West Seattle, Washington
Three West Seattle Crime Watch notes:
CAR BREAK-IN: The victim of a car prowl in the Admiral Safeway lot around 4 pm yesterday called from her home phone to report this – she couldn’t e-mail because she would usually do that on her phone, and it was among the items stolen, along with a burgundy-colored Coach purse, “the large satchel type,” with a large gold emblem. It was “partly covered” on the passenger seat, and the thief broke out the passenger-side window to get it.
WHEELS/TIRES TAKEN: Tahira says her sister was visiting overnight Thursday/Friday when they woke up to find her car on blocks, wheels and tires taken:
It happened in Gatewood, next to Trinity Church at 35th/Austin.
BURGLARY FOLLOWUP: If you didn’t see this in comments yesterday – the surveillance image of the burglar who broke into Meeples Games (WSB sponsor) early Thursday has led to an ID, according to Laura Schneider from Meeples. No word of an arrest or stolen-property recovery yet, but knowing who it is was the first step, and she thanks everyone for both tips and for the expression of support.
P.S. Next crime-prevention-focused community meeting is the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council on April 19th, 7 pm, at the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster).
4:34 PM: That video just released by Seattle Police, 14 hours after the early-morning Highland Park Way crash that killed two people – including the driver of the stolen vehicle an officer was pursuing – shows the two minutes leading up to and including the crash.
Also new, via SPD Blotter, police say the driver of that car, a Honda taken at gunpoint in Beacon Hill about three hours earlier, was a 16-year-old boy. The update says that while a handgun was found in that car, detectives “do not yet know what role the 16-year-old played in this morning’s carjacking,” which happened on Beacon Hill.
Along with the video we have embedded above, SPD’s update also includes an audio clip from radio communication going back to the officer who first spotted the stolen vehicle near the Southwest Precinct.
The King County Medical Examiner did not release the teenager’s identity today but did identify the 21-year-old man killed in the westbound car he hit, a 1996 Honda Acura Integra, as Devin Francis. A dog found in the Acura was seriously hurt and rushed to an emergency vet but also died.
The SPD Blotter update quotes Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole as saying, “The collision that took the lives of two people this morning is devastating to the families of the deceased and the officers involved. My thoughts and prayers are with them all. SPD is conducting a thorough investigation around the circumstances that led to this event.”
SPD’s pursuit policy is online here.
ADDED 3:47 PM FRIDAY: The Medical Examiner has identified the 16-year-old who was killed as Kenneth Dion Williams, Jr.
Another business burglary overnight … this time at Meeples Games (WSB sponsor). Co-proprietor Laura Schneider shares the photo above from their surveillance camera, and a partial list of what the burglar stole:
This guy has been here before and knew exactly what he was doing so he may be identifiable by a reader. He’s small – a little over 5’ tall. He climbed around to the balcony and broke in the back.
Booster packs for Magic including OGW, BFZ, Origins, DTK, FRF, and KTK. Also YuGiOh! packs of Clash of Rebellions, Dimensions of Chaos, Breaker of Shadows and Dragons of Legend.
All of our FNM and Buy a Box promo cards, all of our red, green, black and white singles. He left the blue and the lands. A box of about 400 full art lands. Various other singles we are working to name, but here are a few:
A judge foil Dark Confidant
2 full art game day promo Languish
the WotC holiday promo Goblin Sleighride
foil Blightsteel Collasus
2 expedition Eye of Ugin
8 Eye of Ugin
4 Eldrazi Temple
4 GP Goblin Guides
various other cards we are working to identify
If you recognize the burglar and/or have any other information, please contact police. The incident number is 16000119105.
It’s the type of theft that thieves hope you won’t notice – taking one or both of your license plates. They might even leave a replacement behind. We heard from a plate-theft victim on Wednesday night:
We had the rear license plate of one of our cars stolen sometime (Tuesday) night. We have reported it to the police. L.P. is AZL3335. We are on 48th between Andover and Dakota. … The sad part is we had just, literally, put the plates on the car last night!
We had some interesting info on this crime category in this late-2014 Crime Watch report.
2:28 PM: If you’ve seen the police presence on Atlas Drive and, below it, in/around the 5900 block of Beach Drive – officers are searching for at least one suspected prowler/burglar. More to come.
2:38 PM: Our crew has arrived in the area and learned from a sergeant at the scene that the suspect(s) abandoned a car that’s been confirmed as stolen. A K-9 team is searching on Atlas and we can’t get close enough to verify, but the scanner described the vehicle as a silver Honda CR-V. Police also have found a knife believed to have been dropped by the/a suspect as they fled downhill from Atlas to Beach.
2:52 PM: A suspect is now in custody, found on Beach Drive (photo added below):
ADDED 5:37 PM: The car was towed to the SPD evidence facility in SODO. Thanks to James for the photo:
As reported here last night, the first official public discussion of the West Seattle illegal-tree-cutting case is set for this Thursday morning at the next meeting of the City Council’s Parks, Seattle Center, Waterfront, and Libraries Committee. According to the just-published agenda, the presenters will be Seattle Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre, Transportation Director Scott Kubly, and, from the City Attorney’s Office, Joseph Groshong. The presentation is about more than the West Seattle case – as shown in the slide deck above, which accompanies the agenda, it’s titled “Tree Stewardship Presentation,” but if you scroll through to page 4, it moves to information about vandalism and enforcement, and then the West Seattle case on page 7. If you can’t be there in person – one incentive: the agenda includes a public-comment period – you will be able to watch live via the Seattle Channel, cable 21 or online at seattlechannel.org.
Two bicycles in this Crime Watch report:
STOLEN: That’s Tony‘s bicycle, stolen Sunday night from “inside my apartment building” at California/Mills [map] – Tony is a relatively recent arrival to the area, so the theft is an unpleasant “welcome.” A police report is filed. If you’ve seen it, please contact SPD, and let us know too.
FOUND: In case you hadn’t seen this posted in the WSB Forums, a black mountain bike turned up at 37th and Trenton [map]. Almost always, that means “stolen and dumped.” We already checked – not Tony’s bike. This one is Specialized brand, for starters.
As first reported here last Friday, the City Council got a closed-door briefing today on the West Seattle illegal tree-cutting case. We checked afterward with Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who had told us this was going to happen. Her reply: “The briefing was an Executive Session briefing about the legal strategy moving forward. What I can say is that the City Law Department is fully engaged in pursuing remedies that include both civil and criminal penalties and are working with SPD in the investigation necessary for both. Sorry for nothing new to report specifically, but I think it’s a testimony to the Council’s serious consideration of these actions that we all received a briefing.”
Herbold did actually mention one specific new item – she says the tree-cutting situation will be discussed, publicly, at Thursday morning’s meeting of the Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries, & Waterfront Committee (9:30 am, City Hall). No agenda yet. Herbold’s not a member of the committee but plans to attend.
11:50 AM: Late last night, we published this Crime Watch report featuring a look at the West Seattle auto thefts shown on the SPD crime-reports map for the preceding week. This morning, another one to add, reported by Dianna:
My fiance’s white 1991 Acura Integra, 2-door hatchback, was stolen sometime either Friday evening after 8 pm or Saturday on Hill Street (near the intersection of Hill St. & Ferry Ave.), right across from the Admiral Congregational Church. His license plate is 641XDA. His car was parked right at the triangle park, where the temporary fire station used to be.
If you see, or have seen it, please call 911 – and then consider commenting below.
2:21 PM: Dianna just sent word that her fiance’s car was found nearby, with “items stolen from the car (red tool box with random craftsman wrenches and tools).”
West Seattle Crime Watch starts tonight with a reader report:
HIT-RUN: Wendy reports, “Our car was hit last night sometime between 10 pm and 7 am, the car was parked across from Ercolini Park. The driver took out our side mirror. Sharing this in case someone saw something. A police report was filed.” It happened on 48th SW, west of the park.
CAR THEFTS: Another of our periodic category checks from the SPD crime-report map – vehicle thefts reported in the past ~week:
The live map is not embeddable, but if you go there and sort for vehicle theft, you’ll find the map above, with these reports from north to south:
Tuesday night, 2600 block 39th SW
Wednesday night, 3200 block Avalon Way
Friday night, 3600 block SW Brandon
Wednesday night, 5900 block 37th SW
Last Friday night (reported Saturday 3/26), 6300 block 42nd SW
Sunday afternoon, 3200 block SW Morgan
Sunday night, 7300 block 29th SW
Last Saturday night (reported Sunday), 2400 block SW Holden
Monday night, 8400 block 6th SW
Friday night, 8800 block 8th SW
No specifics (car description, etc.) are included in what’s mapped; while SPD still tweets vehicle thefts at @getyourcarback, they still don’t include any location or incident-number information (we’ve asked). That’s why we appreciate reader reports so we can publish complete info (firstname.lastname@example.org or text 206-293-6302) – we did get and publish this one for the Friday night theft at Westcrest. If you see what you think might be a stolen vehicle, call 911.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
We have yet to get an incident number from SPD, though we requested it today.
City Attorney Pete Holmes, meantime, is expected to brief the City Council on the tree-cutting case behind closed doors on Monday.
That’s according to City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, with whom we spoke during a break in her second round of “district office hours” this afternoon in The Junction. The agenda for Monday’s weekly council “briefing” meeting ends with two separate items labeled only “executive session on pending or potential litigation” – executive session means it’s closed to the public.
Herbold also noted that she has called for a look at the current laws and penalties and whether they could be toughened, as has been called for in this citizen-initiated online petition.
Seen Whitney’s car? Just out of the WSB inbox:
1994 Honda Accord stolen from Westcrest Park Off Leash Area. Around 6:00 pm April 1st. Light green, two door. Pima Medical Institute sticker up front on driver’s side corner. With broken passenger headlight. Green middle sticker on bottom back window. License plate number AUH9649. Please help me find this vehicle! If seen, message me at (970) 596-9574.
1:10 PM: As first reported here last week, serial arsonist Jacob Kokko has pleaded guilty to three charges – one, reduced as part of a plea bargain – and is being sentenced today. We’re in the courtroom of King County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell and will chronicle the hearing live as it happens.
Kokko has been in jail since his arrest almost five months ago. The recommended sentence is for the time he has served – which is almost as long as the maximum possible penalty, given that he has no criminal record.
His lawyer told the judge, “He’s a good kid, you’re not going to see him again … He was crying for help, and he’s going to get the help that he needs.” His lawyer says Kokko will be responsible for getting that help.
He spoke briefly at the judge’s invitation and said this was a “turning point” in his life and that he is aware that this will affect the rest of his life. (We have his full statement on video and will add it when back at headquarters.) He said he would be going back to college, where he has two years’ credit and was majoring in psychology.
Judge Ramsdell is going along with the recommended sentencing so far, a suspended year – provided he stays out of trouble – in jail, plus as-yet-undetermined restitution, 50 hours of community service, and credit for jail time served otherwise (147 days total), meaning he will be going free shortly.
While details of the crimes were not discussed here in court, documents indicated Kokko, 22, had acknowledged setting four fires – outside the Senior Center and Hamm Building in The Junction on Halloween night, outside a house on his block in High Point earlier, and the 35th/Morgan bus-stop fire caught on the surveillance video that led to his arrest – but denied involvement in the others that were suspected to be part of the same spree.
1:26 PM: No one else has spoken at the hearing other than Kokko, the lawyers, and judge – no victims, no family members – and it’s now over (after many mostly silent moments of paperwork-signing), with the judge saying “Good luck to you, sir” and a deputy re-handcuffing Kokko to return to jail (processing for release usually takes at least a few hours).
From Erin, near 31st and Holly in High Point [map]:
We had a scary situation we wanted to report to you about an attempted intrusion to our home this morning in High Point.
My husband was downstairs in the kitchen at 4:45 am, when he noticed a man with a backpack walk up the alley (heading toward the street). Moments later our security panel chimed saying the garage (side) door had opened. My husband opened the side door to the house and found the guy he’d just seen with the backpack standing inside our garage!
The man claimed he and his friends thought our house was abandoned. After my husband informed him our house was not abandoned (nor were any of the houses on the street) the man left our property. We called the police this morning and filed a report.
The officer reminded us to always call the police immediately and not approach these guys because you never know if someone has a weapon or some other intention, and of course to lock all doors. Typically our garage is always locked but we had forgotten to do so after some extensive repair work and been done on it the previous day.
The man was African American, 5’11”, wearing a shiny gray wind pants, zip up hoodie, and square backpack.
Just a reminder to everyone to stay vigilant!
Three reports in tonight’s West Seattle Crime Watch roundup:
CHURCH BURGLARY: Thanks for the tips. Another non-residential Junction break-in – what was on the Tweets by Beat log as a “commercial burglary” reported Tuesday morning in the 4100 block of 42nd SW was a break-in at Holy Rosary Church, according to police report details we were finally able to obtain today. The report says someone got in through a window and stole items including cash and credit cards, but left behind “evidence” that police have collected and are following up on.
TIRE SLASHING: John reports from North Delridge:
I just want to let you know that several cars including one of my own had their tires cut last night. All the cars were parked on 28th Ave SW across the street from The Dragonfly Pavilion Park Between Yancy and Nevada. I have heard this is a growing problem in West Seattle.
PROWLER ON VIDEO: From the Shorewood/Arbor Heights area:
I wanted to send you a video I caught (Tuesday) at my house of a prowler. We had numerous packages stolen last week and set up this camera.
Nothing was stolen (so far as) we can tell.
The area the man is seen walking into, and emerging from, leads to and from the house’s side yard and backyard. A police report is filed – #2016-108242 – if you have any information.
Thanks for the tips and reports – 206-293-6302 text/voice if urgent, email@example.com if not – as long as you have already called 911/SPD!
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Whether or not they’re directly responsible for the illegal tree-cutting in the Duwamish Head Greenbelt, nearby property owners may be taxed for it, sooner rather than later.
Checking the status of the investigation and other revelations, we found out today from City Councilmember Lisa Herbold that the King County Assessor has received a “constituent request (to) increase 2016 real-estate tax to reflect View Property status.” She says the Assessor’s Office already “has sent division directors out to visit the site and will be sending an appraisal team out shortly.”
Speaking of valuation, Herbold told us there’s something else that she’s emphasizing to the City Attorney’s Office and others who are investigating:
I want to be sure the evaluation of the value of the trees takes into account the role the trees play in maintaining soil stability in an environmentally critical area by absorbing water, thus lessening the risk of landslides onto a major arterial.
Further, trees maintain air quality by absorbing carbon —an important issue in West Seattle, which sits adjacent to SODO and the Duwamish industrial area. The Green Cities Research Alliance 2012 Report, Seattle’s Forest Ecosystem Values, has additional information about Seattle’s trees, estimated to have a replacement value of $4.9 billion — an important capital asset.
If you’ve been away or are otherwise just tuning into this, The Seattle Times broke the news last Friday night that the city was investigating the illegal cutting of more than 100 trees on parcels owned by the city Parks and Transportation Departments in the Duwamish Head Greenbelt, north of 35th SW and northwest of 34th SW/City View.
We followed up on Saturday and on Monday, which is when the City Attorney’s Office disclosed the cutting was brought to the city’s attention in January, and that a lawyer for at least one of the guilty parties had written to the city about it in early February. We published a statement from lawyer Clayton Graham in our Monday report. We now also have a copy of his February 5th letter and the proposed restoration-plan outline, both obtained from the City Attorney’s Office. Here’s the letter (PDF); below is the restoration-plan outline, which Graham said on Monday was provided to the city on March 9th. The city stresses that it has NOT approved the plan; we publish it to show you what was proposed before this all came to light:
RESTORATION ACTIVITY OUTLINE
Hire contractor approved by SPRD for following activities:
SITE PREPARATION Spring/Summer 2016
Install erosion control along perimeter of site per SPRD and DPD guidelines
Move cut logs to accommodate work and utilize as erosion control and terraces as possible
Invasive Shrub/Vine Removal following SPRD guidelines within perimeter of exposed canopy
Invasive Tree Removal/Herbicide (if necessary) under SPRD guidelines within perimeter
Broadcast Herbicide (if necessary) under SPRD guidelines within perimeter
Mulch to a depth of no greater than 6” consisting of arborist chips, straw or burlap will be installed across area to suppress weeds, increase moisture retention and limit erosion potential
PLANTING Fall/Winter (2016)
Install trees, shrubs, groundcovers in species and numbers as prescribed by Green Seattle Partnership – SPRD guidelines for similar sites.
Planting will be done in the suggested mosaic for the site with adaptation for existing native plants.
Location and species of trees planted to be determined based on discussion with City staff and owners’ urban forester.
IRRIGATION Winter/Spring (2016)
Installation of a temporary water reservoir and drip irrigation system in the spring is requested. Water will be supplied by adjacent property owner
If system is not approved contractor will be engaged for 3 seasons of watering and continued invasive species control and erosion monitoring
ESTABLISHMENT WEED CONTROL Spring-Summer (2017-2020)
Invasive weed control and plant health monitoring will be contracted for three growing seasons to assure success of plantings and site
Again, that is what the one unidentified homeowner proposed in early February, and it has not been approved by the city. Graham’s Monday statement said he and his clients “offered to provide a detailed restoration plan (complete with tree size, species, placement and ongoing care obligations) from our client’s urban forester when the City was ready to review it.” (Since that apparently has not yet been received by the city, we’re asking Graham if his client would make it public.)
Whether it’s from that plan or not, will the city take any action to start restoring the cut slopes before it’s decided whether those responsible will be prosecuted, and how they will be penalized? We asked the Parks Department that question yesterday and are still awaiting the answer.
Finally, if you haven’t already seen it in our previous story’s comment thread, this online petition is in circulation, asking the City Council to toughen the laws governing incidents like this.
If we get any more new information today, we’ll add it to this story.
ADDED 4:59 PM: Parks spokesperson Christina Hirsch‘s reply to our question about whether any immediate restoration work is planned:
Right now we are working with our own restoration experts and are also consulting with outside advisers to figure out the plan to restore this area. This is a unique situation and restoration will be a challenge, both because of the scope of the damage and because it is such a sensitive and environmentally critical area. Because the situation is so severe, it could take years to get the area back to where it needs to be. Restoring this area is something that we need to do and we are working diligently with our team to put together a plan. We don’t have a complete timeline for restoration, but we do know that restoration in this area will not be something we can complete in one attempt; we will have to work on restoration on an ongoing basis.
Four notes in West Seattle Crime Watch:
SEEN THIS STOLEN CAR? Susumu e-mailed Tuesday to say his silver 2-door 1997 Honda Civic stolen from the apartment parking lot at 6901 Delridge late March 19 or early March 20, plate AYL1636, is still missing. Call 911 if you see it.
SHOPLIFTING CASE #1: Two shoplifting suspects who police say had fled the RiteAid store south of The Junction wound up crashing at 41st and Brandon Tuesday evening.
At least one person was in custody – we had to break away from the scene to go to the 15th/Henderson crash so that’s all we know so far.
SHOPLIFTING CASE #2: Mike from Sound Advice (the Verizon store in The Junction) reports two iPhones were shoplifted on Tuesday while the store was full of customers. The two shoplifters were caught on HD video that is already in police hands, he says.
HIT-RUN: Shelly sent word of this last night:
Everyone keep a lookout for a red/maroon sedan with substantial front end damage. Saturday at about 6 am, it bumped into my neighbors cars, then smashed into my car and took off. They hit my car so hard it jumped the curb and caused substantial damage. The police have pieces of their car as well as descriptions of the people/car, but any leads would be super helpful. This happened on 30th between Myrtle and Othello.
Thanks for the tips and reports – 206-293-6302 text/voice if urgent, firstname.lastname@example.org if not – as long as you have already called 911/SPD!
4 PM: We’ve obtained new information today about the investigation of more than 100 trees cut on city-owned Duwamish Head Greenbelt slopes in East Admiral. First report came from The Seattle Times late Friday night; we published a much-commented followup on Saturday (including maps showing exactly where it happened). Today – first weekday since this all came to light, though it happened weeks ago – we contacted the City Attorney’s Office with some questions. City Attorney Pete Holmes had gone out to the site on Saturday and met with City Councilmember Lisa Herbold. Holmes’ spokesperson Kimberly Mills has just sent the replies to our questions, which included, how did the city find out about it, where does the investigation stand, and even, what ARE those metal tags on the stumps for? Mills writes:
A neighbor in the area contacted SDOT arborist Nolan Sundquist in January to alert him to some number of trees being cut.
Early last month a private attorney for two of the area homeowners wrote the Parks Department, seeking a way to, in my words, make things right with the City. We do not know who actually cut the trees or how many homeowners were in the group seeking their services.
That letter was forwarded on Feb. 14 to our Torts Section, which hired a private company to determine what it would take to reforest the area (which is about 1.5 acres (two-thirds SDOT and one third Parks).
(Saturday WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)
The tags were placed by (the company).
We also asked if there’s an SPD report number for this. Not yet, Mills replied, but says Holmes “has asked that the matter be investigated.” She quotes him as adding, “We’re going to make sure the City is made whole as well as try to deter future conduct,” and calling the area “incredibly fragile.”
Mills notes that “the estimated damages are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, which is way out of our misdemeanor ballpark. This could be a felony.” If you have information that might help in the investigation, call SPD’s non-emergency number, 206-625-5011.
P.S. If you saw helicopter activity over east West Seattle earlier – it’s related to this, as TV helicopters took their first chance for aerial views of the damage.
ADDED 5 PM: Just out of the WSB inbox:
I am sharing this statement on behalf of a client who, along with other neighbors, hired a landscaping business to top and prune some trees to improve the view from their respective residences. After limited discussions with the contractors, my client returned from an out-of-town trip to find the scene shown in the news reports: To our clients’ surprise and dismay, several trees were cut at or near the base, as opposed to just limited pruning work.
I was retained soon thereafter, with instructions to disclose this work to the City, offer to restore any damage caused by the work, and coordinate full restoration of the site with the City. We hired an experienced urban forester (who used to work with the City on this exact type of site restoration) to advise on an appropriate scope of work to restore the site. We reported the cutting work to the City in a letter dated February 5, 2016. We shared our urban forester’s conceptual restoration proposal with the City Attorney’s office on March 9, 2016, and offered to provide a detailed restoration plan (complete with tree size, species, placement and ongoing care obligations) from our client’s urban forester when the City was ready to review it.
We understand the City is still evaluating its options, as well as what work will be necessary to restore the damage to this site. We believe the work affected far fewer than the 150 trees and the “one acre” of City-owned land that has been cited in the news reports. I believe this is because the City’s current damage assessment for this hillside includes another area of cutting (immediately to the south on the other side of some blackberry bushes) that was not done by our client’s contractors. In any event, our client remains ready, willing, and able to work with the City to restore the area affected by their contractors’ work.
In sum, these neighbors made a mistake by authorizing this work. They have the utmost respect for City Parks and its property, and commit to make every effort to make this right. After discussing this matter in detail with the urban forester they retained, my clients are optimistic that the site can be fully restored.
Clayton P. Graham
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Today’s West Seattle Crime Watch roundup starts with a message to (and picture of) a toy thief:
TOYS TAKEN: The message accompanying that photo:
To the fine gentleman in the tan Kia Sorrento who stole all of my kids’ toys from my front porch on Atlas Place at 11:30 am on Sunday morning: Just a quick suggestion before you play with the red fire truck in particular – give it a good scrubbing. My neighbor’s pomeranian recently mistook it for a fire hydrant.”
ARE THESE YOURS? Sarah‘s car was prowled – and somebody else’s stuff was left behind:
Hi, I came home last night around midnight and found my car door open, with someone else’s black purse and a pair of shoes in the front seat. I assume I interrupted a car prowler who ran off when my uber pulled up. I’d like to try returning the items to their owners, I live on 24th and Cloverdale and assume they came from nearby.
Missing a purse and/or shoes? Let us know.
Also over the weekend:
7-11 ROBBED: Another armed robbery at the South Delridge 7-11. We just talked with SPD to get a few more details, after seeing it on the Tweets by Beat log. It happened around quarter till midnight on Saturday night; the clerk at the store was held up by a man and woman with a gun. They made off with cash and cigarettes. A K-9 team helped officers search but they didn’t find the robbers.
And a followup:
STOLEN CAR FOUND: A comment on our Friday report about a car theft in The Triangle says it was found over the weekend in Federal Way.
We hope you *never* have anything to share for Crime Watch – but if something does happen, once you have reported it to police (911 if it just happened or is happening now), please let us know so we can keep your neighbors all around the peninsula informed – police-report/scanner info is not as readily available as you’d think so you’re the best source – 206-293-6302, text/voice 24/7, or email@example.com – thanks!
(UPDATED 7:27 PM with additional information from Councilmember Herbold)
Story by Tracy Record
Photos by Christopher Boffoli
“Is THAT the clearcut?”
The question came from someone we passed while walking up from the first East Admiral street end where we’d stopped to seek an overview of the city-owned slope where, as first reported by The Seattle Times last night, 100+ trees have been cut illegally.
We were in the wrong place but subsequently found the two street ends where you can see the trees’ remains firsthand: 33rd and City View, where a short trail leads north to an overview of the south end of the area, and the north end of 35th SW, where you can look directly onto the slashed slope. Those areas are below and to the left of the “AW1” designation in the Green Seattle Partnership map we’ve embedded below:
Two West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports today:
CAR STOLEN FROM THE GROVE: The photos above and below are from The Grove/West Seattle Inn, where the general manager’s vehicle was stolen around 6:45 this morning.
The missing vehicle is a “white ’89 Toyota 4Runner with gray graphics on the side. There are no major modifications or noticeable body damage. The license plate is Washington State and reads (B31-606V). The Police have been contacted and have made a report.” If you have any information about the whereabouts or knowledge of a possible suspect please call 911, and GM John at 760-709-0321.
ATTEMPTED BURGLARY AT MIDWIVES’ CLINIC: In addition to the burglaries we listed in last night’s Crime Watch, we’ve heard about one more, from the victims: Taylor at In Tandem Midwifery, 4522 44th SW, e-mailed to report: “Someone tried to break into our office the night before last. … Our incident occurred at our back door, from inside the secured apartment building. They didn’t get in, which is lucky for us as they would have been terribly disappointed and more likely to cause damage. … We don’t keep an patient data, meds or valuables in the office so we aren’t really sure why we were targeted.”
(Reader photo, courtesy Aaron: October arson outside Senior Center)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
After 4 1/2 months in jail, West Seattle serial arsonist Jacob Kokko has pleaded guilty – and could go free as soon as he’s sentenced.
A plea bargain sent him to court on Thursday to admit to three crimes, one a lesser charge than the original ones filed, according to court documents we found during a routine check online early today.
(WSB photo: October arson outside Hamm Building)
Kokko, 22, was arrested last November and charged in connection with three October arsons – two in The Junction, outside the Senior Center and the historic Hamm Building (home to businesses including Easy Street Records, Twilight Gallery, and Alaska Street Tattoo Parlor), and one outside a house on the same block in High Point where he lives.
The charges at the time were second-degree arson (a Class B felony), and second-degree reckless burning and third-degree malicious mischief (both gross misdemeanors). In the plea bargain, the first charge – related to the Senior Center fire – was reduced to first-degree reckless burning (a Class C felony); the other two remained the same.
Kokko, who has no prior criminal record, was arrested after a series of arsons including those fires unnerved West Seattleites for weeks. He has never been charged in the other fires during that same time period – police say he confessed to one fire in which he was not charged, the bus-stop arson on Morgan south of 35th on October 12th (shown on the surveillance video that led to his arrest), but denied any involvement in the October 18th Sylvan Ridge car arsons, the October 19th High Point rental-office waste-bin fire that did more damage in a later flareup, or the October 21st 40th/Morgan recycling-bin fire.
As for the potential penalty:
The recommendation accompanying Kokko’s guilty pleas is for a sentence of “credit for time served” in jail, which will be almost five months by his scheduled sentencing date – that’s longer than the standard “up to 60 days” sentence for someone with no criminal record. Also recommended, a year in jail that will be suspended unless he fails to make it through a year of probation. He would also be recommended for 50 hours of community restitution work and to pay monetary restitution, determined at a future date, to the victims of the four fires to which he has confessed.
The documents give no further hint of a motive; last fall, Kokko was quoted as saying he set the fires because he needed help.
Kokko is scheduled to be sentenced at 1 pm April 1st by King County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell.