunglasses taken and the entire “ashtray” which may have had $.75 and some old chap stick. Will be calling the police to report and request additional patrols on our block…I don’t smoke but would love to have my ashtray and shades back…and hope someone enjoys my shades…they were my favorite. In light of what’s going on in Paris and many parts of the world, this is really no big deal and we must all count our blessings…hope these thieves needed the money and were not just being vandals.

We also have a general neighborhood alert from the 44th/Dawson area southwest of The Junction, at least four recent car prowls and an attempted purse snatch a bit further south, near 44th/Brandon. No specifics on these so far but a general FYI.

CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL TONIGHT: 7 pm tonight (Tuesday), the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets, with a briefing on local crime trends, a chance to bring up neighborhood concerns, and a scheduled guest appearance from Metro Transit Police leadership. Southwest Precinct meeting room (2300 SW Webster) – all welcome.

West Seattle Crime Watch followup: Friday night stabbing victim now described as ‘suspect’

November 16, 2015 at 12:52 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 9 Comments

As promised, we’ve pursued further information on the Friday night incident in the 8100 block of 16th SW, initially described as a stabbing that sent a man to the hospital. We’ve obtained the Seattle Police investigation report. Here’s what it says:

The original call, around 10:30 pm Friday, was about a burglary; the person who called 911 reported that people were inside his house and in a car in front of his house. As dispatchers tried to get more information from the caller as officers headed that way, they then heard a “disturbance” in the background, with the caller “arguing with someone else,” and then at some point “someone yelling for assistance, asking for someone to come save them, someone yelling ‘he’s stabbing me’ and then someone saying ‘get off of me, I’m dying’.”

Click to read the rest of West Seattle Crime Watch followup: Friday night stabbing victim now described as ‘suspect’…

West Seattle Crime Watch: More stolen-and-found reader reports; car prowl

November 14, 2015 at 9:36 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

9:36 PM: Two reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch tonight, starting with what RD lost to car prowler(s) last night – maybe you’ve seen some of it?

My car was broken into last night in Morgan Junction near Gatewood School. In addition to CDs and gloves, they took a cloth bag (blue Room and Board) filled with interior finishes, (paint chips, wood samples, etc.) and a 12” x 12” square old cardboard box with fabric samples, glass and stone samples and wood samples. They left the GPS and a pocket knife, which was interesting. I really need the samples, in case anyone happens to see them dumped once the thief’s realize it is worthless items in the bag and box. They are for my business and a presentation on Monday. …my own fault for leaving things that I thought appeared worthless to me but not to the thief’s. This occurred between 12:30 am and 4:00 am today.

Police stress that nothing should be left in vehicles – nothing at all. Thieves won’t necessarily assess anything as worthless on sight – we’ve published reports of thieves breaking into vehicles even to go through crumpled grocery bags, as well as reports of stolen items all the way down to bags of sweaty gym clothes. Recently, a string of posts and comments over several days here on WSB reunited a teacher with items stolen from his car including teaching materials that you certainly wouldn’t consider loot.

Meantime, we have this report via Twitter of an item found, possibly stolen, near Sonya‘s home in Highland Park:

P.S. The West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets Tuesday night (November 17th), 7 pm at the Southwest Precinct, with the chief of Metro Transit Police as the special guest. If you have questions about bus/bus-stop safety, bring ‘em, as well as any neighborhood concerns you want to call to SW Precinct police’s attention.

ADDED 9:51 PM: Shortly after publishing this, a reader report came in about a car prowl tonight, on the alley in the 6000 block of 42nd SW. The reader heard a door shut, and turned around to see the lights inside the vehicle on. Nothing taken but the glove box and center console were gone through, and the car “reeks of alcohol,” they report. Police have been called.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Man stabbed in south Highland Park

November 13, 2015 at 10:52 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, WS breaking news | 8 Comments

10:52 PM FRIDAY: Police are in the 8100 block of 16th SW right now investigating a stabbing. The victim is a man believed to be 35-40 years old, stabbed once in a back, being rushed to Harborview Medical Center right now. Not much other information available so far but the incident also might be linked to a report of a woman one block away, in the 8100 block of 15th SW, saying she was “maced.”

SATURDAY NIGHT NOTE: The incident is classified on the police-report map as an armed robbery at a residence. No narrative details are available, and at this point won’t be before Monday.

MONDAY AFTERNOON: Here’s our followup.

FOLLOWUP: ‘The defendant’s criminal history is horrendous,’ prosecutors say as they charge Benjamin Laigo III in crime spree including West Seattle robbery

November 12, 2015 at 9:40 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

At right is a state photo of 48-year-old Benjamin Laigo III, taken three days before his release from Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in southeastern Washington two and a half weeks ago. Today, county prosecutors charged him with first-degree robbery and attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle. They say he held up a West Seattle woman at 37th and Alaska (as reported here on Sunday, after her husband e-mailed us about the crime) and then took off in a stolen car, with police pursuing before long, until he crashed the car on Airport Way.

As reported here on Tuesday, Laigo has a lengthy record. He went to prison in 2006, sentenced to 14 years in connection with multiple robberies, including a holdup on Valentine’s Day 2006 at the Wells Fargo Bank in The Admiral District. Documents from the sentencing that year say he made off with more than $11,000. The 2006 robberies followed his release from prison – how closely, we don’t know – after 10 years in prison for five robbery convictions in 1996. Prosecutors say that because of those cases, this one will be his “third strike” if convicted, and that’s why they asked the judge to set bail at half a million dollars. A deputy prosecutor wrote in today’s documents, “The defendant’s criminal history is horrendous and shows a 20-year pattern of violent offenses following long periods of incarceration.” The charging papers say the woman Laigo is accused of robbing in West Seattle was knocked to the ground and was bleeding from her head and hands when people rushed to help her after he stole her purse and took off. Witnesses told police they saw the robber holding a black handgun.

The white Fiat witnesses say they saw the robber jump into was spotted on the eastbound bridge by an SPD officer who followed it onto northbound I-5, waiting for backup before activating lights and sirens. The car checked as having been stolen in an armed carjacking on lower Queen Anne Hill the night before. Officers started trying to stop it when the car exited at James Street downtown; they say it was being driven erratically for a few blocks before getting back onto I-5, southbound this time, going up to 75 mph in light rain, traveling about three miles until getting off the freeway at Airport Way, and eventually going the wrong way onto a ramp to get back onto I-5, stopping after crashing into another car whose driver was hurt, as was Laigo, who police say they found alone in the Fiat. He had his Department of Corrections ID card on him in the car. Retracing the path of the pursuit, police found the West Seattle robbery victim’s purse near 5th and Lander.

Laigo is not charged yet in connection with the carjacking. Its victim told police that the man who robbed her pointed a black handgun at her and said, “I need your car, look normal, no one will help me.” He took her keys and asked her how to use the key remote, but warned her not to look at him. Laigo is due back in court for arraignment – to answer the charges – the day before Thanksgiving.

P.S. We wondered while writing the previous story about the “time off for good behavior” law that apparently is what enabled Laigo to serve roughly two-thirds of his previous terms for multiple robberies. We found details of the policy here.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Bank vandalism; mail theft

November 11, 2015 at 2:30 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | No Comments

We start this West Seattle Crime Watch roundup with an investigation under way right now:

BROKEN WINDOWS AT JUNCTION BANK: Thanks to the person who texted us about this. Though the bank is closed for the Veterans Day holiday, there’s a lot of activity at the West Seattle Junction Wells Fargo right now because of apparent vandalism.

Windows were broken on the south side of the bank. No word yet exactly when it happened, but police were called to the branch this afternoon, and WF employees are there now as well as a crew to fix the window. They are trying to figure out what the windows were broken with, but police say they do not believe it was gunfire.

MAIL THEFT, REPORT #1: From a Gatewood resident: “Just wanted to email you about our locked mailbox being broken into and our mail stolen. We’re on the 4000 block of SW Myrtle St., and we’ve already reported it to the police and the Postal Inspector.” That came in Tuesday afternoon, as did the next note from a few miles south:

MAIL THEFT, REPORT #2: From an Arbor Heights resident: “Just found a bunch of mail strewn along SW 102nd St., which I returned to the proper address.”

FOLLOWUP: Triangle street-robbery suspect was just out of prison for bank, business robberies

November 10, 2015 at 10:06 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 14 Comments

The man arrested after crashing a stolen car while fleeing the scene of a West Seattle street robbery remains in jail tonight. The 48-year-old suspect did not appear at his probable-cause hearing this afternoon and is being held without bail, pending potential charges on Thursday. Our first word of the robbery came via e-mail from the victim’s husband on Sunday; information from SPD revealed that the getaway car had been stolen in a carjacking on Queen Anne Saturday night, and that after the Sunday robbery at 37th and Alaska, police spotted the car across the bridge, following it into downtown, and then onto Airport Way, where it crashed and the suspect was arrested. Researching his background, we’ve learned that the suspect has a long record of robberies, going back at least 19 years; he was sentenced to a 15-year term for robberies in 1996, but was out again by 2006, when he was sentenced to a 14-year prison term after pleading guilty to robberies including a holdup at the Wells Fargo Bank in the Admiral District. We asked the Department of Corrections when he had been released – turns out he got out of prison just two weeks ago. We’ll be researching further while awaiting word of charges on Thursday.

Charges filed against West Seattle serial-arson suspect Jacob Kokko

November 10, 2015 at 3:46 pm | In Crime, West Seattle fires, West Seattle news | 14 Comments

(WSB photo: October 31, Senior Center fire)
3:46 PM: Five days after the arrest of 22-year-old Jacob Kokko in connection with the recent arsons in West Seattle, he is officially charged. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Kokko this afternoon with second-degree arson (a Class B felony), second-degree reckless burning (a gross misdemeanor), and third-degree malicious mischief (a gross misdemeanor). The charges specifically call out the two arsons in The Junction early Halloween morning – in dumpsters underneath the Senior Center of West Seattle and alongside the California/Alaska commercial building that houses businesses including Easy Street Records and Twilight Gallery – and a trash-can fire in the 6500 block of 34th SW, near his home, on October 12th.

(WSB photo: October 31, California/Alaska fire)
His bail remains set at $300,000, and he is scheduled to be arraigned (answer the charges) on November 23rd. On first look, the charging papers shine no further light on a motive, aside from Kokko telling detectives he did it because he “needed help.” As our research indicated, he has no apparent criminal history, prosecutors write, but they sought to keep the bail relatively high because “his unhinged behavior causes great concern for the safety of the community.” The Senior Center fire, in particular, could easily have spread to engulf the entire building, it’s pointed out.

Kokko was arrested last Thursday night, shortly after officers served a search warrant at his High Point home, saying they found evidence linking him to the fires. Court documents say someone who knows him recognized him in the surveillance video that shows the bus-stop fire on Morgan south of 35th being set October 12th; he is not charged in connection with that fire, though, nor with the October 18th Sylvan Ridge car arsons, or the October 19th High Point rental-office fire, or the October 21st 40th/Morgan recycling-bin fire.

ADDED 6:01 PM: Aside from the charges themselves, the information in the new documents is the same as what we reported after Kokko’s bail hearing – at which he did not appear – last Friday afternoon. He is said to have admitted to four fires, the three in which he is charged, and the bus-stop box fire which was recorded on video. He also is said to be on surveillance video setting the Senior Center fire, then walking away, and returning, apparently to be sure it was still going. Otherwise, the only other information we’ve learned about him, from separate research, is that he worked at a restaurant – not in West Seattle – and hadn’t lived here more than a few years; court files show that he was the subject of an eviction filing from an apartment on Avalon Way last summer.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Car stolen from apartment garage; burglary; (stolen?) bicycle & toolbox found…

November 9, 2015 at 8:12 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 5 Comments

Five reader reports tonight in West Seattle Crime Watch:

CAR STOLEN FROM APARTMENT GARAGE: Robert hopes you will be on the lookout for his car:

My car was stolen Sunday morning at around 9 am from 4730 California Ave SW. I’ve already filed a police report, etc. I’m hoping to get readers to keep their eyes open. It’s a blue 2012 Mazda3 hatchback. License plate WA – AHJ1794

He says it was taken from inside the garage, and he’s working with management to check for surveillance video.

BURGLARY: From Delaney in Arbor Heights:

We had a break-in last week (Thursday, November 5). Because over $500 worth of goods was stolen and someone illegally entered our property, it was classified by the SPD as a felony burglary. Someone climbed in our bedroom window while we were at work and stole about $2,000 worth of small electronics and jewelry, as well as a backpack to fit it all in and transport back to their den of thieves. Nothing else was broken or damaged.

She adds, “We have a GIANT privacy hedge which I’m sure made it that much easier for them.” (That indeed is the type of thing discouraged by CPTED – Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design – principles – follow the link for tips.)

ANYBODY MISSING THIS BIKE? Melissa spotted this “Magna mountain bike” on Cambridge between 20th and 21st Ave SW:

ANYBODY MISSING THIS TOOL BOX? Jake says his wife found it in a planting strip near their Gatewood home, “presumably dumped judging by the damage. Hoping to reunite it with the rightful owner. Holding on to it for now, I plan to drop it at the local precinct if no response.”

You can reach him at jake.daniel@gmail.com. By the way, we checked with Robert, the teacher who lost many items in a recent car prowl, including a tool tote. This is NOT his. But even more of his stuff has turned up – some of his teaching materials were found by another WSB reader, so he has them back! Wherever you are, please watch out for stuff that might have been dumped by thieves, and let us know so we can get the word out there.

PHONE SCAM ALERT REMINDER: From Carol: “Just wanted to give a heads-up that in the last 2 days, we’ve had 3 phone calls on our land line telling us that we are being sued by the IRS and that we should phone back immediately for help. I know this is a SCAM and just wondered if anyone else in West Seattle is also getting phoned?” This scam can take many forms, as reported here back in February.

CASE UPDATE: The man arrested in connection with Sunday morning’s West Seattle mugging, found in a Fiat stolen in a Saturday night carjacking on Queen Anne, wasn’t booked into jail until this afternoon, after a short hospital stay. So he won’t have a bail hearing until tomorrow.

If you have Crime Watch information to share – once it’s been reported to police! – e-mail us at editor@westseattleblog.com – if it’s breaking news (big police response somewhere RIGHT NOW, etc.), text/voice-call us 24/7 at 206-293-6302 – thank you!

West Seattle Crime Watch: Triangle mugging linked to Queen Anne carjacking, Airport Way crash

November 8, 2015 at 6:15 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 25 Comments

ORIGINAL SUNDAY NIGHT REPORT: This reader report from Dan turns out to have been part of a crime spree that police say started and ended outside West Seattle:

My wife was mugged this morning around 10:30 am on SW Alaska Street and 37th by a man showing a gun from his waist. The man grabbed the purse that was hanging from my wife’s shoulder and flipped her to the ground and pulled the purse away from her.

He ran into the alley by Lien Veterinary and took off in a car that, according to police, was stolen. Thanks to my wife’s strong yelling for help and assistance from various people from the Link apartments who called police and took photos of the getaway car. Later we were driven by the police to a crash scene on Airport Way south to identify the mugger, who had crashed the car head-on into a transit van. Thanks to the kindness and quick response by SPD to apprehend the mugger and the SFD attending to my wife.

According to an earlier post on SPD Blotter (which didn’t catch our attention previously because it doesn’t mention West Seattle), the stolen vehicle was from a carjacking last night in Queen Anne.

ADDED MONDAY AFTERNOON: We’re working to find out if the suspect is due for a bail hearing today; he apparently went to the hospital for treatment of injuries before being booked into jail. Here’s a section from the police-report narrative detailing what SPD says happened between the robbery here and the crash on Airport Way:

While patrol units were conducting an area check for the suspect, Officer Novisedlak #5884 observed a vehicle with the matching plate traveling eastbound on the West Seattle Bridge. As the vehicle drove past (the officer) on the bridge, he broadcasted that the driver appeared to match the description of the suspect. (The officer) then followed after while waiting for sufficient units before initiated his lights and sirens to conduct a stop on the vehicle. Once sufficient units arrived with (the officer), he attempted to conduct a stop on the vehicle at 7th Av /James St. The suspect then refused to stop his vehicle by accelerating at a high rate of speed while continuing eastbound on James St. The suspect then continued to evade Officers by driver for several blocks as Officer followed after with lights and sirens. The suspect vehicle later stopped after colliding with another vehicle while driving the wrong way up the I-5 off-ramp to Airport Way. The suspect then exited the vehicle and was taken into custody without incident. The suspect was transported from the scene to HMC for treatment for unknown injuries.

FOLLOWUP: Judge sets $300,000 bail for West Seattle arson suspect; probable-cause documents say he told police he set fires because he ‘needs help’

November 6, 2015 at 2:56 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 14 Comments

2:56 PM: We’re outside the King County Jail downtown, where Judge Anne Harper set $300,000 bail a short time ago for the 22-year-old man arrested in connection with recent West Seattle arsons (WSB was first to report the arrest this morning) – twice what the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office had requested. The suspect declined the chance to appear at the hearing, at which Judge Harper found probable cause to keep him in jail while prosecutors decide on what could be multiple counts of second-degree arson. Prosecutors told the judge that the suspect has no known criminal history, as reported here earlier. He is said to have told police he set fires because he wanted to get help; hearing that, Judge Harper said, left her more concerned that he would be a danger to the community if released without getting that help. His family has just left the courthouse, declining to comment to waiting reporters. We’re awaiting a copy of the probable-cause documents and will add to this story when we get them.

3:25 PM: Just received the documents. They say he has confessed to setting four fires – the two on October 12th in High Point, at the SW Morgan eastbound bus stop between 34th and 35th, and around the corner in a front-yard waste bin in the 6500 block of 34th SW – steps from his residence – as well as the two on October 31st in The Junction.

The documents begin by listing eight fires that police have investigated – six fires in High Point and Morgan between October 12th and October 21st, then the two set in The Junction early Halloween morning, including the one beneath the Senior Center of West Seattle, where surveillance video, the documents say, shows the fire being set at 2:02 am, and showing the fire-setter leaving, then returning a moment later “to see if the fire is going.”

Less than 20 minutes later, a witness saw someone leaving the alley behind the Easy Street Records building, and then saw a dumpster on fire; two citizens pushed it away from the building’s wall.

Surveillance video from The Junction 7-11 about two blocks south shows someone in clothing similar to that worn by the person seen at those arson scenes – a red hoodie with a “dark body or vest over it” – making a purchase around 2:30 am. The document jumps ahead to this past Wednesday, when officers saw someone matching the arsonist’s description walking in The Junction, but weren’t able to make contact.

Then police got a tip from someone who knows the suspect and had seen the surveillance video from the bus-stop fire. The tipster met with police yesterday and identified the suspect. Last night, as reported earlier, police served a warrant on his home in the 6500 block of 34th SW, where the documents say they recovered clothing matching what was worn by the person seen on video in the Junction arsons. Shortly thereafter, they found and arrested him at Shadowland in The Junction (the documents don’t say how they knew he was there) and took him downtown for questioning. In that questioning, police say he admitted to setting the October 12th and 31st fires but would not admit to any others. And, as noted earlier, he said he did it because he needed help. He is due back in court next Tuesday (November 10th), by which time prosecutors should decide on charges.

UPDATE: Police confirm arrest in West Seattle arsons; suspect’s bail set at $300,000

November 6, 2015 at 9:51 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 23 Comments

(WSB photo: Investigators, firefighters at October 31st dumpster arson behind Senior Center)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

9:51 AM: Seattle Police have just confirmed to WSB that a suspect is in custody in connection with recent West Seattle arsons. Which ones, we don’t yet know – SPD spokesperson Sgt. Sean Whitcomb says details are yet to come.

Here’s what we had found out before getting that confirmation:

A 22-year-old West Seattle man with no apparent criminal record was booked into the King County Jail just after midnight for investigation of arson. A few hours earlier, we confirmed with the Southwest Precinct after a reader tip, the Arson and Bomb Squad was involved in serving a warrant at a residence on 34th SW between Morgan and Holly, the same block where one of the earliest fires in the High Point/Morgan string happened – a waste bin set afire on October 12th.

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office tells us that since the suspect was booked into jail early today, his bail hearing will not be until tomorrow. We’ll update this story as soon as more information is available.

9:56 AM: Additional details just reported via SPD Blotter:

… Officers arrested the man at a bar near SW Oregon and California Ave SW after serving a warrant on his home and finding evidence linking him to several recent fires in West Seattle. Detectives interviewed the 22-year-old and booked him into the King County Jail for investigation of arson.

So far, detectives have linked the man to four fires in the West Seattle area, including incidents captured on surveillance video on October 12th and Halloween. Police believe the man may be connected to a number of other fires in West Seattle as well, but are still investigating and working with prosecutors to bring charges.

The Halloween-morning fires were both in The Junction (WSB coverage here), in dumpsters under the Senior Center and alongside the California/Alaska building that houses businesses including Easy Street Records and Twilight Gallery. The October 12th fires were in High Point; the one on surveillance video was at the bus stop on the south side of SW Morgan just east of 35th SW:

(October 12th surveillance video showing fire being set at Morgan/35th bus stop)
10:20 AM: We have an update from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office: The suspect will have a bail hearing today, after all. Documentation from that hearing should provide even more information about why police arrested him.

BACKSTORY: Here’s how this has all unfolded over the past three weeks (keep in mind, the October 12th fires weren’t brought up until days later), with links to our coverage:

October 18: Early-morning arson damages two cars in Sylvan Ridge area east of High Point
October 19: Early-morning arson damages High Point management building at 35th/Holly; flareup in the afternoon does even more damage
October 20: SW Precinct Capt. Pierre Davis tells the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council that police also are looking at October 12th bus stop, trash can fires as possibly related arsons
October 21: Not far from the 10/12 arsons, recycling bin set afire outside 40th/Morgan house
October 22: Police go public with surveillance video of person starting 10/12 bus-stop fire
October 31, early morning: Firefighters put out two dumpster fires in The Junction
October 31, afternoon: Police release surveillance photos they believe show the suspect in the Junction arsons

2:37 PM UPDATE: We’re at the jailhouse courtroom downtown, where the suspect waived his right to appear. Prosecutors requested $150,000 bail; Judge Anne Harper doubled that to $300,000, citing danger to the community. The probable cause documents are reported to say the suspect said he set fires because he “wanted help.” We’ll write a separate update when documentation is available later.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Street-robbery reader report

November 5, 2015 at 6:45 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 41 Comments

According to Seattle Police‘s Tweets by Beat, there was a strong-arm robbery at California/Spokane this afternoon. Before we even saw that tweet, we received this report from a reader who reports witnessing it:

I witnessed this robbery/attack and feel compelled to write you. I am an eight-year West Seattle resident, but was appalled and shaken by seeing this event and how people behaved. I did not see the start of the robbery but here is what I did see:

As I came jogging down the block, I saw a loose circle of young people (roughly 10-14 year olds?) watching two guys kicking and beating each other on the sidewalk in front of the Westside Presbyterian Church. A metro bus was parked there with its doors open and it looked like the two guys had come from there. Initially I thought it was two teen boys so I ran towards them screaming at them to stop fighting. The two adult men broke apart and the victim started yelling that he was being robbed, please someone call the police and that the other guy had his Orca card… The victim seemed to be in shock and he just kept yelling for help, then sort of halfheartedly ran after the attacker how took off around the corner. The metro bus just closed its doors and drove off.

It’s bad enough seeing this in broad daylight in my beloved neighborhood. But observing the non-reaction around me was even more disturbing. I am a 5’3″ woman – so no help in a fight, and I didn’t have my own phone on hand because I was jogging. But no other adult did anything. No one came out from the church until the event was well and truly over. Nobody driving by, or nearby construction workers paid any attention. The kids did not even get out of the way of these two adult, and potentially dangerous, men fighting. I asked not one, but two separate kids to call 911. That’s when the kids got bored and started to leave. And I’m sorry to say that every one of those kids had their cell phones IN THEIR HANDS the whole time and looked like they were texting and taking pictures: Not calling the police, not running into the church for help, not even leaving the scene for their own safety.

I’m sorry I couldn’t be more help, but I’m even more sorry that we’ve become such a frightened and careless culture that people who could have helped didn’t. And shame on those kids for treating it like entertainment – they should have at least had the good sense to get far away from such an explosive situation.

We won’t be able to get the police report any sooner than tomorrow, so we don’t know the status of the investigation, including whether anyone was arrested and how the victim is doing.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Stolen car to watch for

November 5, 2015 at 10:30 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

From LB: “Woke up this morning to find that my 1997 Honda Accord (4-door green sedan, plate 604HOI) was stolen from the parking lot at Shoremont Apartments on Alki, in the alley off 57th and Alki Avenue. SPD case number 15-387134.” Call 911 if you see it (or any stolen vehicle). P.S. If you missed it late last night, check our last WSCW roundup for stolen/found items you might see or have seen.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Search for possible Puget Ridge burglar

November 4, 2015 at 11:55 pm | In Crime, Helicopter, Puget Ridge, West Seattle news | Comments Off

11:55 PM: Police are searching in and around the 5400 block of 17th SW after a report of a possible in-progress burglary. We’re hearing that the Guardian One helicopter is either in the area or on the way – so if you hear a helicopter, this is what it’s about.

12:24 AM: No word of how this resolved; we’ll check later this morning.

West Seattle Crime Watch: More stolen-and-found reader reports, plus hit-run search

November 4, 2015 at 10:27 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports center on car prowls again tonight – thanks in advance to everyone helping reunite theft victims with their stolen stuff:


This morning my car was prowled on on the 8000 block of 17th Ave SW. A couple of binders were stolen that are very valuable to me (they are records of my training at Vashon Island Fire and Rescue), but were probably of no value to the thieves. I suspect that the binders ended up in someone’s yard, on the street or in the trash. They are two white binders, one filled with laminated maps of Vashon Island, the other full of training documents. Again, this happened near the corner of 17th Ave SW and SW Trenton Ave. Any help is much appreciated!

Yes, stolen items DO get found. WSB readers have proven that time and again. Most recent case:

FOLLOWUP: On Monday, we published Robert‘s report of a car prowl. He found some of his belongings. Then another key item turned up, found by GRG, who posted a comment after a theft at his residence led to the discovery of others’ stolen property. Robert now has that suitcase back – empty, though, so his teaching materials are out there somewhere, still. He also recovered an umbrella he hadn’t realized was missing.

Not far from where that all unfolded …

MORE FOUND ITEMS: John writes:

One of my neighbors found some things (including glasses) on Monday that had been tossed in her yard; another neighbor helped her out and is holding on to the items for safekeeping; spoke with him today and took the attached photo found in the vicinity of 37th Avenue SW and Thistle:

Also, I just recently got back from walking a dog and during the walk found something thrown onto an area beside sidewalk; seen (and left) on Monroe about halfway between 37th Avenue SW and 38th Avenue SW. Not exactly sure what it is; perhaps some sort of netting attached to something and inside a cover of some sort. Here is a photo:

Please comment if anything shown above looks familiar. Two more car-break-in reports:

ALKI BREAK-IN: From Desiree:

Just a note to let you know that someone smashed the sunroof of our Volvo that was parked out on the street last night. We never leave anything at all in the car for this very reason – so it may have been vandalism versus a break in. We live close to 61st and Alki.

MORGAN CAR BREAK-IN: An anonymous reader report: “Just wanted to make the community aware that our car was prowled sometime between Halloween night and (Monday evening). Glove compartment and center console were rifled through, and electronics and cords taken. There appeared to be no forced entry. Neighbors on our block had similar incidents take place last week. Again, no forced entry. I’ve filed an electronic police report. We live on Willow between California and Fauntleroy.”

And finally, a hit-run victim looking for witnesses:

HIT-RUN DRIVER DAMAGES PARKED CAR: From Aiden, who says this happened at 49th and Waite:

My parked car was hit last night, a hit and run. No injuries. Our neighbor heard someone hit the car at 10:41 last night. He said they heard one of those really loud cars with the loud mufflers drive down the street rev their engine hit something then speed off. From a piece of this car left behind, the car that hit and run was a Dodge.

If you have any information, you can report to police and cite the incident number 15-385904

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