West Seattle Crime Watch: Stolen, found, and not-yet-found edition

November 2, 2015 at 3:21 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 11 Comments

In West Seattle Crime Watch this afternoon – first, two car-prowl reports received over the weekend from the same area of Arbor Heights, 37th/98th vicinity:

Robert unintentionally left a case of teaching materials in his car – and by morning, they were gone. Someone found some of the items more than a mile away, near 35th/Thistle, but he is still looking for a “black Travel Pro wheeled carry-on” and “an instructional manual for Phonics Boost, a few children’s books–Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, a couple of George and Martha books–and a few more, and some manila file folders with notes. They also took a tool tote with a bunch of teaching tools, markers, calculator, etc.” The items that were recovered with a few of his other items, by the way, included “a nitrous tank and some key rings (and) also a receipt of some sort from Volkswagen.” If you have seen any of the items Robert is still missing, please comment.

In the same area, Danny reports that someone stole change from his car: “I am not sure if I didn’t lock it as there was no visible signs of damage done to it. I also heard there is some kind of universal key that can open car doors without the alarm going off. … There was also mail from several blocks away scattered in from my house. There is also a house that is being built that has a Honey Bucket in front of it that had mail from my neighbor across from me in it two Thursdays ago. I am wondering if this could be related. … There was also Halloween decorations and a few plants stolen from my porch Halloween night.” (Regarding the “universal key,” this story was referenced in a recent comment thread about the topic.)

Another car-prowl report, from Aaron:

Just wanted to report that my friend’s car was broken into a week or so ago in from of my house on 38th and Charlestown. They broke both passenger side windows and stole her work bag from the back seat. Nothing of value to them, but she had a lot of important paperwork for the insurance company she works for. Sucks to hear about so many break-ins.

One more report, not definitively connected to crime but likely, as many stolen bikes are dumped this way:

FOUND BICYCLE: Jenny found a “Kulana Makamaka, black with red splash guard in the back, missing one in the front. From the images I’ve found of this bike online, it looks like it probably had a front splash guard when new.” Missing one? She says it has some stickers the rightful owner should be able to identify.

FOLLOWUP: Police circulate surveillance photos in connection with this morning’s arsons, but don’t think they’re linked to recent string

October 31, 2015 at 4:59 pm | In Crime, West Seattle fires, West Seattle news | 10 Comments

Following up on the two dumpster fires covered here early this morning – police have released the two surveillance images above and below:

They want to hear from anyone who recognizes the person in the images, which are clearly from the scene of the fire in a dumpster behind/underneath the Senior Center of West Seattle, along SW Oregon east of California SW.

(WSB reader photo, by Aaron)
The update says witnesses describe the suspect as “a 20-year-old male with a slight build, wearing a red and grey sweatshirt.” The other fire was reported in the same time frame – around 2:30 am – in a dumpster on the alley behind the California/Alaska building where businesses including Easy Street Records are located. As we reported in our early-morning coverage, both fires were put out relatively quickly, and police converged on both scenes.

Police also say they do NOT believe the fires are related to the recent High Point/Morgan arsons but they do want to hear from anyone who thinks they know the person in the photos – please call 911.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Stolen-and-found reader reports

October 30, 2015 at 1:55 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 9 Comments

Starting this afternoon’s West Seattle Crime Watch roundup – Byron was hit by Halloween-decorations theft:

We had a few strings of lights, a string of 8 legs, arms, feet and hands (good quality molded body parts), and a few skulls stolen from our yard on Hanford and 38th. Oh how sad.


Someone took our toddler’s white and blue Strider bike and big orange stroller from our front porch last night. We’re in the 5200 block of 36th Ave SW. Don’t expect to see them again, but we did file an online report.

STROLLER FOUND: A stroller stolen earlier is one of the possibly stolen items found by another reader:

Thursday morning at around 6:15 AM while walking our dogs on 32nd Ave SW between Thistle and Elmgrove St. my friend and I found a discarded stroller and nice jacket. These items were thrown onto the sidewalk, leading us to believe they were possibly stolen and discarded? We would like to get them back to the owner (s). I am happy to arrange the return but would like for anyone claiming these items to please describe the jacket and the make of the stroller. I can be reached via this email address: turtle05071@aol.com

BIKE FOUND: Another item found – possibly stolen property – by Allison:

Last week I found a BMX bike on the side of my house. I live at 30th and Roxbury accross from Roxhill Elementary. I’m thinking the bike was stole and stashed on the side of house?

Thanks again for sharing your reports – go to the police first, but once you’ve done that, please let us know so your neighbors ALL around West Seattle can stay in touch with what’s happening. And be safe this Hallo-weekend! We work 24/7, so you can get breaking news to us any time – text or call 206-293-6302 – thanks!

West Seattle Crime Watch: 5 reader reports & 6 prevention tips

October 29, 2015 at 11:47 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 22 Comments

The newest round of West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports – THANK YOU for sharing the information so your neighbors ALL around the peninsula know what’s going on – plus the latest prevention advice:

BURGLARY & CAR THEFT: Paige and her husband discovered early this morning that someone had broken into their house near 21st and Holden, stealing not only his wedding ring, but also the keys to his truck – which subseqently was stolen. Watch for a 2004 black Toyota TUndra with a crew cab and tonneau cover, license C71042B.

Three car prowl and theft reports from The Junction:

TRUCK BREAK-IN: From Jessica:

Just in case it happened to others, I wanted to report that we had a pick-up truck broken into on 41st Ave SW next to Jefferson Square last night and they look to have used a universal remote keyless entry tool as everything was taken but the car doors were found this morning with doors locked again, nothing broken, but everything inside taken including a phone, tools, insurance info and other paperwork in the cab of the truck. The car alarm when off when we opened the car this morning. If it happened to others maybe somebody has info we can use to track the suspect down.

CAR BREAK-IN, BALLET COSTUMES GONE: Milyssa says this happened last night “after ballet class”:

My family went out to dinner in the Junction, parking in the lot behind Bakery Nouveau. We were gone no more than 45 minutes, and I came back to a smashed front passenger window, and a missing work bag … all (it) contained was a Fire Department lunch bag, various tubes of Chap Stick, and two lovely ballet costumes that my daughters wore to dress-up day at dance class. And two pair of ballet shoes. Of course I have reported to police, and checked nearby dumpsters to see if they just dumped the bag after seeing the contents. No luck. So, this is a crappy reminder to me, and a gentle reminder to your readers to leave nothing visible in your car. And if any of you happen to find one of our ballet costumes, my girls would dance for joy!

PACKAGE THEFTS AND CAR-PROWL TRY: First Wendy e-mailed to say, “3 packages from Amazon (various shippers) were stolen from the front door on Monday, 10/26/15, in 4400 block of 44th Ave SW. (Report) filed with police.” Then she sent this followup: “And when I told my neighbors, I found out that one just had an attempted car break-in. Someone took a crowbar and damaged their door and skylight trying to get in.”

A series in the Alki area:

CAR BREAK-IN ATTEMPTS: Reported by Kate:

Monday, approx. 12:30 am, the 2400 block of 55th Ave was victim to numerous car prowl attempts. We have filed a report and handed over security camera footage to police. My vehicle was locked but prowlers were still able to get in without breaking a window. It is believed they used a radio-frequency device to unlock the car. They did not get anything of value so they moved on down the street looking in other vehicles. This is a team of thieves and move very efficiently, with one person walking while another drives a vehicle behind. Please don’t leave anything of value in your cars; let’s not give them motive to violate our property! It is also important to file a police report even if nothing was damaged or stolen. If you live on or near 2400 block of 55th SW and have any security footage of the time frame I mentioned, please contact authorities. We may be able to get more detail on thieves and their vehicle.

PREVENTION ADVICE in the newest newsletter from SPD Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon (as previewed in our Tuesday report on the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting):


* When you exit or enter your parked vehicle, take a moment to look around the area.

* Turn off and lock your car whenever you have to walk away from it. This includes at gas pumps, ATMs, coffee shops, etc. Never leave your car idling and unattended.

* Leave No Valuables in Your Car. Items of little or no value to you still look inviting to a thief. Even pocket change is enough of an enticement for some thieves.

* If you must leave valuables in your car (say you’re out shopping and still have some stops to make), make sure that nothing of value is within plain view. Place items in your car trunk out of sight. Do this when you get to your car, rather than waiting until you park at your next stop.

* Don’t leave accessories visible in your car. You may have taken the Laptop or IPod in with you, but if you leave the USB cables for your laptop or earbuds for the IPod in the back seat, the offender may think those items are in the car and break in anyway.

* If you have a GPS, think about how it is mounted in your car. If the mounting for the GPS is visible, the thief may think the GPS is in the glove box or under the seat and may break in to try to get it. Have removable mounting for the GPS and put that out of sight as well.

We can speak to #5. And even though none of “the items” were in the car, the thief or thieves took the connector cord anyway. And yes, only a $2 loss, but we filed a report online – you can do that here, but we hope you never have to.

VIDEO: Deputies ask for help identifying suspects in bus-stop stabbing

October 28, 2015 at 5:22 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, White Center | 25 Comments

5:22 PM: If you recognize any of the men in those surveillance-video images, the King County Sheriff’s Office wants to hear from you. They say these are the suspects in the Sunday night bus-stop stabbing at 15th and Roxbury, an attack that left a West Seattle restaurant worker paralyzed. KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West‘s update has new details:

The stabbing occurred around 6:30 pm near the Bartell Drugs store at 15th Ave SW and SW Roxbury. When police first contacted the victim after he had been stabbed, he thought he had been on a bus with the suspects. During recovery in the hospital, he told detectives that the suspects had not been on the bus. The victim told police he had gotten off the bus and gone to a smoke shop near the Bartell Drugs store. He went back to the bus stop near Bartell’s and was smoking when the suspects bumped into him. He said words were exchanged and an altercation ended with him being stabbed multiple times.

When the first deputy on the scene arrived he found the victim, barely conscious, with a blade stuck in his back near his spine. The victim told the deputy that he could not feel his legs. The three suspects fled on foot southbound and can be seen in the video running away. The victim is still in intensive care at Harborview and is paralyzed as a result of the stabbing.

Detectives are asking for the public’s help identifying the suspects on this video. They are described as three Hispanic males, late teens or early 20s, and had blue bandanas. If you have any information related to this case, please call the King County Sheriff’s Office at 206-296-3311.

As reported here last night, the victim has been identified as Ramon Aspeitia, who works at Shadowland and Ma’Ono in The Junction; his employers and friends put together a crowdfunding drive to help him and his family as he recovers.

P.S. KCSO is working on making the full video clip available – we will add it here if and when that happens.

ADDED 6:12 PM: Two short clips have just been made available, and we’ve uploaded them. In the first one, Sgt. West explains, you’re seeing “when they first flee”:

In the second, Sgt. West says, they start to go back toward the scene, “then run back”:

FOLLOWUP: Shooting suspect released; prosecutors to decide on charges later

October 28, 2015 at 4:23 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 26 Comments

4:23 PM: As noted in our Monday coverage, today was the day by which the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office had to file charges against the suspect in Saturday’s double shooting, in order for him to remain in custody. We’ve just received word that charges are not being filed today, so the 25-year-old suspect will be released. This, according to KCPAO spokesperson Dan Donohoe, is “pending ongoing investigation. A decision regarding charges will be made at a later date.”

The shooting early Saturday at 23rd SW and SW Willow left a 24-year-old man dead and a 34-year-old man seriously wounded; the suspect was arrested at his home about half a mile away several hours later. Probable-cause documents made public in connection with the suspect’s bail hearing on Monday had said the man who died, his brother, and the suspect were embroiled in a years-long dispute over a $200 debt and had met at the scene early Saturday for what was maybe going to be some kind of fight – and then came the deadly gunfire.

LATE-NIGHT UPDATE: The King County Jail Register confirms that the release happened around 9:20 pm.

West Seattle Crime Watch: 4 reader reports

October 28, 2015 at 2:07 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

Four reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch this afternoon:

MAIL/PACKAGE THEFT: Ben reports: “Just a heads up, our mail and packages were stolen from our house between Trenton and Henderson on 34th SW (Monday night). Sucks.”

CAR BREAK-IN, AND … Also Monday night. Mary reports: “I wanted to let people know that our truck got broken into … It was in the alley between 30th and 29th near Trenton. Also, on Friday night someone left a white North Face jacket behind the truck that was broken into.”

ANOTHER CAR BREAK-IN: Sara says this too happened Monday night: “I live on the 4400 block of 49th Ave SW and my car was broken into while parked in the alleyway between Genesee and Oregon SW. They took 3 credit cards and some cash and then used the credit cards at Walgreens and Jack-In-The-Box but were declined at Fred Meyer.”

AND YET ANOTHER CAR BREAK-IN: Heather reports, “Just thought I’d share our car was prowled last weekend in front of our house in the 8800 block of 37th Avenue SW (between Trenton and Henderson). Unfortunately they made off with quite a lot because we had stuff in the trunk and a bunch of kids’ CDs in the car. It had been locked and there was no sign of forced entry (it’s an older Honda Civic…probably not too tough to open). Just thought I’d let people know to keep their eyes open.”

PREVENTING CAR PROWLS: Here’s the official SPD advice.

VIDEO: Arson investigation, holiday-season crime prevention, and more @ West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network

October 27, 2015 at 9:45 pm | In Crime, Safety, West Seattle news | Comments Off

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

No arrest yet in the West Seattle arsons.

That’s what Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis told the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network tonight, almost one full week since the last fire in the string of half a dozen arsons that have been under investigation for more than two weeks. Here’s video of his update:

That most-recent fire was early last Wednesday, set in a recycling bin outside a house at 40th SW and SW Morgan, half a mile from the October 12th firesetting shown on surveillance video made public last Thursday:

Capt. Davis told the more than 30 attendees that the investigation remains open and active, with multiple agencies working on it. Call 911 or 800-55-ARSON if you have information.

He was asked about last Saturday’s double shooting, in which a 24-year-old man was killed and a 34-year-old man seriously wounded, with a 25-year-old suspect arrested hours later. Capt. Davis had no additional information on that beyond pointing out that – as we reported after the suspect’s bail hearing – the victims and suspect were known to each other.

Also brought up by attendees:

Click to read the rest of VIDEO: Arson investigation, holiday-season crime prevention, and more @ West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network…

FOLLOWUP: White Center stabbing victim ID’d as West Seattle restaurants’ employee; community contributions sought

October 27, 2015 at 6:33 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, White Center | 33 Comments

(White Center Now photo from Sunday night)
Two nights ago, on our partner site White Center Now, we reported on a stabbing at 15th and Roxbury in White Center, as King County Sheriff’s Office deputies and detectives searched for three men who stabbed a 26-year-old after he got off a bus. What we didn’t know until tonight is that the victim is an employee at two West Seattle restaurants. The co-proprietor of one, Ma’Ono’s Marjorie Chang Fuller, forwarded us the YouCaring page that seeks help for the victim’s recovery, with this update:

Ramon Aspeitia is a highly respected and extremely hard working employee at both Shadowland and Ma’ono in the West Seattle Junction neighborhood. He was viciously attacked by 3 men and brutally stabbed in the back on his commute home after work Sunday Oct 25th around 6:30 pm at his bus transfer in White Center. He is currently in Harborview Medical Center, fighting to be stabilized and to regain feeling in the lower half of his body. We are all hoping for a full recovery and he could use your thoughts and prayers at this time. This is gonna take a tremendous toll on his family and of course his 2 children. We’re asking the community to help in any way they can. Every bit will help his family with the medical and monthly bills while he recovers. His family will greatly appreciate anything you can do to help..

Here’s the direct link.

West Seattle Crime Watch: FOUND Stolen SUV to watch for; Block Watch Captains’ Network briefings Tuesday

October 26, 2015 at 8:50 pm | In Crime, Safety, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 4 Comments

8:50 PM: In West Seattle Crime Watch tonight:

STOLEN SUV: Have you seen Matt‘s stolen dark blue Chevy Tahoe? It was taken from his driveway in the 6000 block of California SW sometime midday last Friday (October 23rd). License plate 899-ZBW. If you see it – call 911.

9:51 PM UPDATE: See comments – SPD found Matt’s SUV and are reported to have made an arrest, too.

(back to original report) CRIME UPDATES AT BLOCK WATCH CAPTAINS’ NETWORK: Want to hear firsthand updates about the recent arsons and Saturday’s shootings? And/or ask questions? The West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network meets tomorrow (Tuesday, October 27th) for the last time this year, and has announced that Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis will be there with updates, as well as Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon, who, WSBWCN says, “will focus on prevention and things you can do to make your property less of a target for arson or property theft. Come learn about things you and your neighbors can do to be vigilant.” 6:30 pm, SW Precinct (2300 SW Webster), all welcome – you don’t have to be a BW captain or even a BW member.

West Seattle Crime Watch followup: $1 million bail for man arrested after deadly double shooting

October 26, 2015 at 3:15 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 22 Comments

(WSB photos from Saturday morning)
3:15 PM: We’re just out of the jailhouse courtroom downtown, where the 25-year-old West Seattle man arrested hours after Saturday morning’s 23rd SW double shooting has just had a bail hearing. After multiple reports of gunfire, police say, they found two men in the street – a 24-year-old who was dead at the scene, and a 34-year-old man who survived, but with life-threatening injuries. After a short hearing, the judge set bail at $1 million; the defense argued for $100,000, noting that (as reported here Saturday) the suspect has no felony convictions; he is currently being prosecuted for a drunk-driving arrest. We don’t yet have the probable-cause documents, which are likely to have some information on what led police to arrest this man blocks away from the shooting scene; once we do, we’ll update this story.

3:29 PM: Moments after we published this, the probable-cause documents came in. They say the suspect and the victim who was killed were former friends who had been in a dispute for five years over a $200 debt. The victim, according to court documents, called his brother, who also is described as part of the debt dispute, to say the suspect “had, or was about to jump him” at the scene where the shooting later happened. The brother had been downtown but rushed to the scene, where he first saw the suspect’s car, a white Ford Crown Victoria (which was impounded at the arrest scene on Saturday morning):

The brother said it was thought that a fight was going to happen – instead, he told police, the suspect pulled out a gun and pointed it at him, so he ran, saying he then heard gunfire, and when he went back to the scene, officers were there, and the victim was lying in the street. The documents go on to say that police were familiar with the suspect and his car and knew that he lived in the 2600 block of SW Holden; they got a warrant to search the car and house. The car, found at the house, had gunshot damage. The court documents also say that while police were there, the suspect called, talked to his mother and to them, and said he would return to turn himself in, admitting he’d been involved in the shooting, and saying he had used a .40 caliber Glock handgun. Detectives say they found “several guns” in the house, including one of that type. Prosecutors have until Wednesday to file charges.

West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports: Car prowls; burglary

October 25, 2015 at 11:08 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 14 Comments

While recent days have brought major cases to West Seattle Crime Watch, the bulk of crimes in our area remain property crimes, and we have three reader reports to share tonight.

CAR PROWL: Rachel reports, “We are in the 8100 block of 24th Ave SW and our truck was broken into in our driveway. Non-damage, but they stole some men’s Ray-Ban sunglasses and our brand=new baby bag that had some clothes and diapers from our newborn. I know it’s a total long shot, but here is a picture of the bag in case anyone finds it. It was a gift and the best bag.”

ANOTHER CAR PROWL: Dale says, “Early Sunday morning, someone broke the side window of our small SUV. The alarm may have scared them off as nothing was taken. This is near 36th and Juneau. We’ve filed a report with the police.”

BURGLARY: From Kayla:

While I live slightly outside of West Seattle limits, I have friends who have seen the suspect vehicle all over Alaska Junction and want to get the word out.

My home (in the 10200 block of) 24th Ave SW was burglarized at 3:30 PM on Wednesday the 21st. My neighbor witnessed a white male, medium build, about 5’11″, in a metallic gold Toyota 4Runner parked in front of my home, which is sheltered and down a long driveway. He smashed my back door window to get in. Stole a safe with Social Security cards, birth certificates, passports, checks, credit cards, and wills. There was also an extensive collection of foreign currency and a key to each of our cars. Outside the safe he stole my class ring- silver with a pink stone and a picture of crossed tennis rackets, and my school’s mascot, an Indian. It was from Sterling High School class of 2003. There was also a medium K-bar knife and a gold ring with purple stones. I would appreciate it being posted in case anyone finds my things.

NEXT CRIME-PREVENTION MEETING: Tuesday (October 27) is the last meeting of the year for the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network – you don’t have to be a BW captain (or in a BW at all) to attend; all are welcome. 6:30 pm at the Southwest Precinct, 2300 SW Webster.

West Seattle Crime Watch update: Suspect jailed in double shooting that killed 1 man

October 24, 2015 at 5:19 am | In Crime, Delridge, West Seattle news | 77 Comments

(UPDATED 11 AM with confirmation of arrest)

(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)

ORIGINAL REPORT, 5:19 AM: Two people were shot in West Seattle early this morning; one did not survive. It happened before 2 am in the 6900 block of 23rd SW (map). Multiple 911 callers reported hearing gunfire; police say officers found the victims lying in the street. One was dead at the scene; the other was taken to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. No arrests reported so far; homicide detectives ask that anyone with information call 206-233-5000.

This is the first deadly shooting in West Seattle since December 31st, 2013, when 40-year-old Stephen Jeffries, Jr., was killed in the 9200 block of 16th SW, a murder that remains unsolved.

5:46 AM UPDATE: Detectives are still at the scene (photo above), where we just spoke with Homicide Unit Capt. Steve Paulsen. He tells WSB the victims are both men in their 20s, and that investigators believe an “altercation” preceded the gunfire. They’re still looking for others who might have been involved.

11 AM: More than two hours after a SWAT operation at 26th and Holden – less than a mile from the shooting scene – that resulted in one man being detained, police are confirming that a suspect in the shooting is in custody. We’re still working to confirm details.

1:44 PM: As we noted in the comment discussion, we’ve since found via other court documents that the 25-year-old man in jail right now for investigation of homicide lives or has lived at the 26th/Holden house where police converged this morning. He does not have a felony record; he was charged in connection with a nearby street robbery in 2009 but the case was dismissed. We might not find out much more before Monday but we’re still looking.

ADDED LATE SATURDAY NIGHT: We have learned a little about the man who was killed. We don’t know whether next of kin have all been notified, so we aren’t identifying him at this point, but he was 24, had a culinary career – working at a downtown restaurant – and was an alum of West Seattle High School. We are also told the man who survived is 34, not in his 20s as police had told us, but we don’t yet know anything more about him.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Pellet shooting; reader reports; SPD’s new Crime Data Dashboard

October 22, 2015 at 3:25 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 9 Comments

In West Seattle Crime Watch this afternoon – police are investigating what they believe was a pellet-gun shooting along Alki Avenue SW. The victim was injured around quarter past 1 this afternoon in the 1500 block of Alki SW. Police have no victim or suspect description so far. We’re still checking for more info on this. (Update: We’ve heard from the victim in comments.)

This afternoon we also have reader reports from the WSB inbox, starting with something else in the Alki area:

DIAPER BAG FOUND WITH CAR PROWL LOOT: Althea reports, “A black Marc and Jacobs diaper bag was found this morning in an alley near my house. A bike and wallet were also found. The wallet was taken from my car and returned to me but we are still looking for the owner of the diaper bag. We live near Alki Elementary.”

CARS VANDALIZED: Tuesday night, acid was poured on cars near 47th and Charlestown, according to a neighbor who forwarded the report.

CAR PROWLS: Sara says 48th SW in Seaview was hit on Tuesday:

I saw the burglar at 2:45 am getting into my neighbor’s SUV. He had a silver sedan with curved or slanted back. I’m not a car person, but it looks a bit like either an older Pinto or a mid-’80s Ford Escort. It looked like a man, med build, tall, was wearing knit cap, leather jacket over sweater, and jeans. Couldn’t tell anything else. Had flashlight and was looking around inside my neighbor’s car while he left his own car running. Tapped on glass. He heard something and took off fast, heading south down 48th. Note: I should not have disturbed him. I should have called 911 while he was in car. Called police after and they were quick to respond, but we might have caught him in the act if I hadn’t disturbed him.

CRIME-TREND ‘DASHBOARD’: You might have heard about this in citywide news – announced yesterday, but we didn’t get a chance to mention it. The SPD “Crime Data Dashboard” is a new way to check crime trends and data. It’s explained in this SPD Blotter item; find the dashboard, filterable by neighborhood, here.

VIDEO: Do you recognize this ‘person of interest’ in West Seattle arsons? Watch both clips

October 22, 2015 at 12:01 pm | In Crime, High Point, West Seattle news | 40 Comments

(SCROLL DOWN for additional video that appears to show fire-setting)

Just in from Seattle Police – video showing a “person of interest” in two of the West Seattle arsons, near 35th SW and SW Morgan:

Detectives have obtained video footage of a person of interest in the first two fires on October 12th. In that incident, two fires were set near the 3500 block of SW Morgan Street. The footage, recorded shortly before 2:30 AM on the 12th, shows an individual dressed in black and carrying a black bag walking toward the bus shelter, where the first fire was set. The surveillance camera did not capture the individual’s face, but police believe the person is a white or light-skinned male. Detectives are hoping someone out there will recognize the person’s clothing or may have seen him in West Seattle around the time of the fires.

If you have any information about this person or this case, please contact detectives at 206-684-8980 or call 911.

Screen grab (click image for larger view):

If you’ve missed previous coverage of the arsons, full backstory is in our “where it stands” report from Wednesday, to which we also added our video of what Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis told the Morgan Community Association last night.

5:54 PM UPDATE: In the past hour or so, SPD has substituted in its blotter post a longer clip for the original :12 one you see above. This one shows the actual fire-lighting:

West Seattle Crime Watch: Eye-catching car-prowl loot, and more

October 20, 2015 at 2:30 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

Three reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch this afternoon:


Someone broke into our car in the 6000 block on 42nd between Monday night and Tuesday morning and stole a GPS and 3 big bright blue bags containing ‘Begin with Books’ for kids that we had borrowed from the library. And a French 1 dvd, ‘Little Pim’ Eating and Drinking.

If anyone sees this, could they please return them to the library on our behalf? We were told that the thieves might just throw them in the bushes so we be in the lookout for them once they realize the bags had books in them.


3 of my neighbors have had their cars broken into at overnight in the last 4 weeks. 6900 block of 37th Ave SW. One of the cars was actually unlocked and the registration to the car was stolen. Another neighbor reported he found some of his missing items down the block. Seems like we have some bad mojo in Gatewood happening between the car prowls and the fires. Please let people know to be on the lookout for anything strange.

BREAK-IN: From Patricia:

Just want folks to know that there was a break-in (Monday) in North Admiral – during the day. Perpetrators barged through a chain ‘hold’ device on the door, and then broke the glass of an inside entry door with a hammer. Stole a bike, checkbook (later tried to cash a check at Bank of America in the main Junction), and also jewelry. Reported to police.

Finally, an **update**:

SFD AT TONIGHT’S CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL MEETING: Update from West Seattle Crime Prevention Council president Richard Miller about tonight’s meeting – Seattle Fire Engine 11′s crew has just been confirmed as the guest. Got a question about SFD? Come ask. And bring your neighborhood crime concerns for local SPD. 7 pm, Southwest Precinct, Webster/Delridge.

Neighborhood concern? West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets tomorrow

October 19, 2015 at 9:28 pm | In Crime, West Seattle Crime Prevention Council, West Seattle news | Comments Off

Whether it’s the arsons or some other concern that you’d like to ask and/or hear about, we’ve just confirmed that the monthly West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting IS on for tomorrow night (Tuesday, October 20th) at the Southwest Precinct, 7 pm. This is your one guaranteed chance each month to hear local crime trends firsthand from West Seattle police and to bring up anything that’s been going on in your neighborhood. The meeting room is next to the parking lot, which is off SW Webster just west of Delridge Way SW.

UPDATE: Morgan Junction toddler-murder suspect Alicia Goemaat pleads not guilty

October 19, 2015 at 9:20 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

9:20 AM: We’re at King County Superior Court, where accused toddler killer Alicia Goemaat has just appeared for arraignment. In the brief hearing, she pleaded not guilty, and a date was set for her to return to court in two weeks; nothing else was said. As reported here two weeks ago, she is charged with second-degree murder for kicking her boyfriend’s 17-month-old son Drue Lehto (family photo at left) so hard, he suffered fatal internal injuries. He died at the Morgan Junction apartment where Goemaat had lived for about half a year with Drue’s father and with her own son, a few months older than Drue. Goemaat remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail.

ADDED 10:28 AM: At right, we’ve added our courtroom photo of Goemaat, who is 20 years old, from this morning’s hearing. She was arrested at the apartment on October 1st, four days after Drue was found dead in his crib; court documents say she confessed to placing him there after kicking him twice, the first time so hard that he was knocked down, because, she said, she was mad that he and her son were fighting over a toy. Her next court appearance is set for November 3rd. This is the first West Seattle murder case in more than a year and a half.

UPDATE: Arson at High Point management office; police say no connection so far to Sylvan Heights car arsons

October 19, 2015 at 6:12 am | In Crime, High Point, West Seattle fires, West Seattle news | 24 Comments


6:12 AM: Another arson in the High Point area this morning – second morning in a row. As you can see in our photo, “arson” is the declaration on the sign that’s up at the Seattle Housing Authority-operated office on the northeast corner of 35th and Holly [map] after someone set a fire outside its basement entrance on the Holly side just after 3 am. No one was hurt. Seattle Police and Fire investigators are looking into this; it happened less than 24 hours after two cars were set ablaze in the Sylvan Ridge area on the southeast edge of High Point, about half a mile away, though there’s no word on whether this is related – we’ll be following up on that later this morning, and also re-inquiring about the 35th/Austin (ex-Red Star Pizza) fire early Thursday. Back to this morning’s fire – staffers are already at the office cleaning up after water damage and boarding a window; they say it will be open for business today.

11:16 AM: The building is also where the High Point Masjid As Sunnah mosque meets. We stopped again at the scene to check on the cleanup, and staff told us the SHA office side is what was damaged, not the mosque’s area.

SPD tells us they’ll have information to release later this hour, so we’ll have another update coming up.

11:39 AM: Here’s what SPD has just released via its “blotter,” saying they’re not seeing a connection so far between what happened this morning and what happened early Sunday:

Seattle police responded with Seattle fire to three intentionally set fires over the weekend in the High Point Neighborhood in West Seattle.

Police and firefighters responded to the 2700 block of SW Sylvan Heights on Sunday around 4:45 AM after receiving a report of two cars on fire.

Both vehicles were parked on the street and suffered significant damage before the flames were extinguished.

In a separate incident about 24 hours later, officers and firefighters responded to a fire in an entryway of a commercial building in the 6500 block of 35 Ave SW around 3:30 AM Monday. The fire caused exterior damage to the lower level of the building as well interior damage as the flames passed through a broken window.

SPD arson detectives are investigating the two incidents, but say they have not found anything connecting the cases. Police do not currently believe Monday’s fire on 35th Ave SW was set with the intent of targeting any of the tenants of three offices on the property.

Detectives are working with the Seattle Fire Department and our federal partners at ATF on these cases. If you have any information about these incidents, please call 911.

11:52 AM: We just called to doublecheck with SPD to be sure that by “three intentionally set fires” they meant the two cars plus this morning’s fire, not something additional, and Officer Lauren Lovanhill says yes, that’s what it means. She also confirms that the ex-Red Star Pizza fire from last week is NOT considered arson nor related in any way. (Later, SFD told us SPD is investigating that fire, though, because of its proximity.)

3:01 PM: If you haven’t seen our later story yet – fire broke out at this building again an hour ago, bringing a huge callout. We are covering this separately – go here.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Stolen bicycle to watch for

October 18, 2015 at 5:55 pm | In Crime, Delridge, West Seattle news | 10 Comments

Maybe you’ll find this stolen bicycle dumped in the bushes somewhere – that’s what happens to so many stolen bikes. From Kathleen:

Unfortunately today my 14 year old brother rode his bike to the Delridge Library and left it unlocked when he went inside and it was gone when he came out. It’s a red and white Trek bicycle in an older youth size. Sadly it was the last gift our mom gave him before she passed away of cancer so it also has great sentimental value. I’ve reported it to the police but we don’t have a picture or serial number so it’s a long shot to get it back. Hopefully someone will see it somewhere.

West Seattle Crime Watch: 2 cars set on fire in Sylvan Ridge

October 18, 2015 at 9:28 am | In Crime, West Seattle fires, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

(WSB photos)
9:28 AM: Two cars are seriously damaged after someone set them on fire in Sylvan Ridge, east of High Point, early this morning.

It happened around 4:40 am; the cars were parked in front of townhouses in the 2700 block of Sylvan Heights Drive [map]. Residents tell WSB the fire was set in some kind of container placed under the cars:

He also showed us damage inside his car, in the back seat, which held a car seat, not seen in our photo because the fire even triggered an airbag:

No one was hurt; another resident tells us the other burned car belongs to friends who were visiting from out of town, and she says fast action by neighbors kept the flames from spreading to nearby townhomes, which don’t have much setback from the street. This happened four days after an early-morning car fire at 30th and Graham, half a mile away; we never got final word on the cause of that one, but we’re checking with police about this morning’s fires and will be asking again about that one too.

12:50 PM UPDATE: Just talked with SPD spokesperson Officer Lauren Lovanhill. The 30th/Graham fire last week was NOT related – she says that report is in the system now and says the car owner was at the scene and told officers it seemed to be a mechanical problem that sparked when he was trying to start his car. She says that while the SPD Arson/Bomb Squad was notified about this morning’s incident, they didn’t go to the scene, so the investigation is in the hands of local officers, as well as the SFD investigator (Marshal 5), who did respond; no witnesses, so they have no suspect description(s) so far.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Vandals target decorations

October 15, 2015 at 4:31 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 47 Comments

4:31 PM: With two-plus weeks until Halloween, vandals went on an early rampage:

(Photo courtesy Nicole)
We’ve received multiple reports today of vandalism including pumpkins taken from doorsteps and yards and smashed in the street, and decorations (such as the headless skeleton, above) stolen and dumped, along streets both east and west of California, from at least 42nd SW to 49th SW, between roughly Hinds and Genesee. The skeleton, we’re told, has been claimed, but a few more items are still waiting to be found by their owners – Lara sent these photos of a metal pumpkin and Seahawks wreath that turned up on her block, near 42nd and Charlestown:

If you’re missing something, let us know so we can add it.

ADDED 5:44 PM: The photo and report are from Stephanie:

I wanted to add a photo to your article in regards to vandalism that occurred on Genesee Hill last night. Looks like they snatched a stroller to use for pumpkin transportation. There is a pumpkin stem in the seat. Hopefully someone will recognize this Bob stroller abandoned mid block on the west side of the street on 45th between Andover and Dakota. It is a faded lavender color.

FRIDAY P.S. Don’t miss the comments – in which the culprits are reported to have apologized.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Burglary in Morgan Junction

October 15, 2015 at 12:50 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | Comments Off

One brief West Seattle Crime Watch reader report … we’ve heard from another recent burglary victim. Sorayah in Morgan Junction reports, “My roommate and I had our house burglarized (Tuesday). They came in through our living room window, completely trashed the place, and stole a bunch of items. We live on the 6500 block of 42nd Ave SW.”

West Seattle Crime Watch: Restored pickup truck taken

October 13, 2015 at 11:42 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 6 Comments

Just got the photo via text from Aaron:

My “new” 1986 Toyota pickup I just bought and restored was just stolen from in front of my house at 44th and Dakota. License #C09191E.

If you see it – call 911 and refer to incident # 15-359078.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Another burglary; this week’s map/list

October 13, 2015 at 3:55 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

In West Seattle Crime Watch today – another burglary report:

I’d like to get the word out that my home on Fairmount Ave SW was burglarized yesterday during the daytime while my roommates were at work. I arrived home from a trip to see they broke a window in the kitchen & had stolen items from each of my roommates.

David says his house is toward the water end of Fairmount Ave. With reports of three other burglaries in recent days, we took the occasion today to check the SPD Police Report map, sorted for burglary reports, showing nine:

You can sort the map by crime type via controls on its left side (click the image above to go to the live map, where you can also see the locations of these and other crimes, plus time/date reported, by clicking each icon). But as we’ve noted in the past, the map has some omissions – for example, it’s not showing the business break-in in the 3400 block of California SW that was part of our coverage on Saturday. It’s not caught up with yesterday yet, so David’s break-in isn’t shown. And from Tweets by Beat (you can see the West Seattle sectors’ tweets any time on the WSB Crime Watch page), we also have these four:

-Reported this morning, 3200 block SW Morgan
-Reported last night, 9600 block 47th SW
-Reported Monday afternoon, 4400 block 42nd SW
-Reported Monday morning, 2nd SW/SW Michigan

So, by our compilation, that’s 15 burglaries reported in the past week, up from where things were trending at the last West Seattle-wide briefing.

CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: What happened between Gatewood burglary report and arrival

October 12, 2015 at 5:10 pm | In Crime, Gatewood, West Seattle news | 28 Comments

As promised, we’ve followed up today on Sunday morning’s burglary in the 8200 block of California SW, with a nearby resident seeing it happen and calling it in, but police not arriving until after the burglar was gone.

The 911 call was made at 11 am, as we reported on Sunday – the witness has record of that on a cell phone screen. The first officer to arrive at the house was shortly after quarter past – we happened to see it firsthand, because we are based a few blocks south and happened to be heading out on an errand at the time.

Here’s what SPD told us happened in the meantime.

*The dispatch went out at 11:03. An officer was headed to the house by 11:09.

*Before arrival, police got word the burglar(s) had left (11:14, the witness said), and so instead of proceeding immediately to the house, they tried to find the vehicle, using the description and plate (Washington AWB5824 – here’s a photo from the witness):

As the witness told us, they spotted a car they believed to be the vehicle, and they tried to pull it over – but the driver didn’t stop, and proceeded “in an unsafe manner,” as SPD put it, so officers were told to terminate the pursuit, which is SPD policy if it’s believed to be a threat to public safety. From the SPD pursuit policy, which you can read in full here:

…3. Officers Will Not Pursue Without Justification

The circumstances justifying the decision to pursue an eluding vehicle must be articulable at the time the officer initiates the pursuit.

Officers will not pursue solely for any one of the following:

- Traffic violations / Civil Infractions
- Misdemeanors
- Gross misdemeanors
- Property crimes
- The act of eluding alone

4. Officers Will Cease Pursuit When the Risk of the Pursuit Outweighs the Danger to the Public if the Suspect is not Captured

Following up on one other point from our original story – the SPD spokesperson with whom we spoke hadn’t seen anything about the mention of “shift change” and did not think that was related. The case is open, SPD verifies, and detectives have “good information” to follow up on.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Gatewood burglary; Admiral car prowl

October 11, 2015 at 7:53 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 22 Comments

Two West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports:

GATEWOOD BURGLARY: For at least the third time this weekend, there was a burglary on California SW. We reported Saturday on two business break-ins, in The Junction and South Admiral; today, burglars hit in Gatewood, in the 8200 block of California SW. A neighbor reports seeing the burglars break in and carry out “duffel bags and TVs” while the victims were away on an errand; the neighbor called 911, but the burglars were gone before police arrived. The neighbor called 911 at 11 am; she says police arrived after the burglars left at 11:14. (We happened to see the first car pull up, as this is a couple blocks away from WSB HQ and we were passing by.) The neighbor says the 911 operator mentioned “shift change” as a complication; we don’t know what else was happening in the sector at the time, as we were away from the scanner, but we’ll be following up with SPD tomorrow.

CAR PROWL: Karen e-mailed today to say that “our car was broken into Friday night. It was in front of our house on Hanford St SW, near 36th Ave. They smashed the passenger side window but we didn’t have anything worth taking, luckily.”

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