Followup: Driver found guilty of assault for hitting bike rider in North Delridge

November 21, 2014 at 12:55 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 36 Comments

More than a year after a charge was filed, there’s a verdict in the case of a woman charged with assault for deliberately driving her car into a co-chair of the North Delridge Neighborhood Council. According to court files, King County Superior Court jury has found 38-year-old Erika Soerensen guilty of second-degree assault against 33-year-old Jake Vanderplas. After two days of deliberations, jurors reached the verdict this past Wednesday, two weeks after proceedings began with pre-trial motions.

The assault happened near 26th SW/SW Andover on July 8, 2013, and first came to light later that day in a letter by Vanderplas, sent to and published by Seattle Bike Blog later that day. Police found Soerensen six days later, slowed by the fact it had a California plate but had been sold to her a few months earlier; prosecutors charged her in October with second-degree assault, of which she has now been found guilty.

The investigation indicated that Soerensen had first passed Vanderplas “at a high rate of speed” while northbound on 26th SW, a neighborhood-greenway street; he then passed her, and after following him at 20 mph for several blocks, repeatedly honking her horn, she swerved into Vanderplas, who suffered a hand injury, and then she drove away; police tracked her down about a week later. As noted in charging documents, her 2002 Nissan Sentra “has a curb weight of 2,519 pounds” while Vanderplas’s 2007 Schwinn LeTour bicycle weighs about 30 pounds.

Her sentencing is set for January 9th, in the courtroom of Judge Regina Cahan, who presided over the trial. The standard range for that crime is three to nine months’ imprisonment.

2nd SW hit-and-run crash victim looking for witnesses

November 20, 2014 at 11:49 pm | In Crime | Comments Off

Just as we were heading to the Delridge/Brandon crash scene this evening, we heard another call, a crash at 2nd SW/West Marginal Way. We weren’t able to make it there, and no serious injuries were reported, but we’ve just learned via e-mail from one of the victims, a West Seattleite, that it was a hit-and-run:

I’m one of three parties who were victim to a hit & run at 4:45 pm today. The fourth vehicle that caused the chain reaction turned around and sped off in the opposite direction.

It was dark, but a pedestrian at the side of the road (2nd Ave SW, just south of West Marginal Way SW) said the vehicle that fled the scene was a dark Dodge pick-up truck, probably 6 or 7 years old. (I can only confirm what I saw in my rear-view mirror: a DARK PICK-UP TRUCK.) It will have front end damage to this extent: The guilty party struck the car ahead, pushing it into the next car (totaling it), which then struck my vehicle.

If anyone has any information, call Seattle Police SW Precinct: (206) 733-9800 Incident #14-388737.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Sex-sting arrest in restaurant parking lot

November 20, 2014 at 1:43 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 24 Comments

ORIGINAL REPORT, 1:43 PM: You might have seen/heard regional-media reports last night about a 60-year-old man described as an Everett firefighter, arrested in a Seattle sex sting. Seattle Police have just released a little more information about the case, including noting that the arrest happened in West Seattle. This afternoon’s SPD Blotter report says the man was arrested …

… Wednesday afternoon after he showed up for a rendezvous with an underage prostitute, who turned out to be an undercover detective.

The Vice/High-Risk Victims Unit (HRVU) detective had exchanged messages with the 60-year-old firefighter during an online sting targeting men looking for sex with underage girls, and the man had agreed to meet up for sex.

The suspect showed up to meet what he believed was an underage prostitute in West Seattle, and detectives took him into custody.

We expect to have more information after the man’s bail hearing this afternoon and will update this report.

3:41 PM: We have just received the court document with the police account of what happened, following the suspect’s bail hearing (he’s now held in lieu of $50,000 bail). Will transcribe here. First, to answer your most likely question, already asked in comments (and we had a call out to police, as-yet unanswered), “where did this happen?”: The initial rendezvous was set to happen in the Taco Time parking lot in The Triangle, and the suspect was expecting to follow his contact (the nonexistent 15-year-old’s “father”) to an apartment from there. Adding …

Click to read the rest of West Seattle Crime Watch: Sex-sting arrest in restaurant parking lot…

Followup: What police are now saying about possible luring attempt

November 19, 2014 at 1:40 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 34 Comments

1:40 PM: Following up on the incident that first came to light as an alert sent by e-mail and robo-call to Arbor Heights Elementary parents late yesterday, reported here last night along with additional information we sought from police last night, here’s what SPD Blotter has just published:

Detectives are investigating a possible luring incident Monday in West Seattle.

A 12-year-old boy was walking to school around 9 AM when a black Ford pickup truck pulled alongside him in the 1600 block of 23rd Ave SW. The driver in the truck then spoke to the boy, who kept walking. The truck then sped away.

The boy’s father was driving just ahead of the boy—to keep an eye on him as he walked to school—and witnessed the brief encounter. After seeing the truck drive off, the father picked up his son, who reported the man has asked him to help with an errand.

The boy’s father then drove through the neighborhood and caught up to the truck, and jotted down the license plate number. The father then dropped his child off at school and contacted police about the incident.

Officers went to the home where the they believed the truck’s driver was living, but residents at the house said he had not been there in more than a month.

Detectives in SPD’s Sexual Assault Unit are investigating and have identified a level-one sex offender—who is connected with the truck—as a person of interest in the case.

ADDED 3:06 PM: And now Seattle Public Schools has sent the following message to “West Seattle school families” (thanks to the Arbor Heights parent who was first to forward it to us:

Dear West Seattle schools families,

I want to share with you information on a recent event that was reported in our community. Earlier this week, Seattle Police received information regarding a male stranger driving up to a Denny International Middle School youth as he walked to school, asking him to get in the vehicle. The student refused and fled. The student’s parent was nearby and called Seattle Police with the stranger’s vehicle description and license number. That same afternoon, the parent reported to Seattle Police that the same stranger and vehicle were outside Denny after school, though there was no report to police or school administration that any students were approached by the man. Seattle Police have investigated and determined the owner of the vehicle is listed as a registered sex offender.

The Denny student did everything right, immediately getting away from the stranger and reporting the incident to his parent, and the parent was very proactive gathering vehicle information and license number.

The safety of our students is a top priority for Seattle Public Schools. You can help your children stay safe by talking to them about personal safety. As a reminder, please talk to your child(ren) about walking in pairs or groups and being aware of their surroundings at all times, as well as not talking to strangers or getting into their vehicles. Having these conversations, especially with younger children, can be difficult. We encourage you to be sensitive to your child. This link to the Seattle Police website offers some valuable information which may help you with your discussions: http://www.seattle.gov/police/prevention/child/default.htm

Sincerely,
Seattle Public Schools

THURSDAY UPDATE: Police added a few lines to the blotter post, saying they have found and talked to the man:

SPD detectives have contacted and interviewed the person of interest in this case. The man was very forthcoming with information about the incident. Investigators are currently checking out details he provided to rule out any criminal activity on his part.

Update: ‘Attempted child luring’ reported in school alert – what we’ve since found out

November 18, 2014 at 6:10 pm | In Crime, Delridge, Safety, West Seattle news | 34 Comments

6:10 PM: Thanks to the Arbor Heights Elementary and K-5 STEM parents who forwarded this, which they said they’ve received from school staff via e-mail and robo-call this past hour or so:

There has been a report of an attempted child luring in the vicinity of our school. The vehicle is a black F-150 Ford pickup, driven by a heavy-set, older black male. The license of the truck is B060—. The police were notified, and the subject is a registered sex offender. The suspect has not been apprehended. Please be aware and talk with your children about keeping safe. More information to follow tomorrow.

That’s the entirety of the notice, at least in the version forwarded to us. STEM and AH are currently sharing the Boren Building at 5950 Delridge Way SW. We are checking with police, who will be at tonight’s Crime Prevention Council meeting (7 pm at the precinct, Delridge/Webster) if we don’t reach them sooner.

7:06 PM UPDATE: Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske has been looking into this for us. He finally found the incident report and says it happened yesterday – it was originally called in as a different type of incident, and while investigating that, they say, a child told them of being approached by the person described in the alert, so they are now looking for that person. (We only had a quick comment to speak with him before the WSCPC meeting – if we’re able to get any more info afterward, we’ll add.)

8:49 PM UPDATE: So far what we’ve found out, from covering the Crime Prevention Council meeting, is that this was reported yesterday afternoon and the report is categorized missing child/suspicious vehicle (again, the child is safe, and was not abducted or otherwise harmed, we’re told). The registered sex offender who is believed to be the suspect does not live in the West Seattle area. The report carries the address 26xx SW Kenyon, which is the Denny IMS vicinity, but short bits of info on police reports can carry the address from which an incident is reported instead of where it happened, so we’re still awaiting confirmation of where exactly the child was approached. (Added: 6900 block Delridge, per police)

WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE: We’re continuing to follow up with police and Seattle Public Schools. In comments, two STEM parents have shared this text of a followup message from their principal:

I received several inquiries about a school messenger sent out by Arbor Heights yesterday concerning an alleged child luring incident. The information contained in the message was shared by a parent, and we were not able to confirm several details after conferring with SPS security or the police, and so we were advised not to send an alert. Because of the questions, I am sending out an update of information we were able to confirm.
.
On Monday, November 17 the driver of a black Ford 150 truck with a roof rack was acting suspiciously while talking with a 7th grade Denny Scholar on his walk to school. The driver was reported as being a heavy set older African American male. The incident was reported to the police.
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As always, communicate with your children regarding good safety practices.

9:09 AM: We’ve been talking with SPS spokesperson Stacy Howard over the past hour. She confirms that a local parent saw the suspicious vehicle, reported it to police, and then directly contacted schools. Howard says there is supposed to be a protocol for what steps are gone through to send a school-wide alert, and they are sending a reminder to school administrators about that today.

As-it-happened coverage: Survivor tells rapist at sentencing, ‘This is a hate crime against all women’

November 14, 2014 at 1:59 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 34 Comments

(TOPLINE: Sentencing now over as of 2:50 pm; recommended 14-year sentence, top end of range, given by judge, but she says she could recommend to state Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board that he never get out)

1:59 PM: We’re at the King County Courthouse, Superior Court Judge Julie Spector‘s courtroom, for the sentencing of 25-year-old Christopher A. Brown.

(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
He pleaded guilty last month (as reported here) in the March rape/beating of a 58-year-old woman near 22nd/Roxbury – a crime so brutal that deputies went door to door in the area for weeks, scouring for clues. Finally, a DNA match led to Brown, arrested in June in Oklahoma. The victim’s daughter told WSB yesterday that her mother will speak at this hearing, as she and her 9-year-old daughter plan to do. We’ll update live as it goes.

The prosecutor opened by explaining that this was a plea agreement, with a sentence of 171 months recommended – 14 years and 3 months. “This is one of the more serious assaults and rapes that we encountered in this courtroom. … I think the facts in this case (mean) the high end is appropriate in this case.” She says 4 family members want to speak. The 9-year-old granddaughter speaks first. When I look at you all I see is a monster that hurt my grandma…. It is painful to know you would want to cause so much pain. … After you left her for dead, when she came home, her eyes were swollen, and her body was sore.” She speaks of her grandmother’s difficulty in eating. “What you did broke my heart … You are a monster. You will never amount to anything … (but) as a family, you have made us stronger.”

Next, the little girl’s mother speaks, saying most of her thoughts “would be inappropriate to say in front of children. … I want you to know that the forgiveness from anyone you know … is irrelevant. … The only forgiveness that matters aside from your God … is that of my family and my mother, who you harmed.” She speaks of being “on the floor, crying” after finding out what happened to her mother. Her little girl, she says, was at the kitchen door and heard everything. When she saw her badly injured mother, “never in my life have I seen such a condition” but she tried hard to be strong in front of her. “My mother is a survivor, and as broken as you left her, she survived … most of all, she survived to see this day, when you would be prosecuted, and not able to hurt anyone else.” She asks the judge to “remove him from society … my mother was a stranger in the night, just passing by .. please give us justice and security of him remaining in supervision.”

Another family member says she is disturbed that Brown will have a chance someday to offend again: “I am left with this taunting question: Who will protect us” when he gets out again? “He left the victim naked, left her to die, left her in need of surgery to repair her face … “we will always see what you did to her,” she says to Brown. “… The only thing I can hope is that … you will be given more than 14 years … if you can do this to a stranger walking down the street, with such evil in your heart … to do such acts of violence not just to a woman, but to a grandmother … a wife, a mom, a human being …” She and others have mentioned that apparently Brown is a father-to-be.

Now, the victim speaks.

(Added: Video of survivor speaking. Low audio level – we weren’t allowed to record from jury box)
“I am the woman who was polite when asked for a cigarette … I even gave him a light for his cigarette … he made comments … I let them roll off my back … It didn’t matter to you that it was a main street, you came up behind me, wrapped your arms around my neck, choked me … told me you would kill me … at that instant, I woke up unconscious on the ground, to you kicking me, you told me, ‘you’re not dead yet, I’m not through with you’.”

She speaks in a strong voice, a furious voice, as she addresses him. She says her family “wasn’t raised to run around and do stuff to people and you weren’t raised that way either.” She says she has trouble eating and when she yawns “I hear all this metal snapping in my ears.” Her grandchildren are afraid to kiss her. “But I want you to understand this is never going to be over … your children will know about this because every year on the anniversary of your attack on me, I’m calling Oklahoma, I’m calling the newspapers, I’m telling everyone what you did to me …” She says she has worked in health care, and as a school-bus driver, but can’t do that any more because of the disabilities she’s left with, saying “no one will hire me because of this … Are you going to support my family? Are you going to support me, because of what you did?”

She speaks of her family’s concern for her safety. “If I had my way when this was all finished, I’m changing the laws … you left me for dead, now I have to worry for the rest of my life. … Monsters are supposed to be for Halloween … who the parents say, ‘there’s nothing under your bed’ … but the monster you are, there’s no cure for … because you don’t care about women, even the mother of your children that you beat while she was pregnant. … A man doesn’t do that. Humans don’t do that.”

Brown tries to say something and is rebuked. “You’ve got NOTHING to say to me.” She says she will seek restitution relentlessly. “You will not enjoy life to the fullest … by coming back out at 39 years old. The streets are going to know what you are about. Nobody can stop me from plastering your photo all over the streets of the United States.” She then points out the young grandson who has been standing by the bench with her, saying she had taught him about enunciation but can’t speak that way any more.

She talks about how she survived that night, how the detectives don’t know how she did, but she again says every year she will make sure as many people as possible know what he did. “This is a hate crime against all women.” She derides him for believing it’s “OK to beat pregnant women and old ladies” and tells him he messed with the wrong family.

2:26 PM: The survivor’s oldest daughter speaks now, calling Brown “a monster who does not deserve another chance in life with anyone.” She speaks about how her sense of security was ruined, how she used to love helping people … “I was upset when they wanted to give out candy for Halloween. I didn’t want them to turn on the porch light. … I saw my mother at the hospital the night this happened, before they could even give her anything for pain, because she was so broken.” But – “My mother is still beautiful .. her spirit is broken and shattered but she has the strength of our family. We ask that you give him as much time as you can if not more so he understands …” She speaks of her mother praying for their safety when they were young, and now she is doing that to make sure she knows what your mother is doing 24/7 “because I know there can be other people like him.”

Brown’s lawyer now speaks, saying if he had that kind of a family, “none of us would be here.” He says Brown was an abused child and was in prison early, and was a rape victim behind bars. After a few minutes, Brown speaks softly to say he apologizes for what he did.

Now, Judge Spector says the 171 months is the most she can sentence him to for the rape. She says that Brown’s family did not confirm his claims of growing up, abused, in a tough neighborhood, “so it’s unclear to the court where this behavior originates. There’s no excuse for it (regardless). … For your sake, I hope you ARE mentally ill, because it’s the only explanation for what you did to this family. It doesn’t justify it, it sort of explains it.”

She says she knows the area where it happened “very well” because she has a friend who lives in the area, “but it doesn’t really matter where it occurred … it occurred here, it affected those individuals, it was done by you and no one else.” She says she can’t give him any more time legally but she can recommend to the Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board “that you never get out.”

She says the attack is “the nightmare of every woman,” an attack by a stranger as she walks down the street. “There’s no justification … I deal with people like you all the time. I am going to sentence you to the highest possible sentence … I wish it were longer … I wish it could be life … who wants to take a chance on somebody who’s (attacked) a pregnant woman and now … how many chances can (you get)? I think you’re done.” And she pronounces the 171-month sentence (for rape, with the assault/robbery sentences concurrent, and credit for the 162 days he has been in jail since his June arrest in Oklahoma). If he gets out, she says, he will be on community custody (probation) for life. And he will have to register as a sex offender, for the rest of his life.

FOOTNOTE: We’ll have to follow up with prosecutors regarding the mention of the Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board. Reviewing its website, this seems to be what might apply.

Followup: Greenbridge burglary suspect arrested; not known yet if connected to Dubsea break-ins

November 14, 2014 at 1:13 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, White Center | 2 Comments

The King County Sheriff’s Office has just announced that it’s arrested “a juvenile male … for burglary and possession of stolen property” and that he “may be related to other burglaries since November 2nd.” As reported here earlier this week, the businesses and other facilities hit by those burglaries include Dubsea Coffee, broken into at least three times. After a two-day closure, Dubsea reopened this morning, with supporters crowding inside:

Again, the Sheriff’s Office is cautioning that it’s not sure yet whether this suspect was involved in the Dubsea break-ins; spokesperson DB Gates tells us he is being held in connection with the White Center Heights Elementary break-in. (One of that school’s teachers was who contacted us to urge community support for Dubsea, by the way.) Meantime, Dubsea staff (proprietor Sibelle Nguyen wasn’t there when we stopped by this morning) confirmed that a security system is being installed today.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Burglaries update; ‘warmup’ car theft

November 14, 2014 at 9:05 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

GATEWOOD BURGLARY, AND WHAT PRECEDED IT: Our screengrab above from the SPD crime-reports map shows 15 burglaries reported in West Seattle this past week. (To get the specific locations/dates/times, access the “live” map here, and mouse over any icon to bring up the information about it.) The most recent, last night, happened to Greg in Gatewood, who e-mailed to report:

Tonight while we were out for dinner (between 6-8 pm), someone threw a brick through our back-door window and stole a few electronics. Needless to say we’re a bit freaked out, but wanted to alert our neighbors of this. 39th/Othello.

P.S. We’ll have a followup on the Dubsea Coffee break-in – which is in King County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction, but popular with West Seattleites – a bit later. The shop reopened this morning.

STOLEN WHILE WARMING UP: We mentioned this in the morning traffic watch – per scanner, this is reported to have happened after the vehicle’s engine was left running to warm up. Once police confirmed the theft, this info was broadcast and posted to Twitter:


P.S. The next crime-trends update is expected at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting next Tuesday, 7 pm, SW Precinct (Webster/Delridge).

To make ‘a statement that we as a community want justice,’ rape/attack victim’s daughter asks your help tomorrow

November 13, 2014 at 12:43 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

Tomorrow afternoon, the man who viciously attacked and raped a 58-year-old woman near 22nd/Roxbury will be sentenced.

Her daughter called us today to ask us to ask you to be there, if you possibly can – “to make a statement that we, as a community, want justice.”

We reported here on October 24th about 25-year-old Christopher A. Brown‘s guilty plea, four months after he was arrested in Oklahoma; he had been visiting here when he committed the crime. His plea hearing happened unannounced; we just happened to find the court documents a week later.

His crime itself initially came to light after we were asked about a helicopter search in the early morning hours of March 7th; we followed up with the King County Sheriff’s Officeand learned what happened: The victim had been walking to catch a bus; Brown asked her for a cigarette, which she gave him, and then offered her money for sex, which she declined, at which time he grabbed her, dragged her into the bushes, choked her until she was nearly unconscious, punched and kicked her in the face and body, raped her, and then before getting away, robbed her and threatened to kill her family – pointing out he had her personal information, in her purse – if she reported it.

In subsequent weeks, as deputies worked to solve it – including door-to-door contacts, trying to find information, showing a sketch, and a photo of the purse Brown stole from the victim – the intensely brutal attack continued to draw regional attention.

Brown – found via DNA match – pleaded guilty in mid-October to rape, assault, and robbery. Prosecutors are recommending that he be sentenced to a little over 14 years.

The victim’s daughter says her mother will speak at tomorrow’s hearing. So will she. And so will – her voice caught a little as she told us this – her 9-year-old daughter.

They hope, it goes without saying, that Brown will pay a heavier price. And they hope that community members can show their support, to show the good and caring in the world. They want the judge to know this wasn’t just a crime against one woman – this was a crime against the community, affecting people’s sense of safety, raising suspicion, increasing fear.

The sentencing is scheduled for 1 pm tomorrow in Judge Julie Spector‘s courtroom, E-815 (eighth floor), King County Superior Court in the County Courthouse downtown (516 Third Avenue). It is open to the public; if you can go, allot time for the security check (our advice, try the 4th Street entrance, where there’s usually less of a wait).

West Seattle Crime Watch: Store break-in; dropbox, mail thefts

November 13, 2014 at 10:36 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

Three West Seattle Crime Watch reports:

STORE BREAK-IN: Thanks to Alison for the tip that the Sprint store in Jefferson Square was burglarized. They got in by breaking the door glass; our photo shows the repair crew that was just wrapping up its work. A store staffer told us that the burglar(s) didn’t get away with much.

ALSO IN THE JUNCTION … Linda reports that a package dropped into a UPS dropbox near the post office was stolen. She knows this because: “It had a check to a bank in it that was altered and someone tried to cash” (plus, they weren’t able to track that it had been picked up).

ARBOR HEIGHTS MAIL THEFT: From CS in Arbor Heights:

I just went out to check my mail (last night), found the mailbox door open, and nothing in it. I know there was mail in there as there were some junk mail flyers that came Monday that I’d left in there, plus I was due to get a DVD from Netflix. So, definitely stuff in there. I’d avoided getting a locking mailbox because I liked being able to get packages in there, but now, I’ll clearly have to. Last winter, the Tukwila police found some of my checks in the possession of some crook who was trying to use them.

P.S. Next scheduled meeting of the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council is next week – 7 pm Tuesday (November 18th) at the precinct (Webster/Delridge)

Crime Watch: Neighbors rally for burglar-besieged Dubsea Coffee

November 12, 2014 at 3:45 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, White Center | 30 Comments

That’s the sign you’ll find today on the door of Dubsea Coffee in Greenbridge, on 8th SW just a block south of the city/county line. A teacher at nearby White Center Heights Elementary School messaged us to say the area’s been hit with a series of burglaries, and that Dubsea has been broken into three times in the past week and a half. We noted the first one on partner site White Center Now November 3rd, and now we’re checking with the King County Sheriff’s Office regarding the teacher’s report of other break-ins in the area.

The teacher wrote us because this, she says, is more than a matter of crime concern – she writes, “This coffee shop is the hub of the neighborhood and it is ALWAYS busy with people having meetings, enjoying coffee and sandwiches, children having playdates while frazzled moms drink their coffee, etc.” They are working on plans to show their support and want to encourage you to patronize the shop to help it recover. We’ll be following up.

ADDED 4:18 PM: KCSO spokesperson Sgt. DB Gates confirms a series of break-ins in the area:

We have had a swarm of commercial burglaries with a similar MO and all in the same general White Center area. They have occurred between November 2nd and the 7th.

Dubsea was one victim, with the nearby library/YMCA hit next, followed by the Dollar Tree, and then an elementary school burglarized on the 7th. The MO has been to break a window and steal cash. We have no suspect info other than believing in at least one of the burglaries there were two suspects. They have all happened in the late evening/early morning hours when no persons were present. The four cases have not been conclusively linked as being committed by the same suspects.

We encourage citizens to call when they see something out of the ordinary. It’s also a good time to remember to keep areas around homes and businesses well-lit as thieves love the cover of darkness, and to keep vegetation trimmed so that neighbors and passersby can see if something is amiss at a business (or home).

THURSDAY FOLLOWUP: In case we don’t get to write a separate story tonight – we messaged Dubsea and they will reopen tomorrow (Friday), 7 am-5 pm: “We will resume regular hours once things normalize. Tomorrow is also Dubsea’s 5th birthday. We truly look forward to spending it in the company of our guests.” They add thanks for “all the care, kind words, and support from our neighbors. We love this community. We are here to stay.”

West Seattle Crime Watch: Thief caught on camera; car prowl; phone scam; SPD’s new way to write tickets

November 10, 2014 at 8:11 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 18 Comments

Four West Seattle Crime Watch notes tonight, starting with a thief caught on video:

That video shows a theft in the Me-Kwa-Mooks Park area last week, according to Heather, who shared the video. (The thief gets out of the car at :46 in.) In case you can’t quite tell, she says, “He was driving a Nissan Murano with tinted windows and a sunroof. He took a pressure washer.” Call police if you know who that is.

#2 – CAR PROWL: Quick heads-up from Blair – “Car break-in on 32nd and Barton Saturday night by the Barton Pea Patch.”

#3 – PHONE SCAM: In case you get this call, here’s a warning from Melissa:

A man (“David Johnson”) with an accent (India, it sounded like) claiming to be from the “US Treasury Inspector” wanted my lawyer’s contact info regarding a legal action involving me, claiming I was notified months ago and that someone would be arriving tomorrow to arrest me. He was very good, even providing names and contact info when I pressed him, but nothing was adding up. I demanded a number to call him back (after a couple prompts, after he oh so helpfully offered to simply transfer me), then I hung up and immediately called the Seattle Police non-emergency line. They knew what this was instantly and did confirm that it was a scam, and if they call back, tell them you’ve already spoken to the police and hang up.

While every fiber of my being was telling me this was a scam, I did have a few bad moments since I still in bed and not totally awake yet. (It was before 7:30 am, so I guess they weren’t super sharp about the time zone thing…)

#4 – NO MORE HANDWRITTEN TICKETS: In case you missed the SPD announcement of a new electronic system, read about it here.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Help look for this stolen truck

November 9, 2014 at 6:45 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

Stolen vehicles found recently in West Seattle tended to turn up in alleys, so look there, too. From Rick and Marty:

Please help- our truck was stolen from in front of the house – stolen Saturday night from Westwood Village/Shorewood area : White 2006 Ford F-250 standard cab – has 5th wheel hitch and black 5th wheel (cut out) tailgate – Lic # B866595- any information, either contact 911 or call us at 206-931-2027.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Have you seen this stolen car?

November 7, 2014 at 12:01 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

Latest reader report of a car stolen in West Seattle: Red ’99 Civic with an Air Force bumper sticker, license A0E7374, stolen “sometime last night outside our home on 34th Ave SW & Morgan (behind Walgreens).” Call 911 if you see it.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Another missing Maxima; smash without grab

November 6, 2014 at 8:15 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

Two West Seattle Crime Watch notes tonight:

ANOTHER GOLD MAXIMA STOLEN: From Chris:

Our Gold 1996 Nissan Maxima was stolen 2 days ago from the 35th and Roxbury area. The sunroof started to leak so there is blue painter’s tape around the whole edge of the sunroof.

I had a similar car stolen twice and got it back so we have hope.

Last weekend, Matt‘s car, same year/make/model/color, was stolen; a WSB reader found it. Hope someone finds Chris’s car; call 911 if you see it.

CAR VANDALISM: A West Seattle Community Orchestras musician who was at Chief Sealth International High School for weekly rehearsal this past Tuesday says her car’s window was smashed while they were parked there, but “Nothing was taken, not even a bike helmet and a couple of other random things in the back seat. And we don’t ever leave anything valuable in the car anyway.”

West Seattle Crime Watch: Search for armed robbers in Highland Park, with helicopter, after break-in

November 4, 2014 at 6:41 pm | In Crime, Helicopter, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 17 Comments

6:41 PM: Thanks to everyone texting us about Guardian One, the law-enforcement helicopter – it’s over Highland Park because of a search for burglary suspects. We don’t know yet exactly where the break-in was, but we’re seeing some police vehicles along the 9000 block of 8th SW near Westcrest Park.

7:23 PM: Police describe the break-in that led to the search as “an armed burglary.” We don’t yet know if anyone was home or not; there were no medical calls in the area, so no indication that anyone was hurt. A K-9 team also was used in the search.

9:23 PM: According to Southwest Precinct Lt. Alan Williams, early reports indicate “two male suspects armed with handguns entered a residence in the 9000 block of 8th SW) around 6 pm. They “encountered residents inside the house and fled on foot shortly thereafter.” Despite an extensive search, no arrests yet; no one was hurt.

ADDED 1:52 PM WEDNESDAY: SPD Blotter has just published details of how police were told this unfolded:

Click to read the rest of West Seattle Crime Watch: Search for armed robbers in Highland Park, with helicopter, after break-in…

West Seattle Crime Watch: Marijuana-raid followup, plus – stolen car; found car; found bike; car prowl…

November 4, 2014 at 3:32 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 5 Comments

Lots of info in West Seattle Crime Watch today, including three new reader reports and two followups:

CAN YOU FIND THIS STOLEN CAR? WSB readers have spotted three stolen vehicles in recent days. Maybe this will be the fourth. Jena shared the photo and explains, “My boyfriend’s 1991 Honda Accord Coupe was stolen from out front of our house last night sometime after 12:30 am in Arbor Heights.” Call 911 if you see it.

STOLEN, THEN FOUND: The most recent of the aforementioned three stolen cars spotted by readers was Matt‘s gold Nissan Maxima, reported here Sunday, found in Arbor Heights this morning.

RECOGNIZE THIS BICYCLE? It turned up in an alley west of The Junction.

Let us know if you recognize it. (Looks a lot like this one, but that one had been taken in for safekeeping last we heard.)

CAR PROWL: From Sage K:

Just wanted to let you know that sometime between 11:45 pm on Sunday Nov. 2nd and 8 pm Monday Nov. 3rd, my car was broken into while parked in the parking lot for the Longfellow Creek Apts on Delridge where I live (the gate which is supposed to be closed from 6 pm-6 am has been open for about a week as someone broke it, which means parking lot not as controlled). They punched the lock on the driver’s side door.

While I’m lucky that the few things they took: gate opener (which leads me to believe it was a resident or someone that knows one), blu tooth, phone charger, blue mid size Maglite, cloth Trader Joe’s bag (wt heck?) sliver car shade, and a box in the trunk that had some oil, funnels and other car maintenance misc items. Have a relatively low replacement cost and they left most of the things I actually care about. Replacing door locks even with insurance is a pain and costly.

AHEAD – as promised, a followup on the marijuana-investigation raids at two Gatewood homes last Saturday (here’s our original story):
Click to read the rest of West Seattle Crime Watch: Marijuana-raid followup, plus – stolen car; found car; found bike; car prowl……

Know who did this? Neighbor finds clues in hit-run crash that damaged car, memorial shrub

November 3, 2014 at 1:04 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 9 Comments

That shrub planted as a tribute to a beloved neighbor – as featured here back in April – has fallen casualty to a hit-run driver who also damaged at least one parked car. That car’s owner has done some investigating and shares both the story of what happened, what was left behind, and what specifically he believes they’re looking for:

The incident occurred near the intersection of 40th Ave SW and SW Juneau St, in the Fairmount Springs neighborhood, likely sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Thursday morning I noticed that the cover on our car (a 1993 Chevrolet Corvette) was torn open in the back.

We initially suspected perhaps vandals cut it open, but upon closer examination we discovered that a vehicle had scraped almost the entire back end of the car, tearing the cover open (there is a lot of missing paint). We thought this was odd since the car was backed up to the curb of the triangular island bounded by 40th, Juneau, and Fauntleroy in a back-in angle parking spot right near the intersection. Looking at the scene in more detail in the daylight we figured out what had happened…

Click to read the rest of Know who did this? Neighbor finds clues in hit-run crash that damaged car, memorial shrub…

West Seattle Crime Watch: Stolen cars; truck break-in; holdup

November 2, 2014 at 1:03 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 6 Comments

Three Four West Seattle Crime Watch reports:

STOLEN CAR TO WATCH FOR: From Matt:

My gold 1996 Nissan Maxima was stolen Halloween night from right in front of my house (in the 5900 block of) 37th Ave SW. I’m shocked anyone would want to take the effort for this car, but they did.

Sometimes stolen vehicles are found nearby, sometimes miles away (as reported here last night and on Thursday); if you see it somewhere, please call 911.

CAR BREAK-IN: From Gary:

(Saturday) morning between 3:00 am and 7:30 my truck was broken into on 48th Ave SW between Charlestown and Spokane street. They did a significant amount of damage to my door latch. Please keep an eye out …

STORE HELD UP: Two men held up a clerk at the Rite-Aid store south of The Junction around 9 pm last Monday. We hadn’t heard about this until we saw the “robbery” icon on the police-reports map a few days later; then it took a few days for the narrative to become available. The clerk told police one man (described in the report only as white) came to the counter, asked for a carton of cigarettes, grabbed it away and said he had a gun so the clerk had “better not try anything.” He fled with another man (described in the report only as black) who had been standing by the nearby lottery-ticket machine, and they got away in what the report described as “an older-looking gray 2-door SUV,” no plate info.

(added 5:04 pm) CAR STOLEN, FOUND: Rebecca says her son’s car was stolen from outside her house in the 8800 block of 34th SW last night. Just as they were calling police to report the theft this morning, police called them to say it had been found, not far away, on SW Henderson (right). Now she’s hoping for help in solving the theft, if anyone saw it being taken and/or ditched – contact police.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Stolen in Burien, found in WS

November 1, 2014 at 7:04 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 1 Comment


That car stolen in Burien three weeks ago (per the above tweet) has apparently just been found in West Seattle. Gretchen e-mailed to tell us a “maroon Honda, license plate AQS9334″ had just been towed after police came to the alley near Thistle/17th to check out a report of a possibly stolen vehicle. Often, stolen cars are only driven a short distance before they’re dumped; this one was reported stolen at 4th/156th in Burien, five miles away from Thistle/17th.

P.S. Hope you’ll never need to do this, but if you have a vehicle stolen – bicycle, car, truck, whatever – please let us know so we can report it in WS Crime Watch; we had a “reunion” just last Thursday.

West Seattle Crime Watch update: Stolen truck, found!

October 30, 2014 at 3:08 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

EARLY THURSDAY: “We’re a two-person company, so this truck means a lot to us.” So says BWM from Orec, the company whose logo is on a 2006 Isuzu NPR truck stolen last weekend from the 4800 block of Fauntleroy Way SW (map). It’s a lot like the truck you see above at right; it carries the logo you see above at left. BWM thinks it was likely taken during stormy Saturday night/early Sunday; it’s been reported to police, so if you see it somewhere, please call 911.

THURSDAY NIGHT: See comments – a reader spotted the truck, and we just got confirmation that truck and owner were reunited.

Update: Suspects in custody after robbery/assault near 16th/Roxbury

October 28, 2014 at 10:44 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

10:44 PM: Big police search/containment right now near 16th/Roxbury, and beyond. We don’t have full details but they’re seeking three people in connection with what sounded like a street robbery/assault. The victim is injured. You’re likely to hear/see the Guardian One helicopter join the search. More as we get it.

10:55 PM: Per scanner, police have detained two possible suspects a few blocks south of where the robbery/assault happened.

11:00 PM: And now the third suspect is reported to be in custody.

WEDNESDAY MORNING P.S. We’re following up with SPD in hopes of getting more details, and will add when/if we get them.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Peepers; car theft; break-in alerts; car prowl with question

October 28, 2014 at 9:22 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 29 Comments

Four West Seattle Crime Watch notes tonight:

PEEPING INCIDENTS: From the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council list, word of two peeping incidents reported in the early morning hours Monday in the Genesee Hill area. No details, just word of a stranger at a window or door. GSNC says it’s been reported to police, who remind everyone to call 911 for something like this. (Side note: These types of incidents do not usually appear on the SPD police-report map, so unless we hear about them from you or from a non-closed list, we don’t hear about them for Crime Watch and can’t alert a wider group of neighbors – criminals don’t often just limit their activities to a single block or street or sub-neighborhood – editor@westseattleblog.com)

STOLEN CAR: From e-mail: “My car was stolen this morning,Ocean View & 35th. Thought it was a secured garage, had been for many years. BLACK HONDA CIVIC COUPE 2008. Police report filed. I want it back! License # 920XOS.” Call 911 if you see it.

SEAVIEW ALERT: From Deb:

In the last seven days, my Seaview neighborhood has had two residential break-ins and one attempted break-in. I’d like to remind WSB readers to turn lights on, use alarms if you have one, connect with your neighbors and keep a watch out for suspicious activity.

GATEWOOD CAR PROWL: A warning, and also a question:

Our car was ransacked last night (my fault…left it unlocked) but am curious if you or readers have advice when one’s registration has been stolen. They took our registration, insurance card, Discovery Pass, fishing licenses and tokens for the car wash. I can’t imagine what they may do with that stuff but don’t want to be naive. Also curious if anyone else in Gatewood had to deal with car prowlers last night/early this morning (October 28th).

Update: Shooting, robbery attempt on 28th SW east of Arbor Heights

October 27, 2014 at 7:00 pm | In Crime, Shorewood, West Seattle news | 23 Comments

(WSB photo: At left, a sheriff’s car that was on ‘containment’ earlier, on 106th at 26th)
FIRST REPORT, 7 PM: If you’re in Shorewood/east Arbor Heights, you might be noticing a major law enforcement presence: Sheriff’s deputies are getting help from SPD in their search for a suspect in a reported shooting near 10300 block 28th SW (map). No word on shooting circumstances/victim yet.

7:11 PM UPDATE: KCSO says the male victim is expected to survive. A K-9 team is helping search for the person who shot him.

7:38 PM UPDATE: KCSO says the K-9 track wasn’t able to find a suspect. They’re still sorting out the motive, possibly robbery.

9:40 PM UPDATE: We just checked in with KCSO spokesperson Sgt. DB Gates. She won’t have more information until morning but did say that as far as she knows, the shooting, while it happened near Grace Church (as discussed in comments), had no connection to the church.

TUESDAY MORNING, 10 AM: From Sgt. Gates:

There were four males in a parked car smoking marijuana when the suspect approached the car, opened one of the doors, displayed a handgun, and demanded their belongings.

For whatever reason, just a few seconds after the initial demand the victims felt the suspect was spooked by something outside the car. He then fired one shot into the car which hit a 17 year old seated in the driver’s seat. The suspect fled immediately on foot.

One of the males in the car also fled on foot, presumably because he had the marijuana. The other two (ages 19 and 20) remained with their friend and cooperated with responding deputies.

A K9 unit from Renton PD responded and a track was done but it was unsuccessful. Renton PD’s dog assisted as calling for an on duty dog is often quicker than calling out one of our K9 units from home. We also were assisted by Seattle Police.

The unknown suspect is described as a black/white mixed race male in his late 20s, approximately 5′ 10″ and medium build. He had short dreadlocks and tattoos on his neck and hands, last seen wearing a gray hoodie, red T-shirt and jeans. The victim vehicle was impounded for processing by detectives.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Armed break-in in Sunrise Heights; stolen store statue; fence fight

October 27, 2014 at 1:48 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 33 Comments

Three West Seattle Crime Watch reports today:

SUNRISE HEIGHTS ROBBERY: Just published on SPD Blotter – three men, one with a gun, broke into a home in the 7500 block of 32nd SW during the windstorm early Sunday “looking for drugs and robb(ing) a 35-year-old woman, threatening to kill her if she did not cooperate.” The SPDB report continues:

The woman told police someone banged on the back door of her home, in the 7500 block of 32nd Avenue Southwest, shortly after midnight. When she walked back to investigate, a man broke the glass and reached in to unlock the door. The victim headed toward the front door, but one of the suspects barged in, pointed a handgun and ordered her to stop. A second man, armed with a knife from the kitchen, pushed her to the floor and held the blade near her throat. The robbers told her not to look at their faces, and asked where her safe was. The victim told them it had been stolen several weeks ago. One man held her down at gunpoint while the others ransacked her house. The woman offered them her purse containing $100. The men took the purse and then saw several police cars arriving in front of the house. They fled through the back door.

The victim ran out the front door to alert officers. She was not injured. A neighbor had called the police a few minutes earlier because the men had apparently walked through the yard of a neighboring home. Detectives believe the suspects were looking for illegal drugs. A K-9 team was brought in to help search for the suspects, but no one was found. If you have any information about this incident, please contact robbery detectives at (206) 684-5535.

Also in Crime Watch:

STOLEN FOX: Pink Gorilla Games in Morgan Junction (6053 California SW) says somebody has made off with the store’s distinctive “Fox McCloud” statue, shown above. They reported the theft on Sunday. Please contact the store and SPD if you’ve seen it.

FENCE FIGHT: Police were called to the 4200 block of SW Donovan in Upper Fauntleroy last Friday to investigate a reported assault, as neighbors’ fight over a fence escalated. The report says one neighbor installed the fence for property separation and privacy more than eight years ago. The other neighbor, “thinking the fence is shared property,” according to the report, recently put up decorations. The fence owner said the decorations were damaging the fence. Three weeks of arguing over the fence ensued, according to the report. The neighbor who installed the fence finally put up “No Trespassing” signs facing the yard of the other neighbor, who subsequently “got a pair of wire cutters and attempted to cut the signs down,” at which time, police say, the sign-installing neighbor ran outside, yelled “Get off my fence,” and struck the other neighbor in the hand, repeatedly, with a Home Depot bucket. The victim declined medical attention. Police advised them to consult a surveyor if they’re not clear about the property line, and advised the fence owner to call police if they suspect trespassing, not to take matters into their own hands.

Crime Watch followup: Christopher A. Brown pleads guilty in Roxbury rape/beating attack

October 24, 2014 at 11:28 am | In Crime, West Seattle news, White Center | 20 Comments

Just discovered this in the court files:

The man charged in last March’s rape and beating of a 58-year-old woman near 22nd/Roxbury has pleaded guilty. The attack drew regional-media attention as deputies went door to door searching for clues to solve the exceptionally violent attack. 25-year-old Christopher Anthony Brown was found via a DNA match, arrested in Oklahoma in June, charged with rape and assault, and extradited. Investigators said Brown had been visiting this area when he attacked the victim as she waited for a bus – asking her for a cigarette, then offering her money for sex, and when she declined, dragging her into nearby shrubbery, choking her until she was nearly unconscious, beating her, raping her, robbing her, and threatening to kill her and her family if she reported it.

According to documents in the online files, prosecutors will recommend a sentence that would put Brown in prison for 171 months – just over 14 years. Brown pleaded guilty last week to one count each of rape, assault, and robbery. King County Superior Court Judge Julie Spector is scheduled to sentence him on November 14th.

West Seattle Crime Watch: ‘Wagner Prowler’; phone robbery; road rage

October 22, 2014 at 10:38 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

Three West Seattle Crime Watch reports tonight. First one is a reader report:

Saturday night our elderly neighbor had a prowler down on Beach Drive. The man, described as a white male, was in her backyard around 2 am. Her house guest was awakened by his VERY distinctive ring tone “The Charge of the Valkyries” ! I thought that was distinctive enough that someone may be able to identify the Wagner Prowler. It appears that he was trying to gain access to a neighbor’s yard..but took off when his cell phone went off.

We don’t have the block number. But keep an … ear out.

Next – two from the police-report files: Another smartphone stolen, and an odd cross-peninsula case of “road rage”:

Click to read the rest of West Seattle Crime Watch: ‘Wagner Prowler’; phone robbery; road rage…

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