West Seattle Crime Watch: Package theft on video; illegal dumping; car prowl…

April 17, 2014 at 11:02 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 30 Comments

Four reader reports to share today, starting with a package theft caught on video:

Pam says the video shows her Netflix Amazon package being lifted Wednesday afternoon near 12th and Barton – and right before the person comes fully into view, they took mail out of her mailbox. Recognize the person in the video? (Added: Here’s a frame grab.) Let police know.

Ahead, three more reports – a car prowl, illegal dumping, and suspicious nail-scattering:

Click to read the rest of West Seattle Crime Watch: Package theft on video; illegal dumping; car prowl……

West Seattle Crime Prevention Council, report #1: Trends, updates

April 15, 2014 at 10:30 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 6 Comments

(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
First of two reports from tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting: The Southwest Precinct’s second-in-command, Operations Lt. Ron Smith, had a long list of quick updates on crime trends and individual situations. Top of the list, the investigation of the death discovered at the scene of this morning’s 24th SW fire, barely a block southwest of the precinct. We had asked Lt. Smith about it before the meeting began, and he mentioned that in addition to SPD joining the investigation by mid-morning (photo above), ATF arson investigators checked out the scene a few hours later. Still no official word on what if anything they found in what Lt. Smith called a “full-blown investigation” – only that it’s “somewhat suspicious … it might not be (a crime) but … we’re at a very preliminary part of the investigation.” The victim has not been identified, nor has her cause of death been announced.

Other case updates/mentions and trends:

Click to read the rest of West Seattle Crime Prevention Council, report #1: Trends, updates…

West Seattle Crime Watch: Tonight’s your chance to talk with police; plus, two reader reports

April 15, 2014 at 11:56 am | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 3 Comments

Three West Seattle Crime Watch notes for you: First, we start with the one that is more often the side note – the WS Crime Prevention Council meeting. Since it’s TONIGHT, here’s your last reminder about this monthly chance to bring a concern directly to police. The meeting usually begins with their update on local crime trends, and quickly moves to an invitation for anyone to ask a question or air a concern. After that – and there’s usually plenty of time – it’s the featured guest speaker(s), this time from the Seattle Police Crisis Intervention Unit. Meeting’s at 7 pm, Southwest Precinct; enter from the parking lot along SW Webster west of Delridge [map].

Ahead, two reader reports – break-ins and a hit-and-run:

Click to read the rest of West Seattle Crime Watch: Tonight’s your chance to talk with police; plus, two reader reports…

Bringing a killer to justice: Stephen Jeffries, Jr.’s family plans reward fundraiser, vigil

April 14, 2014 at 2:13 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

(Stephen Jeffries, Jr. and children)
A new effort is under way to try to solve one of West Seattle’s unsolved murders. 40-year-old Stephen Jeffries, Jr., a father of four and 20-year Seattle Public Utilities employee, died after someone shot him at a New Year’s Eve party in South Delridge. We just received this announcement of two events ahead:

The family will be holding a fundraiser to raise money for a reward toward finding his killer. This will take place April 26th, 10 am – 1 pm at the Puerto Vallarta in West Seattle Junction on California Avenue. The family will also have a candlelight vigil May 1st, which will be four months to the date of Stephen Jeffries, Jr.’s murder with no arrest. It will be held directly across the street from 9215 16th Ave SW, at 7:30 pm- 8:30 pm.

If you have any information, the Seattle Police Homicide Tipline is the number to call – even if anonymously – 206-233-5000.

(Mr. Jeffries was one of two West Seattle murder victims last year, both killed in December; a suspect was arrested and charged last month in the other case, that of 46-year-old Nga Nguyen.)

West Seattle Crime Watch followup: Guilty plea for driver who deliberately hit two teens after dog dispute

April 14, 2014 at 9:22 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 33 Comments

(WSB photo from the aftermath of the incident in November 2012)
Another West Seattle criminal case of note has ended in a plea bargain. Checking the cases on our watch list, we just discovered that 38-year-old Amy Lynn O’Brien has pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and hit-and-run. She’s the woman arrested in November 2012 for deliberately driving her car into two Chief Sealth International High School students across the street from the school. According to charging documents, O’Brien was upset about the 17- and 18-year-old girls’ interaction with her unleashed dog, and came after them with a taser and then her car, hitting them while driving at an estimated 40 mph. Both were badly hurt; one girl’s ear was nearly severed. O’Brien turned herself in the next day and spent about a week in jail before being released on personal recognizance. Court documents related to the plea bargain say a six-month sentence will be recommended when she is sentenced May 30th.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Two theft reports – car, package

April 12, 2014 at 5:58 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 6 Comments

Two West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports – first, a stolen car:

The photo and report were texted (206-293-6302 any time); the car is described as a 1997 Honda EK Civic hatchback stolen last night from the owner’s home near 17th and Henderson (map). It’s been reported to police, so please call 911 if you see it.

Second – Leeann reports a package theft in the 5400 block of 25th SW (map): “Just wanted to let you know that we had a package shipped to us that was tracked and shows being delivered on 4/9, but was nowhere to be found when we got home.” This too has been reported to police.

P.S. Next Tuesday is the monthly West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting; if you have a neighborhood crime/safety concern, come and bring it to the attention of precinct management. 7 pm at the Southwest Precinct (Delridge/Webster; map), also featuring, after crime-trend updates and neighborhood-concern comment time, a presentation about the SPD Crisis Intervention Team.

West Seattle Crime Watch update: Business burglarized, 1 arrested

April 12, 2014 at 1:20 am | In Crime, Fauntleroy, West Seattle news | 11 Comments

SATURDAY, 1:20 AM: Happening now in east Fauntleroy, information via scanner: Police are searching for one or more people who broke into Super Deli Mart at 35th/Barton a short time ago. Someone called 911 to say they thought they saw intruders stealing merchandise; police arrived moments later and reported a smashed window, with a cash register believed to be missing as well. Possible suspect description: White male, 30s, blue jacket, blue jeans.

SUNDAY, 11:39 AM: We asked SPD media relations if there had indeed been an arrest. And yes, there was – they’ve just posted a short note on SPD Blotter; the K-9 team found the 23-year-old suspect in the 9200 block of 35th SW.

West Seattle Crime Watch followup: Restaurateur Eduardo Morales-Cardenas sentenced for buying stolen liquor; co-defendant Eric Olson also sentenced

April 11, 2014 at 3:05 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 16 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

At the King County Courthouse this afternoon, Puerto Vallarta restaurant owner Eduardo Morales-Cardenas was sentenced to just under one year with electronic home monitoring, plus community service, for buying stolen liquor.

One of his four co-defendants, Eric Olson, was sentenced immediately afterward. We recorded video of both hearings; and are uploading it now. (added 4:31 pm) here’s the first clip we have available, picking up after the prosecution recapped the case:

First, the proceedings involving Morales-Cardenas. As reported here two weeks ago, he pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree trafficking in stolen property and one count of attempted trafficking in stolen property. The case first came to light last September, when he was arrested and his Junction restaurant and home searched in connection with an investigation of what authorities said was a liquor-theft ring mostly targeting supermarkets. Court documents indicated that alleged stolen property was confiscated; charges were filed in November.

Presiding at the sentencing was King County Superior Court Judge Carol Schapira. Prosecutor Susan Storey called the sentencing recommendation “a very good result”; she explained that “a significant quantity of liquor … and cash” was seized in the search of Morales-Cardenas’s properties, and that $15,000 cash would be kept and turned over to theft victims as restitution.

Morales-Cardenas spoke to the judge and said he apologized, and that he has been working for the community in West Seattle for 22 years. He said he is alcohol and drug free and that he likes to keep a liquor collection in his house and he was sorry it’s been seized. He said that he was trying to help Michael Jensen, one of the other co-defendants, go straight. He said some of what was found in his garage was there because he was helping Jensen. He said he “made a couple mistakes … I’m sorry … I’m not a ringleader for (liquor thefts) …” He also told the judge he was upset with WSB for reporting on his arrest and prosecution, and alleged that we had not taken his calls, and that our reporting of the story had harmed his business.

(For the record, we have no record of him calling us; the only communication we received was from a person who called and e-mailed us a few weeks ago, saying he was a friend of Morales-Cardenas, who, he said, would be interested in talking with us if we wanted to talk to him. We replied to the friend that Morales-Cardenas was welcome to contact us via the same e-mail address the friend had used; we never received a reply nor any communication from him. We repeat what we told the friend – he is welcome to contact us, editor@westseattleblog.com or 206-293-6302, the same communication channels to which we reply around the clock, 7 days a week. Or if he wishes to send a statement for publication, he is welcome to do that too.)

Before he spoke, Morales-Cardenas’s lawyer said that his client “is sorry (and) has suffered financially. … he understands the harm that has resulted from this, to the victims and the people around him … (it’s) threatened his business and his employees … it’s an aberration in what has otherwise been a very positive life.” He said Morales-Cardenas, who has no prior criminal record, already has done 50 hours of community service, including work at the Senior Center of West Seattle and is looking forward to helping out there more.

Those speaking to the court also included King County Sheriff’s Office Deputy B.J. Myers, lead investigator who “sunk his teeth into the case, he did a phenomenal job,” despite not being a detective, Storey told the judge. Myers said he got involved in the case because of the “effect … (the liquor thefts were) having in the White Center neighborhood … the crimes fueled (other defendants’) drug habit,” leading to thefts and disorderly conduct by others. “So I recognized that these suspects were affecting the peace of White Center and that building this case was going to make a difference. … The defendant (Morales-Cardenas) was the one who was purchasing the stolen liquor from these thieves … in effect incentivizing the effect these thieves were having on the White Center neighborhood. … Even though this is a different kind of case for a community police officer to (become involved in), we’ve seen it have an effect on the neighborhood.” Also speaking, a risk manager from Safeway, one of the chains targeted by the thieves from whom prosecutors say Morales-Cardenas bought stolen liquor.

Following Morales-Cardenas’s sentencing, another defendant in the case, Eric Olson, was sentenced for pleading guilty to organized retail theft; he had been charged with stealing liquor from stores including Safeway, QFC, and Costco.

He told Judge Schapira he was “ashamed” of what he had done. She sentenced him to 41 months – just under 3 1/2 years – in prison, and restitution to be determined later.

As for the three other people charged in the case:

As we reported last month, Amber Vincent pleaded guilty in February to organized retail theft and trafficking in stolen property, and was sentenced to three months of work release; Shaye Glenn-Nitschke also pleaded guilty in February, to one charge, and was released from jail because he’d served more time than he had been sentenced to. A fourth defendant, Michael Jensen, has pleaded guilty to multiple charges and will be sentenced one week from today; he has a lengthy record and a 7 1/2-year sentence is recommended.

Update: Helicopter assists with search in South Delridge

April 11, 2014 at 1:21 am | In Crime, Helicopter, West Seattle news | 26 Comments

1:21 AM: If you’re hearing a helicopter – Guardian One is helping with a police search in the 17th/18th/Henderson vicinity. Police were called by someone who heard glass break at a neighbor’s house. At least one suspect is reported to be on the run. More to come.

1:26 AM UPDATE: And it sounds like the search has ended, successfully.

1:40 AM: From Guardian One via Twitter:

FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: Guardian One’s video/audio (including dispatchers and officers) has been made public, and we’ve obtained more information about what happened. Here’s the followup story.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Have you seen Ellen’s bike? Also: Car theft tonight

April 9, 2014 at 8:04 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

8:04 PM: Ellen‘s 2004 Trek 520 touring bike was stolen at 35th and Graham last weekend, and she’s offering a reward for its return.

· Dark green frame.
· Black fenders.
· Black back rack.
· Red bell.
· Right shifter bent.
· Pedals flat on one side/clips on other.
· Hand-built wheels.
· Three water bottle cages.
· Italian flag & $0.00 yellow stickers on back.
· Sentimental value.

40,000 miles ridden.

Please contact 206.297.1114 or 425.503.3262 – ellenellenwatermelon@yahoo.com

Or police.

ADDED 9:16 PM: We’ve just received a text about a white 1991 Honda Accord stolen a short time ago in Highland Park.

Awaiting a little more information – but in the meantime, if you see it, please call 911.

ADDED 10:41 PM: The car’s owner says the theft happened near 11th and Holden.

ADDED THURSDAY AFTERNOON: The car’s been found (outside WS) – but “trashed,” the owner reports.

West Seattle Crime Watch followup: Rider-thwarted RapidRide robber Trevonnte Brown pleads guilty

April 9, 2014 at 4:47 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 46 Comments

(11/25/2013 photo by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand)
4:47 PM: Another high-profile Morgan Junction crime case has a major development today: 19-year-old Trevonnte Brown has pleaded guilty as charged to robbery and attempted robbery, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. He’s the Beacon Hill man arrested last November after passengers stopped his robbery rampage aboard a RapidRide bus near California/Graham; their takedown of the robber was seen in video made public weeks later. Brown’s plea also included an earlier bus-robbery incident. Prosecutors will recommend a top-of-the-range sentence, 13 1/2 years, when Brown is sentenced on May 30th.

ADDED WEDNESDAY EVENING: We’ve downloaded the court documents for more details on the plea agreement. The recommended sentence consists of 8 1/2 years plus the five-year “enhancement” for his use of a gun. In addition, though prosecutors point out he is pleading guilty as charged, the documents note that they have agreed not to charge him in additional incidents in which he was suspected.

Morgan Junction shooting trial verdict: Jury finds Lovett ‘Cid’ Chambers guilty of manslaughter

April 8, 2014 at 4:22 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 67 Comments

(Defense lawyer Ben Goldsmith, left, with the defendant, after the verdict was read. Photo by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
4:22 PM: After three days of deliberations, the jury has just announced its verdict in the three-month-long trial of Lovett “Cid” Chambers:

Guilty of first-degree manslaughter. (He was charged with second-degree murder but the jury could not agree on that charge, according to what was read in court.)

Chambers was on trial for the January 21, 2012, shooting death of 35-year-old Travis Hood by Morgan Junction Park. He acknowledged all along that he had fired the fatal shots, but in more than six weeks of testimony, two very different stories were presented. (WSB has been the only news organization in the courtroom, covering the case, and our 20+ reports are linked here.) In the courtroom for the verdict announcement: Family and friends on both sides, and three of the four lawyers who argued the case – defenders Ben Goldsmith and Lauren McLane; prosecutor Maggie Nave. Judge Catherine Shaffer received the verdict; Judge Theresa Doyle, who presided over the trial dating back to a month and a half of motions starting in early January, was out today.

4:28 PM: The jury has just left the room. One juror was crying. In addition to manslaughter, the crime was found to have been committed with a deadly weapon – a gun, which adds time to the sentence. No date was announced for sentencing. (We should also point out that the jurors basically had three options besides “not guilty” – murder, manslaughter, or assault.)

Second day of deliberations over, no verdict in Chambers trial

April 7, 2014 at 4:20 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 7 Comments

Quick update: We’re just about to leave the King County Courthouse after a second day of awaiting a verdict in the murder trial of Lovett “Cid” Chambers. The jury has gone home after deliberating all day Friday and all day today, and is due back at 9 am.

Jury deliberations resume tomorrow morning in Morgan Junction murder trial

April 6, 2014 at 10:00 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 11 Comments

gavel.jpgTomorrow morning, the jurors in the trial of Lovett “Cid” Chambers will resume their deliberations – to decide whether he’s guilty of second-degree murder as charged, manslaughter, or assault – any of which would require a unanimous verdict – or not guilty of anything at all, for shooting Travis Hood by Morgan Junction Park on January 21, 2012. After listening to testimony for six weeks, jurors met for one full day Friday before going home for the weekend; King County Superior Court Judge Theresa B. Doyle officially turned the case over to them at the end of the day Thursday, but there was no time to deliberate before court went into recess for the end of the day. Our final report on courtroom presentations is here, and it includes links to our 22 previous detailed reports on what happened each day in court.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Break-in followed by kindness; theft updates; more

April 5, 2014 at 7:53 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 37 Comments

The most recent West Seattle Crime Watch reports that community members wanted to get the word out about:

CAR BREAK-IN: Another car prowl at Lincoln Park – but it was followed by a gesture of kindness. From Rebecca:

I know that this is pretty routine, but I had my blue Nissan Versa broken into (Friday) morning between 10:30 and 11:30 in the south parking lot of Lincoln Park. My front passenger-side window was smashed and my purse was stolen. I had shoved my purse under the passenger seat but they must have spotted it. It is a light tan and black Nine West “mom” purse, if anyone spots it on the street.

My four-year-old son and I live in West Seattle but my mom is visiting from NY. I was trying to show her how beautiful Lincoln Park is. She was able to see how kind and sweet my neighbors are when strangers stopped and offered condolences. One little girl even urged her mom to give us ten dollars. My son is going to use it to buy a toy.

(Thanks also to Kurt for a tip on this, just before we received Rebecca’s note.)

Four more reports ahead and a nearby FYI: Click to read the rest of West Seattle Crime Watch: Break-in followed by kindness; theft updates; more…

West Seattle Crime Watch: 10-year sentence for Donald Plute

April 4, 2014 at 4:19 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

We’re in King County Superior Court again this afternoon – this time in the courtroom of Judge Laura Inveen, who has just sentenced 23-year-old Donald Plute of Top Hat to a 10-year, 9-month sentence. Plute pleaded guilty in February to charges stemming from a morning-long rampage last August – he stole a vehicle on Alki, then reverse-rammed it into a pursuing vehicle containing its owner, and later reverse-rammed a police car trying to pull him over in Morgan Junction. He subsequently sped off into Gatewood, abandoned the vehicle and ran. This is a “huge sentence,” as Judge Inveen put it, compared to what he had been given for so many crimes before. The only person in the courtroom besides your WSB team, the lawyers, and the judge, was Plute’s father, who spoke briefly, as did Plute. More details in a bit – we’re off to breaking news. (Courthouse-hallway photo taken today by Katie Meyer for WSB)

ADDED 5:40 PM: Deputy prosecuting attorney Alex Voorhees described Plute’s spree as “a really dangerous situation for almost the entire neighborhood of West Seattle,” considering not only the vehicles he rammed but also pedestrians and others along the roads across the peninsula he used between stealing and running.”

Representing Plute, defense attorney Eric Spencer said Plute “acknowledges he has a very serious problem with substance abuse and needs some time off the streets in order to (address it) … he does understand the gravity of what he’s done and how much more serious it could have been.”

Plute’s father spoke, saying he would rather see his son get treatment than a long prison sentence, and saying Plute’s mother had just gone through two surgical procedures and he just hopes she’s still alive when he gets out.

“You’re familiar with your son’s criminal history?” asked Judge Inveen.

“I know he’s got a lot of points but … last time he was (in) he got degrees in welding and fiber-optics but (after getting out) he got back into drugs and alcohol.”

The judge noted that Plute had been given a chance with DOSA, Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative – less prison time if you go through treatment and stay clean – in 2010.

Plute spoke on his own behalf for a moment or two, too quietly for us to hear from the gallery. The judge said his record appeared to have something similar, including eluding, in 2008. She pointed out that the sentencing before his had been in a wrenching case involving a hit-run death and a drug-addicted suspect – “she’s going to prison and has nowhere near the background you do.” Judge Inveen continued, “I see a lot of people with drug problems. It’s a terrible thing, it’s a disease, but it’s not an excuse for stealing cars and doing the stuff you did. … You’ve been given opportunities … this is a huge sentence, (but) it’s the low end of the range. I don’t have the discretion to go lower than that. Under these circumstances, I hope you will grow up, and do some good things.”

With that, she decreed the recommended 129-month sentence (counting other sentences running concurrently – he had pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery, two counts of second-degree assault, and attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle), with credit for the 7 months he has been in jail so far, plus restitution to be finalized later (the judge noted he already has some piled up from earlier cases on his record, which stretches back to age 15), and 18 months of community custody (probation) when he gets out.

What the jury heard just before deliberations began in the Morgan Junction murder trial

April 4, 2014 at 12:21 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 25 Comments

(FRIDAY EVENING NOTE: The jury has gone home for the weekend, no verdict yet; back Monday)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“OK, jurors, I am going to pass the case to you.”

With those words from King County Superior Court Judge Theresa B. Doyle, the matter of whether Lovett “Cid” Chambers did or did not commit a crime went into the hands of 12 women and men.

Their actual deliberations did not start until this morning, since they did not receive the case until Thursday’s court session was almost over. The rest of the day had been taken up with closing arguments by prosecutor Maggie Nave and defense attorney Ben Goldsmith, after a tense disagreement over the objections he had started to raise toward the end of Wednesday.

Click to read the rest of What the jury heard just before deliberations began in the Morgan Junction murder trial…

Morgan Junction murder trial now in the hands of the jury

April 3, 2014 at 3:55 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 7 Comments

The jury in the trial of Lovett “Cid” Chambers, the Gatewood man charged with second-degree murder for shooting and killing Travis Hood by Morgan Junction Park in January 2012, has just begun its deliberations. Closing arguments ended at 3:45; we will have a full report on that part of this day later tonight or early tomorrow. Testimony lasted more than six weeks; the lawyers and Judge Theresa B. Doyle had spent about six weeks in motion hearings before that, working on details to shape what could be presented to the jury and what could not.

‘Your job is to decide what the facts are’: Jury now hearing closing arguments in Lovett Chambers trial

April 3, 2014 at 6:34 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 9 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

They have heard their instructions. This morning, they will continue listening to closing arguments. And then, the jury in the trial of 69-year-old Lovett “Cid” Chambers, who shot and killed 35-year-old Travis Hood by Morgan Junction Park the night of January 21, 2012, will discuss and decide what they believe to be the truth – was it or was it not a crime?

Wednesday morning’s proceedings were devoted entirely to the lawyers on both sides – defenders Ben Goldsmith and Lauren McLane, prosecutors Maggie Nave and Mari Isaacson – finalizing the instructions that King County Superior Court Judge Theresa B. Doyle read to the jury in the afternoon.

The gallery in Judge Doyle’s courtroom on the eighth floor of the courthouse was close to capacity – around 30 people, including family/friends from both sides.

Click to read the rest of ‘Your job is to decide what the facts are’: Jury now hearing closing arguments in Lovett Chambers trial…

Closing arguments continue tomorrow at Morgan Junction murder trial

April 2, 2014 at 4:06 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 6 Comments

gavel.jpgUpdate from the King County Courthouse downtown: The murder trial of Lovett “Cid” Chambers in the January 2012 shooting death of Travis Hood has just recessed for the day. The gallery was full, including family/friends from both sides, as closing arguments began this afternoon; prosecutor Maggie Nave got about 40 minutes into hers – the judge allotted each side up to 2 hours – before a defense objection led to the jury leaving the room, and an eventual decision to conclude proceedings for the day. Nave – who declared early in her argument, “This case can be summed up in one sentence: This is a case about a drunk guy with a gun” – will resume her presentation around 9 am. The defense will follow, and then the case is in the jury’s hands. The trial has not been in session on Fridays, when trial judges handle other matters such as sentencing hearings, but the jury will deliberate this Friday if needed. Our full report on this afternoon’s session – the morning was devoted to working out details of the jury instructions – will be up later; our report on Tuesday’s proceedings, which includes links to our previous six weeks of stories, is here.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Kayaks stolen; mailbox tampering

April 2, 2014 at 11:33 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 6 Comments

Two reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch this morning:

KAYAKS STOLEN: Have you seen either of those kayaks? Diane says they have been stolen from the 9200 block of Fauntleroy Way SW (map) in the past few days; one has a rudder, the other does not. If you have any information, please contact police – the theft has been reported.

MAILBOX TAMPERING: This happened over the weekend in the 7700 block of 11th SW (map):

I just wanted to put the word out someone was trying to open up our locked mailbox … I noticed it was like someone was trying to force it open when I checked it on Sat. around 5 pm. It made me wonder why it seemed not closed all the way. Then today, Sunday, my son told me someone tried to mess with it when he came home after 6 pm. I went outside and checked it, and clearly, it got a lot looser than the day before, the left corner of the inner locked lid was quite noticeably bent. It wasn’t big enough opening for a hand to reach mail inside. Still, it is very disturbing to find someone is messing with a locked mailbox.

Neighborhood concerns? Bring them to the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council‘s next meeting, 7 pm Tuesday, April 15th, at the Southwest Precinct (Delridge/Webster) meeting room, also including guests from the SPD Crisis Intervention Team.

Morgan Junction murder trial: Defense rests its case

April 1, 2014 at 3:48 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 18 Comments

gavel.jpg3:48 PM: We promised an update if there were major developments in the Morgan Junction murder trial – and here’s one: After both sides concluded their questioning of defendant Lovett “Cid” Chambers, the defense rested its case at 3:30 this afternoon. That means both sides have now presented their versions of what happened the night Chambers shot and killed Travis Hood on January 21, 2012; the prosecution has declined the opportunity to present rebuttal evidence; so jury instructions will be prepared and presented, and lawyers for both sides will deliver their closing arguments. We’ve just had an indication there are some significant issues to debate regarding the jury instructions, so we can’t say for sure whether the closing arguments will happen tomorrow.

The trial began in early January with two months of motions and arguments involving just the lawyers and the judge, before the jury was chosen in mid-February and began hearing testimony after opening statements on February 19th. All our reports are linked in our most recent full-length update; our next one, covering today, will be published sometime late tonight/early tomorrow.

4:23 PM: Just worked out in a court session with the lawyers and Judge Theresa B. Doyle – the jury will come in at 11 tomorrow, so their instructions won’t be presented any earlier than that. Judge Doyle granted each side 2 hours for closing arguments, and there was general agreement those were highly unlikely to start before court resumes after lunch (1:30 pm), which in turn means that jury deliberations won’t begin any sooner than sometime Thursday.

WEDNESDAY MORNING NOTE: The next long-form story is running late but will be up before today’s proceedings begin, barring major breaking news.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Two street robberies last night

April 1, 2014 at 10:49 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 98 Comments

10:49 AM: Police are investigating two reported street robberies reported in West Seattle last night, believed to be related. We have heard from the victim in one that happened in The Junction – he wants to be anonymous, but wrote:

I just wanted to let readers be aware that last night, at approximately 9:00 pm, I was assaulted and robbed. There was a group of teen/young adult men waiting at the (C Line, Alaska west of California) bus stop. They followed me down a few blocks [to 46th/Alaska] and once I was alone, they rushed me, punched me several times, and grabbed at my (Timbuk3 custom messenger) bag. Once they had the bag they ran off.

In retrospect, the group seemed very suspicious from the start, like they were just looking for targets. There were about 7-10 people in the group, and they split up so they could attack me from several sides at once. I just wanted the people of West Seattle to remember to stay aware of their environment and to be safe.

The victim had told us that police mentioned another street robbery last night in the Westwood Village area. So we asked Seattle Police about that. Det. Mark Jamieson said that one was reported around 11:30 pm near the Westwood QFC and led to police contacting a “group of possible suspects” and arresting one for robbery. He says the victim told police “a group of 6-8 males and females had approached him, asked what time it was, and then assaulted him and took his cell phone. Seattle Fire also responded to treat the victim’s cuts and abrasions. The injuries did not require any further medical treatment. The victim told officers that the suspects then fled. While officers were interviewing the victim, other officers located four suspects at 35th Avenue SW and SW Roxbury Street. The victim was able to positively idenitify one of the adult males in the group, as well as a juvenile female as being involved in his attack and robbery. Both suspects were arrested and taken to the precinct. … During the investigation, officers recovered items such as credit and debit cards near the scene of the robbery.” Those cards were linked to the Junction robbery, he says, adding that the juvenile female was questioned and then released to her family. The victim in the earlier robbery, by the way, said he didn’t need medical attention, but he’s bruised.

12:20 PM: A post about the robberies on SPD Blotter also mentions a third possible case the night before.

‘Why did you shoot him?’ Morgan Junction murder-trial jury hears defendant Lovett ‘Cid’ Chambers answer that question, and more

April 1, 2014 at 6:28 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“The defense calls Lovett Chambers.”

After those words from attorney Ben Goldsmith, the highest-stakes witness of the 3-month-old murder trial – the defendant himself – crossed the courtroom Monday afternoon to testify.

The day’s other major witness was his wife Sara Chambers, who was on the stand all morning and at the start of the afternoon. But she wasn’t there when he fired the fatal shots at Travis Hood on January 21, 2012, so all she could provide was context and aftermath.

Goldsmith asked outright and immediately: “Why did you shoot him?”

“To save my life,” Chambers replied.

After that zero-to-sixty opening, Goldsmith backtracked to lead Chambers through the background of his Seattle life. He met his wife at Pike Place Market (where, she testified earlier, she has sold jewelry for more than 30 years). Shortly thereafter, he started his own construction company, and was licensed in Washington and Oregon. But while en route to a bid opening for an Oregon project, he said, he was hit by a truck, breaking his back, leading to two surgeries. He decided to switch businesses and went back to school for computer-related degrees from local colleges.

They moved to West Seattle from Leschi in 1993, after buying their house (built in the 1940s, Sara Chambers had testified earlier). Chambers explained that one of its attractions was that it “sits on a one-block street, not much traffic.”

Asked about the day of the shooting, his home office is where his story began. He had been on a conference call that went so well, he was “elated” afterward: “I was happy because I got this contract … that was going to go on for possibly a couple years so we’d be ensured income.” He called his wife to tell her.

Click to read the rest of ‘Why did you shoot him?’ Morgan Junction murder-trial jury hears defendant Lovett ‘Cid’ Chambers answer that question, and more…

Morgan Junction murder trial update: Defendant Lovett Chambers testifies

March 31, 2014 at 12:41 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 15 Comments

12:41 PM: Quick update for those following our coverage of the King County Superior Court trial of Lovett “Cid” Chambers, charged with second-degree murder for the fatal shooting of Travis Hood by Morgan Junction Park in January 2012: Proceedings did indeed resume today, after an extra day off because of ailing attorneys; the last previous session was Wednesday (here’s our report, which includes links to all our previous coverage).

Today, the defendant’s wife Sara Chambers is testifying for the defense, which has concluded its primary questioning of her. She testified that she was at home watching a movie when he came in after the shooting and that he said nothing about it before pouring a glass of wine and sitting down in the living room with her; police showed up within an hour. We’ll have a full report on today’s proceedings late tonight; the defense might rest its case before the week is out. The trial started in early January, with six weeks of motion hearings before the jury was seated to hear testimony starting February 19th; WSB is the only news organization in court to cover it.

2:16 PM: Now the defendant is on the stand. He acknowledges he fired the fatal shots the night of January 21, 2012, and says he did it “to save my life.”

TUESDAY MORNING NOTE: Monday’s full report is here.

How to get your stolen stuff back? West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network hears from SPD specialist

March 30, 2014 at 9:31 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 2 Comments

If burglars/thieves get away with something that belongs to you, how do you get it back, and what can you do in advance to increase the chances your property can/will be recovered? An expert on that topic spoke to the West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network this week – Detective Everett Edwards from the Seattle Police Special Investigations Section’s Pawn/Property Recovery Unit. He works with pawn shops, used-goods stores, and metal recyclers, seeking to recover stolen items.

Some basics you should know:

Click to read the rest of How to get your stolen stuff back? West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network hears from SPD specialist…

West Seattle Crime Watch: Have you seen this van?

March 29, 2014 at 9:46 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | No Comments

If you spot the van stolen from Danielle‘s home, please call 911:

My husband’s work van was stolen from in front of our house (in the 9400 block of 8th Ave SW; map) this morning sometime between 3AM-545AM. It is a 2013 Full Size White Ford E150 with a ladder rack on top. Logo on the side in black/red/blue font reads “Comfort Systems USA.” Underneath in smaller print it says “Merit Mechanical”. Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. A report has been filed with the police department as well. The is the second time one of these vans has been taken from our home.

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