West Seattle Blog... » Crime http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Wed, 28 Jan 2015 03:11:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Return of the pilfered pig! Endolyne Joe’s gets Danny back – one year later http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/return-of-the-pilfered-pig-endolyne-joes-gets-danny-back-one-year-later/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/return-of-the-pilfered-pig-endolyne-joes-gets-danny-back-one-year-later/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 23:15:14 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=299394

Adrian and co-workers at Endolyne Joe’s (WSB sponsor) in Fauntleroy are thrilled to have Danny the Pig back – more than a year after the two-foot-tall decorative swine was stolen. Rich at Joe’s e-mailed us to say that someone had suddenly showed up with Danny, having found the pig and known it was stolen because of the story we published in January of last year. We stopped by for a photo and talked with Adrian, who said the man who brought Danny in said only that he was a construction worker and found the popular pig near where he’s been working. He didn’t want to say where that was, nor did he want to accept a reward (not even the case of bacon originally offered). So if you’ve missed Danny, go say hi! And note that he is now secured.

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West Seattle Crime Watch: 3 reader reports, including not exactly the kind of loot a burglar can run with http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-3-reader-reports-including-not-exactly-the-kind-of-loot-a-burglar-can-run-with/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-3-reader-reports-including-not-exactly-the-kind-of-loot-a-burglar-can-run-with/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 19:29:19 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=299379 Three reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch this morning:


My garage was broken into over the weekend and a Lincoln Electric welder and cart were stolen.

Seems like a brazen thing to steal as it’s very heavy and the garage is on an alley that is pretty visible (between California and 42nd near Brandon). I reported it to police and just want this incident out there in case anyone has information.


My brand-new Ducati Monster 696 (with only 120 miles on it!) was hit (Monday morning) on California Ave SW, and the driver fled the scene. Three witnesses watched the driver hit my bike, but none were able to get the license plate.

The driver was a white woman in her mid-to-late 30s with shoulder-length or shorter blonde hair. Her vehicle is a silver Honda Pilot. She backed into my parked motorcycle, knocking it over its kickstand and onto its left side. The impact snapped off a mirror, bent the handlebars, and caused engine damage. And then she just drove away. This happened at approximately 9:15 a.m. on January 26, near 5440 California Ave SW, on the east side of the street just north of the Rapid Ride stop.

If you have any info for police, the incident number is 15-28651.

CARS VANDALIZED: John reports this happened Monday morning:

I woke up to an unpleasant sight … somebody had grabbed some large rocks from my neighbor’s front yard and completely shattered my driver-side windows of my ’04 Subaru wagon. They got both of the neighbors’ cars as well – both older Subarus. 6700 block of 39th Ave SW.

REMINDER FOR TONIGHT: As previewed earlier, Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske is expected to be at tonight’s West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network meeting – all welcome for crime/safety updates and networking to make neighborhoods safer, 6:30 pm at the precinct (Webster/Delridge).

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West Seattle Crime Watch followup: What we’ve found out about the 47th SW burglary suspects http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-followup-what-weve-found-out-about-the-47th-sw-burglary-suspects/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-followup-what-weve-found-out-about-the-47th-sw-burglary-suspects/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 20:34:29 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=299298

(Reader photo from Friday afternoon; Williams is the standing arrestee, French is on the ground)
Bail was set over the weekend for both suspects arrested after last Friday’s West Seattle break-in at a 47th SW home where a resident hid in a closet until police arrived (WSB coverage here). The suspects, both 20 years old, have warrants in other cases so we’re naming them though the charging decision in this case won’t likely be made before tomorrow: $100,000 is the bail set for James Michael French, who has a North Delridge address; $60,000 is the bail set for Donchavell Delrae Williams, who lives in Federal Way. His warrant dates back to May 2013, in an assault case for which the paperwork is not available online since it’s out of Juvenile Court; court documents say Williams had prior felony convictions for assault and taking a motor vehicle without permission.

French’s warrant is from earlier this month, involving what the state terms as “escape” from community custody, the technical term for probation, related to a conviction for a 2013 robbery in Des Moines in which he hit a gas-station clerk in the face while robbing him at gunpoint and knifepoint. French’s history, according to charging documents in that case, had by then also included an attack that inflicted rib fractures on a 58-year-old man who had just had surgery, plus other convictions including robbery, assault, harassment, and drug violations, dating as far back as 2008, when he was 14. He pleaded guilty in the 2013 case and was sentenced in May 2014 to 22 months, which would have included time he had already spent in jail by then. Both French and Williams remain in jail, according to the register, and are scheduled for another hearing tomorrow afternoon.

ADDED 1:08 PM: We’re adding state Corrections Department mugshots for both suspects (French at left, Williams at right). According to a DOC spokesperson, both were released from prison on January 5th, serving time in apparently unrelated cases.

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Junction 7-11 store robbery http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-junction-7-11-store-robbed/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-junction-7-11-store-robbed/#comments Sun, 25 Jan 2015 17:33:06 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=299212 Thanks to the person who called to say they had heard about this from an employee at the Junction 7-11 (California/Erskine). We have since obtained some information from police: They confirm the store was held up about 1:30 am Saturday. The robber was described “as a white male about 25 years of age, wearing a dark blue or black puffy coat, and had a red scarf wrapped around his face.” He showed the clerk a handgun. Police called in a K-9 to help search but they didn’t find the robber. Checking Tweets by Beat, that’s the only robbery call in the Southwest Precinct coverage area, West Seattle and South Park, so far this weekend. (Side note: If you routinely check the tweets and haven’t noticed this, each confirmed incident generates two tweets – the second one, when a report is filed, so the time will be different. The first tweet describes what was reported – so the second one might classify the incident differently, depending on what’s confirmed. The telltale sign that two or more tweets are about the same case is the incident # in the tweet.)

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UPDATE: Police arrest 2 after in-progress burglary west of Junction http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/police-arrest-2-after-in-progress-burglary-reported-west-of-junction/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/police-arrest-2-after-in-progress-burglary-reported-west-of-junction/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 00:12:23 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=299072

(WSB photo by Katie Meyer, police response north of burglary scene)
4:12 PM: Busy afternoon for police, again. And also for the tipsters who are quick to let us know when they see police cars going by with lights on – thank you. Here’s the latest: Police have taken two people into custody after an in-progress burglary was reported near 47th and Alaska, west of The Junction.

That’s all the details we have after talking to a sergeant at the scene; if we find out anything more, we’ll add it.

ADDED 4:54 PM: A reader texted the photo of the suspects being arrested outside the a nearby house. (Added: WSB photo of one suspect being walked to police vehicle:)

Scanner traffic indicated some stolen property was recovered.

ADDED 5:17 PM: And here are even more details, just published on SPD Blotter:

A woman called 911 around 3:30 P.M. when she heard the sounds of someone breaking into her home in the 4500 block of 47th Ave Southwest. The woman hid in an upstairs closet as officers arrived on scene.

Officers began searching the neighborhood and found both suspects hiding inside a shed about a block away. Police arrested both suspects and found they were carrying a backpack full of stolen property. Officers will book both 20-year-old suspects into King County Jail on investigation of burglary.

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Delridge search; twice-stolen car http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-delridge-search-twice-stolen-car/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-delridge-search-twice-stolen-car/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 21:51:39 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=299054 In West Seattle Crime Watch – a police search right now in North Delridge. According to the scanner, a 911 caller reported a man with a handgun firing one shot into the air and then heading northbound in the alley between Delridge/25th, near the library. The description that’s being broadcast is black male, 14-15, 6′, thin, dark heavy jacket, dark pants. He was said to be in the company of someone described only as a black female in a purple sweatshirt. They might also be associated with a gold or green vehicle headed southbound. No injuries reported; police are checking for property damage. If you see anyone/anything possibly related, call 911.

(ADDED 3:06 PM: We were in the area around 2:30 pm checking on the search; no lights-flashing police still at the scene but cars were visible patroling several nearby blocks.)

(back to original report) Also in Crime Watch:

TWICE-STOLEN CAR: Amanda‘s car has been stolen for the second time in less than a month, sometime between midnight and 11 this morning. Gold 1994 Honda Accord, stolen from the 900 block of SW Holden. Let police know if you find it.

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UPDATE: Police arrest suspect in Admiral robbery attempt http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/followup-police-arrest-one-suspect-so-far-in-west-seattle-street-robberies/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/followup-police-arrest-one-suspect-so-far-in-west-seattle-street-robberies/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 18:07:45 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=299010 Update this morning from Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske, in a message sent to multiple community groups:

I wanted to update you all that we made an arrest in one of the 5 robberies that occurred here in the last week. We are continuing to work the others.

We’re following up to find out more and will add here. If you’re looking for background – here’s our most recent followup, with links to our coverage of all five of the recent street robberies.

ADDED 10:41 AM: A bit more information: We’ve just confirmed which robbery the arrest was made in relation to – it’s the attempted robbery that happened Tuesday afternoon but wasn’t reported to police until Wednesday, a 13-year-old boy who was asked about his phone at Admiral Safeway and then followed across California SW, where two would-be robbers tried to take it from him. Details were in the followup mentioned above, same link.

ADDED 4:37 PM: Even more information, according to SPD: The suspect’s probation officer happened to spot him in the area and knew there was a warrant out for him, related to a theft case, and contacted police. They arrested the suspect on that and for probable cause in the Tuesday robbery attempt, and he was booked into the King County Youth Services Center, since he’s a juvenile. We will check with prosecutors next week regarding charge(s).

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West Seattle Crime Watch: 4 reader reports, and other notes http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-4-reader-reports-and-other-notes/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-4-reader-reports-and-other-notes/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 01:06:58 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298940 While we’re covering the street-robberies investigation separately (newest update here), we have reader reports on several other crimes you should know about:

OFFICE BREAK-IN: Between 7 pm last night and 10 am today, a health-care office in the 5400 block of California SW was broken into. Laptops and a filing cabinet were taken; the latter had some checks and cash, as well as client files.

CAR THEFT: Kristine in North Delridge hopes you’ll help look for her 1998 dark green Honda Civic LX (license plate AMR5059): “It was parked on the street in front of my house (2800 block of SW Nevada St.) and taken sometime between 11 pm and 7:30 am.” Call 911 if you see it.

CAR BREAK-INS: Both happened Wednesday evening. From Charise: “My black Lexus was broken into … in the rear lot behind the West Seattle YMCA on Alaska. My daughter’s backpack is all that was stolen. It’s pretty obvious people are canvassing the area for cars with bags left in them.” Not far away, this reader report: “Between 4:00 and 5:30 pm (Wednesday), someone smashed the rear passenger window of my car while parked in the back parking lot near Oregon Street and 44th Avenue SW. They grabbed (stole) my light green backpack. A brazen theft in daylight hours in a popular area.” Any information, please contact police.

REMINDER – NEXT CRIMEFIGHTING MEETINGS: Two chances to talk with police as well as your West Seattle neighbors – 6:30 pm Tuesday (January 27), the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network; 7 pm Tuesday, February 3rd, a community conversation with SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole. Both at the SW Precinct (Delridge/Webster), both open to all.

SIDE NOTE – CRIME STATS: SPD has gone public with the full 2014 stats. Here’s the overview.

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West Seattle Crime Watch followup: Street-robberies investigation update; precinct commander says possible connection in 2 of 5 cases http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-followup-street-robbery-investigation-update/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-followup-street-robbery-investigation-update/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 20:35:43 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298921

(Wednesday night WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)
As we work to follow up on the five street-robbery incidents in West Seattle we’ve covered in the past week, there’s new information from the Southwest Precinct. This update from precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske has just been sent to community groups:

I wanted to update everyone on a series of incidents we have had occur here in the last week, as I have had a lot of folks express concerns, as well as the desire to keep everyone up on significant events.

We have had a total of 5 theft/strong arm robberies since January 15th, most targeting younger victims that range in age from @14 to 18. The items taken are personal electronics, either laptops, pads or cell phones. The two most recent happened along California Ave SW, with the others in the areas of 6500 42nd SW, 36th SW and Myrtle, and 26th SW and Thistle.

Based on what we currently know about the incidents, there may be a connection between two of the cases. Several of the others appear to be stand-alone incidents that have not been repeated in the area.

We have distributed what info we have to the patrol officers so they can be aware of the incidents and suspect descriptions, and they are spending the time they can in the areas most commonly used by students as they travel to and from school. The precinct detectives are working the cases, and they will have access to any and all resources of the precinct, and we will draw in more department resources if they need them.

I will update you as things progress, but wanted you to know that we are aware of this and working on it as a priority. I have cc’ed Mark Solomon on this email, and he will also be sending out some safety information.

Mark Solomon is the SW and South Precincts’ Crime Prevention Coordinator, and his forward of this note included that safety information. We’ll attach it shortly, along with other information we’ve been working on today. First – here are our links to WSB coverage of the incidents mentioned in Capt. Wilske’s note, newest-to-oldest:

*Wednesday evening robbery in North Admiral, with coverage including info about Tuesday incident
*West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting coverage, including discussion of incidents
*Followup report on Saturday morning Morgan Junction robbery
*Same-day coverage of Saturday morning Morgan Junction robbery/carjack attempt
*Coverage of Friday robbery in Westwood
*Coverage of Thursday robbery in Gatewood

ADDED 12:49 PM: Here’s the safety information mentioned above:

(If you can’t see the embed – we hear it’s glitching for some – here’s the PDF.)

ADDED 1:57 PM: The West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network has just announced that Capt. Wilske will be at the WSBWCN meeting next Tuesday (January 27) to talk about this, 6:30 pm at the precinct, all welcome.

Meantime, from the police report on the Tuesday incident, how it unfolded: The victim was at Admiral Safeway with friends at about 2:50 pm and about to leave to head home when the two would-be robbers came up to him. One asked if he could use the victim’s phone, and said he didn’t need to hold it, but just asked the victim to hold up the phone and dial a certain number. The number didn’t connect. The victim left the store and crossed the street; the two confronted him on the northwest corner of California/Lander (by Lafayette Elementary). The report says one stood behind the victim while the other “grabbed his belt loop and tried to reach into his pocket where (he) had put his phone.” That’s when other teens, described as West Seattle HS students, “pulled (the would-be robbers) off” the victim, who they told to go home, which he did. The victim’s father told us that kids should specifically be warned to NEVER let anyone they don’t know use their phone – he says these two were apparently approaching others in the Safeway area first, and then, when his son left the store alone, went after him.

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Update: Police search for suspects after Admiral street robbery; fifth West Seattle holdup or attempt in seven days http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/police-searching-for-suspects-after-admiral-street-robbery/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/police-searching-for-suspects-after-admiral-street-robbery/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 01:18:51 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298837

(WSB photos by Christopher Boffoli. Above, police near the robbery scene)
5:18 PM: Police are combing North Admiral neighborhoods right now for two street-robbery suspects. More to come.

5:27 PM: They have found a possible suspect. We don’t have full details of the incident yet but police had been seeking two people, one reported to have a knife, another who reportedly told the victims he had a gun. They either stole or tried to steal a phone.

(44th/Atlantic, where police checked a home whose resident reported an intruder alarm)
5:45 PM UPDATE: No word of any arrests yet. An active search continues, with K-9; the actual robbery happened north of Admiral/California.

(Tonight’s search went all the way to the water – above, Don Armeni Boat Ramp park)
Just before this, we had learned of a robbery attempt near there yesterday afternoon; police say they don’t know yet if that’s related. In that one, two people tried to steal a 13-year-old’s phone, but older youth in the area chased them away. It apparently was not reported to police until today. (Added: That attempt happened near Lafayette Elementary around 3 pm Tuesday, according to the victim’s family.)

6:26 PM: Search continuing, and it’s very wide-ranging.

(Sunset/Seattle, atop the North Admiral bluff)
7:23 PM: Police have been searching as far north as Harbor Avenue. Counting the attempted robbery yesterday that we just learned about today, this is the fifth street robbery or attempt in West Seattle in the past seven days, starting last Thursday (January 15th) when two people knocked down and stole the backpack of a middle-schooler walking by Myrtle Reservoir in Gatewood; on Friday, a robber stole a phone from a high-school student walking in a Westwood neighborhood; on Saturday, a man parking near his workplace in Morgan Junction was accosted by robbers who tried to steal his car.

8:14 PM: We’re adding photos from the search. Meantime, we just checked with Lt. Alan Williams, who confirms, no arrests yet, and that the person detained at 45th/Walker was not identified by the victims, so he was released. The robbery itself, Lt. Williams says, happened in the 2300 block of 44th SW. He has no description information at this point aside from “two black males … estimated to be 15-17 years of age.”

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Westwood robbery arrest; mystery car… http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-westwood-robbery-mystery-car-more/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-westwood-robbery-mystery-car-more/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 18:54:25 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298799 First, if you happen to have been at Westwood Village and noticed police this past hour:

SHOPLIFTING/ROBBERY: What was described over the air as shoplifting-turned-robbery at the Westwood Village Radio Shack drew a big police response. Our crew was told the employee wasn’t hurt; they’re still trying to determine what was taken. Police were searching for two possible suspects, described early on as Hispanic women 18-22, both 5’3″ to 5’4″, one thin, one medium-to-heavy, one dressed all in black, one in a gray jacket. We’re hearing of one possible arrest in a residential area several blocks north and will be checking to verify.

(12:35 PM UPDATE: SPD confirms a 15-year-old girl is in custody. Apparently the other possible suspect was not involved in the crime.)

(back to original report) A few other Crime Watch notes from the past few days:

RECOGNIZE THIS CAR? Shay says it’s been parked in her neighborhood for a few weeks and neighbors thought it belonged to someone working nearby, but now realize it’s abandoned.

Police will be contacted if they haven’t been already, but Shay got a stolen car back via this kind of WSB report a few years ago and so wanted to get the word out this way too.

CAR PROWLS: Last Friday night, according to a reader report, three cars, all Hondas, were broken into near 49th/Juneau in Seaview; someone “with a flashlight was spotted at 6 am and fled upon being observed.” No signs of forced entry, so neighbors are wondering if the prowler(s) have “a keyless entry.”

NEXT CRIMEFIGHTING MEETINGS: The West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meets at 6:30 pm next Tuesday (January 27th) at the Southwest Precinct – you don’t have to be a captain, or even in a block watch (yet!), to attend. And if you missed the announcement published here Tuesday morning, Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole is coming to West Seattle for her first “community conversation” here, 7 pm Tuesday, February 3rd, also at the precinct (which is at Webster/Delridge).

P.S. The chief’s latest quarterly report to the City Council will be presented this afternoon – read it here.

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Scam alert, again: Fake City Light calls @ West Seattle biz, home http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/scam-alert-again-fake-city-light-calls-west-seattle-business-home/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/scam-alert-again-fake-city-light-calls-west-seattle-business-home/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 16:55:37 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298785 Two new reports of the scam phone callers who claim to be from Seattle City Light, alleging you owe money and are at risk of imminent shutoff if you don’t pay them. This came in last night from Dan at Peel and Press in Morgan Junction:

My employees at Peel and Press just got a call from someone claiming to be Seattle City Light stating that they were going to shut off our power in one hour and that they needed to confirm our billing info. My employees took down the name and number and then called me. I called back “Mr. Allan Grey” and he went on about how my last two payments weren’t cleared and they would be shutting off my power in the next few minutes. He wanted me to confirm my card number and exp date. I asked him to reference the last 4 numbers of my SCL account because something didn’t seem right and I had a feeling this was a scam. He assured me I could wait for my power to get shut off so I would know it was real. I again asked for the last 4 digits and he hung up. I called Seattle City Light and just as I expected my power bill was up to date and no issues with my service. Claimed to be Allan Grey – Ph. 1-800-237-3081

At least one local residence also just got this kind of call – see this post in the WSB Forums. And as noted here a month ago, utility-bill scammers are showing up in person, too.

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT: City Light has scam-protection advice for you here.

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‘Apple-picking,’ nuisance houses, crime trends, and other discussions @ West Seattle Crime Prevention Council http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/apple-picking-nuisance-houses-crime-trends-and-other-discussions-west-seattle-crime-prevention-council/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/apple-picking-nuisance-houses-crime-trends-and-other-discussions-west-seattle-crime-prevention-council/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 04:56:05 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298754 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

No new information about Saturday’s Morgan Junction holdup, when it was brought up during tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting.

What did dominate the evening was a wide-ranging discussion on various neighborhoods’ problems and what can, can’t, and – in some neighbors’ view – should be done about them.

First, the crime-trend update:

LOCAL CRIME TRENDS: Auto theft has remained the same – a high level, but “we’re starting to make some arrests.” Car prowls are “down drastically.” So said precinct operations Lt. Ron Smith, representing precinct leadership at the meeting – he said car prowls are down to 11 in the past week, compared to 18. A new way of handling the data is being implemented soon, he said, so that could make a change. Nonresidential burglaries are down; residential burglary is down 40 percent from an average week, 6 compared to the average of 10. “We’ve made a couple arrests, and that might have made a difference – names known to the community.” Strong-arm robberies, usually 1 a week, this past week we’ve had two (both reported here).

Asked about the strong-arm robbery, Lt. Smith mentioned – without specifying the location – the Sealth student who was walking to school when her phone was stolen. They don’t know yet for sure whether the robber is a student or not, though “similar age group” to the victim. Sometimes the response time is hampered by the fact the robbery isn’t reported until they tell their parents hours later. He says this type of robbery has now been dubbed “Apple-picking.”

Asked about shoplifting, aggravated assault, drug-dealing arrests, Lt. Smith said he doesn’t have numbers on those categories but can get them. He says the Anti-Crime Team is going after drug crime right now, though, and that drug dealing is being addressed “through other methods” – CPTED, such as lighting, removing phone booths, cutting back shrubbery, and talking to businesses to let them know it’s their responsibility to keep watch on what’s happening on their property.

NUISANCE HOUSES: A question is asked about a South Delridge block and a particular house on 17th SW. Lt. Smith says they’re aware of several trouble houses. Precinct liaison Matthew York from the City Attorney’s Office, seated next to Lt. Smith (photo at right), gives his card to the asker. Another man says there’s a similar problem in his neighborhood – stolen cars dumped, an unregistered sex offender who they say had a teenage girl in his house, someone else who was wanted on warrants and “had a sawed-off shotgun.” The house in question had “constant turnover,” troublemakers in the back yard – they would report the problems, police would show up, and be deterred by a locked gate and people going into hiding. “With (houses like this) you can look at the 911 calls – 197 on that block – (people have) called constantly.” Someone else says “it’s kind of like we’re at war” but it has quieted down a bit with the involvement of the Community Police Team.

People are pulling up in cars and smoking heroin, a resident went on to say. “If you see someone smoking heroin, that’s a 911 call,” says York. Is a photo evidence of what happened? the resident asked. The officer generally has to see the crime being committed, York replies. They can’t just stop someone because someone says they stopped them doing something. Another attendee asks, what if that person is driving under the influence, then, can they be pulled over? York explains the legal issues. “They can stop and arrest him, but whether they can prosecute him … comes down to a whole lot of case law.”

The prior resident says that he thinks there’s a “whole lot of value” in seeing police driving past, say, the drug-smoking person sitting in their car. And then comes a discussion about living next door to chronic offenders who are out of jail “and they know I put them there … we’re surrounded by felons whose rights are more elevated than ours. We’ve been victimized by them all this time.” She said she didn’t have a complaint about police response, just the situation in general that has left them next door to the felons. York says he’d like to talk to them offline.

Should this go before the City Council? Is there a place to get more help? asks another attendee. “It’s a complicated legal situation,” says York, but maybe, for example, the Department of Planning and Development might have an ordinance that would apply.

Another attendee points out that this sounds like the nuisance-house situation at 36th/Morgan that was addressed with the help of the City Attorney’s Office. “Is there something that could be done without us having to come to a meeting like this” to get help? she wonders – perhaps the Community Police Team? The South Delridge residents say the CPT has addressed their situation and it’s “quieted down” somewhat as a result, as those officers “have been real direct” with the chronic offenders next door.

Lt. Smith points out that 911 calls are what get the most attention for trouble spots – repeated 911 calls. “Foreclosed homes” are a problem right now, “and you wouldn’t believe how many we have in West Seattle.” He says that one particular (unnamed) bank owns “85 percent” of the vacant, bank-owned homes in West Seattle, and they have a contract with that company that allows them to cut right to the chase if action is needed at a particular address.

Another attendee suggests neighbors might threaten to take offending neighbors to small-claims court; she mentions living next door to a house whose owner wasn’t the problem, “but they had rotten relatives.”

Keep calling 911, urges Lt. Smith.

Finally a question about Saturday’s robbery in Morgan Junction – a man cites the WSB comment from someone who wrote about seeing suspicious people in the area a short time earlier and reported being told, when calling 911, that nothing could be done if a crime wasn’t being committed.

“What was the crime?” York asked repeatedly.

“A–holery,” it was suggested.

But – that’s not a crime, it was repeated. Another man said that near 17th/Henderson, he had encountered someone who behaved threateningly and not gotten much of a response. “If you want police at the doorstep right away, tell them you’re going to do to the person what the person is doing to you,” he said, and that’s the only way to get a response.

Back to the Morgan parking lot, “suspicious behavior is at the bottom of the priority list” in terms of what police can report to. If reported as “they’re slowing down cars and harassing people,” that might be a crime, but if you just say “they’re walking in front of a car and slowing it down,” the operator might not perceive that as the type of problem you’re seeing.

Don’t be nice about it when you call something in, said Lt. Smith.

At that point, a TV reporter identified herself from the corner and asks about the Morgan robbery case and the surveillance video mentioned in our earlier coverage. Lt. Smith looks into a sheaf of report copies he’s brought, to try to find information about the case.

If suspects are identified, will their photos be made available? it’s asked. Not if they’re juveniles, York says, unless they are charged as adults.

Is it legal for someone to walk around with their face covered (as was one of the robbers) – let’s say, if it’s not freezing cold weather? Yes, it is, the law enforcers reply.

Coming back to the subject of the 911 call made earlier that morning, another man in the corner mentions again that you have to be very direct with police – you can’t just say you think something MIGHT be happening, you saw someone who kind of sort of made you wonder. You have to be factual and direct. (No one here had firsthand knowledge of that call, including police, so they were just speculating that perhaps the caller was not.)

Another attendee asks about the prioritization mentioned earlier. Lt. Smith said it depends on what else is going on. The attendee goes on to ask about staffing – “do you have enough officers to respond in a reasonable amount of time?” Lt. Smith says shortly thereafter, “Yeah, we need a lot more officers. We have the amount of officers we had in the late ’60s. We need more officers not only in West Seattle but citywide.”

“Is it a recruiting issue or a funding issue?” asks an attendee.

Both, says Lt. Smith. Personally, he says, as a 35-year cop, he wishes far more money would go toward police services – but where do you take it away? Social services? Fire Department? Roads? “What I have to do is work with the number of officers we have. And we have an incredible bunch of officers here.” He notes that the Southwest Precinct remains a popular place to work.

An attendee goes back to the Morgan robbery, wondering if anyone had seen a gun when the people reported in the street, who might have been the robbers. Another attendee points out (from the report we published earlier) that the gun didn’t come out until after the first robber had asked the victim about the time.

From another attendee: “These things happen in cities … the majority of us here are concerned about the underlying (situation)” such as nuisance houses and chronic offenders.

“We go through phases,” said Lt. Smith. “Right now, community policing is taking the lead” for SPD, the City Attorney’s Office, etc. He brings up the work done to clear encampments. “It sounds simple ‘just clear them out’ – in the city, it’s not that simple, because of the political environment and the legal environment. … we have to follow a proper step-by-step process and it’s time-consuming as heck, but (once we do) we get the people who need help, social services.”

York notes that the Community Police Team has two officers in this area right now but they hope to be getting a third back.

The nuisance-house neighbors say that they wish they could have found an FAQ that would tell them what to do about problems like this, and possibly even have access to knowing that police have been to their neighborhood recently, so they know that officers are on the case – “could we type in ‘house on 19th’ and see” – Lt. Smith says the followup visits don’t always generate new report numbers; the attendee says even if they did, it’s hard to follow.

York says the FAQ idea is a good one, noting that the City Attorney’s Office is redoing its website and that might be something for it.

Neighbors go on to talk about various other problems – including stolen shopping carts, and no prosecution, with store reps showing up. “Did the store owner follow up and want to charge them with a crime?” asked Lt. Smith. The neighbors didn’t know.

Now an attendee speaks up and says, some of these robberies are happening in the morning – is there a standard patrol that’s happening? Lt. Smith mentions that first watch, 3 am to noon, is the shortest-staffed time period. The attendee says a concern is that she can’t tell her teenage daughter, avoid a certain area – “it’s happening all over West Seattle.” Replies Lt. Smith: “It’s happening all over the city.” He also acknowledges that SPD is reactive – if a pattern erupts, they focus resources in a certain area. But by “the next meeting,” there might be a request for resources elsewhere, because the previous problem has been alleviated.

From the other side of the room: “The community is relying on you guys to protect them and come out to calls … I don’t live here, I work here, but like my community, I see a lot of you wanting to do something and not knowing what to do … how can you put out the word that this is a community to be reckoned with.” She says she teaches workshops on “how not to be a victim.”

“Our big thing is Block Watch,” Lt. Smith noted, and more discussion ensued about ways that neighbors can talk with each other.

So what’s being done about addressing the underlying causes? he was asked. What can be done about chronic offenders?

He didn’t have a pithy answer – but did recount a story from his days as a foot-beat officer, how a young offender changed his ways – “People change.”

Another man said that a civic-minded attitude can help. “In our neighborhood, I look around, and I don’t see anything for kids to do.” Somebody suggested that we put out a list of things for kids to do. (We actually do have listings on the calendar. The city-run community centers also have pamphlets full of listings.)

“Volunteer at a school,” suggested one person. “I don’t have time,” was the reply.

Someone else brought the conversation back around to “crime.” She said she’s seeing an increased presence on 21st SW, where she says she’s lived since childhood, but it’s “never been as bad as it is now … I’m really glad to see people here, because I’m not willing to just see it” (fall apart). She then asks a question about some of the side streets, such as Juneau and Brandon, and how she interacts with neighbors when she’s out for a walk. She said she has encountered some who saw suspicious behavior but didn’t report it. Then she mentions one neighbor’s report of what seems to be youth camping in a wetland area, “surrounding by electronics … that they probably didn’t buy.”

“It’s illegal to camp in Parks property,” said York.

The talk then came around to, the issue of seeing “suspicious” behavior, and when police can be called in and when they can’t. “If you take a picture of someone behaving suspiciously, what do you do with it?” asked one man. “Just walking down the street,” you can’t do much with that. “But if (the suspicious person) is putting a safe in the back of their car …”

He asked to clarify: So the Community Police Team officer would be the first point of contact about the suspicious behavior? Yes, said Lt. Smith, noting that the CPT officers on duty right now are Jon Flores and Erin Nicholson. (Find contact info for the CPT on the SPD website, here. Officer Nicholson is filling in this month for Officer Kiehn, per Lt. Smith.)

A woman then voiced hope that once arrested, convicted, and put behind bars, offenders would be trained so they could get jobs “and be a good person” when they get out. Lt. Smith agreed that “correctional” facilities don’t seem to be “correcting” anyone.

At that point, WSCPC president Richard Miller asked for ideas of topics to address at future meetings. Graffiti vandalism was mentioned – “a police perspective on the trends,” for example.

Another suggestion: How various departments/agencies work together on crime/safety issues, so that the public can better understand.

The WSCPC meets on third Tuesdays most months, 7 pm, Southwest Precinct.

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The robbers who couldn’t start the car and the victim who said ‘no’: Followup on Saturday’s Morgan Junction holdup http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/the-robbers-who-couldnt-start-the-car-and-the-victim-who-said-no-followup-on-saturdays-morgan-junction-holdup/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/the-robbers-who-couldnt-start-the-car-and-the-victim-who-said-no-followup-on-saturdays-morgan-junction-holdup/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 21:11:04 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298703 New details about Saturday morning’s Morgan Junction street robbery/carjacking attempt are in the official police report we have just obtained, as well as the reason for the subsequent search in Gatewood. Until now, as weekend WSB readers are aware, most of what we knew came via comments (here and here) plus a bit of information we procured by finding an SPD sergeant at an unrelated scene post-search. So far, no word of any arrests, but we hope to hear more directly from Southwest Precinct police during tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting. Ahead, we’ve transcribed the report’s narrative, since this is a high-interest incident, the third street robbery in three days in West Seattle at the time (no reports of any since Saturday):

(Officers) responded to a report of a robbery and carjacking at (4200 block of) SW Morgan. Upon arrival I contacted (victim) at the above-listed location. He advised his vehicle was parked in the south side of the store parking lot. He further advised that the incident actually occurred southeast of this location.

I walked with (victim) to (6700 block of) 42nd SW, where he informed that he was first contacted by the suspects who ultimately ran south and east from the location.

Victim states that he parked and secured his vehicle on the southeast corner of 42nd/Holly. He began walking northbound on the west side of the street. When he arrived in front of (6700 block residence) a black male described as above (unidentified #1) was walking southbound toward him and asked for the time. Victim opened up his cell phone to look and informed him it was 7:13. Suspect then displayed a handgun and pointed it at his face ordering victim “Give me your car keys!” Victim states he told him no and started to walk off when another black male, tall and skinny, put his fist against his back. Two suspects who were walking on the east side of the street crossed over and he was surrouned by four black male teens and one Hispanic teen.

They all had on scarves or handkerchiefs covering their face except the one with the handgun. The taller black male described above began to go through victim’s pockets and he informed him, the keys weren’t in his pocket. He was ordered again to give up his car keys and he complied. They asked for the location of his car and victim advised them.

The taller black male continued to go through his pockets and took his wallet, pen, and keys from his right front pants pocket. Two of the suspects walked up to his car and opened it. They could not figure out how to start the vehicle (it is a pushbutton ignition) and he heard one of them ask, “Where does the key go?” They yelled and asked how to start the car and victim explained, put your foot on the brake and push the button. They continued to struggle and asked again. Suspect with the gun gave it to the taller black male (who was still behind him) and walked up to the car to assist with getting the car started. One of the other suspects came back to assist with victim. They then ordered victim to walk up to the car and threatened to shoot him if he didn’t comply. He walked up to the southwest corner across from his car and the suspects were able to get it started. All suspects jumped in the car and attempted to drive off northbound. They only went a few feet and ended up striking the curb. They then exited the vehicle and threw the keys across the street which landed near victim’s feet. They told him that if he said anything or called the police they would come back and kill him.

Suspects proceeded northbound on 42nd SW and eastbound on Heights Ave SW. Victim then drove his car to its current location. Victim further advises that during the incident one of the suspects recognized him as an employee of the store. Suspect said, “You’re the one who took the bottle of alcohol from me I had stole.”

(Two K-9 teams) responded to the scene. K94 tracked to the greenbelt south of 38th SW/SW Frontenac. En route they discovered a (card) with victim’s name. I later responded to the area of 40th/SW Frontenac to retrieve the item. (A witness) was out walking his dogs and found the card in front of (4000 block) SW Frontenac. He had picked it up and when he saw me checking the area he informed me and turned the card over to me. Victim confirms it had been in his wallet and I returned it to him.

(Witness) advised that he was out getting his newspaper around 0700 hours and observed three subjects walking eastbound on SW Frontenac on the north side of the street. This is consistent with the description given by victim and the direction of the canine track. (Officers) were unable to locate suspects after an extensive search with K9. (Officer) responded to attempt to lift prints from victim’s vehicle.

That’s where the report ends. It contains no further description information; we’re asking again if anything more is available, and will add anything we get. And again, if you have questions/concerns about this or anything else that’s been happening in West Seattle/South Park, police will be on hand as always at tonight’s WS Crime Prevention Council meeting, 7 pm at the precinct meeting room, off Webster west of Delridge.

ADDED 1:18 PM: SPD spokesperson Det. Drew Fowler says the description to which that phrase points, elsewhere in the report, is only this: “black male, 5’1”, ~200 lbs, wearing dark clothing.”

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Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole coming to West Seattle for a community conversation on February 3rd http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/seattle-police-chief-kathleen-otoole-coming-to-west-seattle-for-a-community-conversation-on-february-3rd/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/seattle-police-chief-kathleen-otoole-coming-to-west-seattle-for-a-community-conversation-on-february-3rd/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 17:06:35 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298682

(WSB photo from August 2014 – Chief O’Toole with Karen Berge & Deb Greer of the WS Block Watch Captains Network)
Shortly after Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole started her job last summer, she visited last summer’s Delridge Day/Picnic at the Precinct festival. She has not, however, been to a formal community meeting here – but that’s about to change. Just announced:

The Southwest Precinct Advisory Council (SWPAC) and the West Seattle Block Watch Captains are pleased to announce a community conversation with Seattle’s Chief of Police Kathleen O’Toole.

The West Seattle community is invited to come to the Southwest Police Precinct on Tuesday, February 3rd from 6:30 to 8:30 pm to participate in this community conversation.

There will not be a formal program as this is an opportunity for the citizens of West Seattle to come out and meet Seattle’s new police chief.

If you would like more information or have any questions, you can contact Pete Spalding at SWPAC@comcast.net.

The precinct is at 2300 SW Webster, on the NW corner of Webster/Delridge.

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