West Seattle Crime Watch: Student reports ‘flasher’ incident

January 27, 2015 at 7:52 pm | In Crime, Safety, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 8 Comments

7:52 PM: Thanks to the Chief Sealth International High School parents who have sent us this message received tonight by families – first we have heard of it:

Yesterday, while walking home from school, a student was approached by a man in a newer model, gray minivan. A man drove up to the student, pulled off to the side, opened his door and exposed himself to her. This student ran away and reported this incident when she got home and then reported to the school today. Police were notified, took a report and description, and are now investigating. We do not have a license plate, but the description was a white male in his mid 30s, brown hair, wearing a white t-shirt and worn-out jeans, and driving a newer model gray mini-van. Our student did everything right, immediately getting away from the stranger, meeting up with a nearby familiar individual and reporting the incident to her parent, to the school, and then to the police.

The safety of our students is our top priority for Chief Sealth International. You can help your children stay safe by talking to them about personal safety. Tips to discuss are 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. More tips and information can be found on the Seattle Police Department website.

While it hasn’t been mentioned here so far, we received this while covering the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting and are pursuing more information from police; we’ll add anything more we find out.

8:14 PM: One additional detail that was not in the school e-mail – the police report says the student wasn’t certain exactly where it happened, but it was “near” Delridge/Thistle, which is a few blocks east of the school. This is the first incident of this type that has surfaced in our area since last September.

Return of the pilfered pig! Endolyne Joe’s gets Danny back – one year later

January 27, 2015 at 3:15 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle restaurants | 10 Comments

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

West Seattle Crime Watch: 3 reader reports, including not exactly the kind of loot a burglar can run with

January 27, 2015 at 11:29 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

Three reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch this morning:

GARAGE BREAK-IN: From Kathy:

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

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

MOTORCYCLE DAMAGED IN HIT-RUN: From Aaron:

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

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

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

CARS VANDALIZED: John reports this happened Monday morning:

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

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

West Seattle Crime Watch followup: What we’ve found out about the 47th SW burglary suspects

January 26, 2015 at 12:34 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 57 Comments

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

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

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

West Seattle Crime Watch: Junction 7-11 store robbery

January 25, 2015 at 9:33 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 9 Comments

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

ADDED: We finally got the written SPD report on this, so we can add a few more details. It says the clerk “initially noticed the suspect standing in front of the business near the Redbox machine. The suspect spoke briefly with a male who just exited a vehicle before entering the store. (He) noticed the male was wearing a red scarf around his face so he watched as he picked up several items from around the store. The suspect brought the three items to the register and asked for scratch tickets. Two other customers were inside the store at this time so the suspect told the (clerk) to assist them first before getting his scratch tickets. (He) assisted the customers, who then left the store. The suspect then looked outside before pulling out a large black semiautomatic handgun. The suspect stated, ‘Give me the f—-ing money,’ (so the clerk) pulled out the whole till and handed it to the suspect over the counter … (the suspect) then walked out of the store and turned westbound where he lost sight of him.”

UPDATE: Police arrest 2 after in-progress burglary west of Junction

January 23, 2015 at 4:12 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 43 Comments

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

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

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

Scanner traffic indicated some stolen property was recovered.

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

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

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

West Seattle Crime Watch: Delridge search; twice-stolen car

January 23, 2015 at 1:51 pm | In Crime, Delridge, Highland Park, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

In West Seattle Crime Watch – a police search right now in North Delridge. According to the scanner, a 911 caller reported a man with a handgun firing one shot into the air and then heading northbound in the alley between Delridge/25th, near the library. The description that’s being broadcast is black male, 14-15, 6′, thin, dark heavy jacket, dark pants. He was said to be in the company of someone described only as a black female in a purple sweatshirt. They might also be associated with a gold or green vehicle headed southbound. No injuries reported; police are checking for property damage. If you see anyone/anything possibly related, call 911.

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

(back to original report) Also in Crime Watch:

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

UPDATE: Police arrest suspect in Admiral robbery attempt

January 23, 2015 at 10:07 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 11 Comments

Update this morning from Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske, in a message sent to multiple community groups:

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

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

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

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

West Seattle Crime Watch: 4 reader reports, and other notes

January 22, 2015 at 5:06 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 1 Comment

While we’re covering the street-robberies investigation separately (newest update here), we have reader reports on several other crimes you should know about:

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

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

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

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

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

West Seattle Crime Watch followup: Street-robberies investigation update; precinct commander says possible connection in 2 of 5 cases

January 22, 2015 at 12:35 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 39 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update: Police search for suspects after Admiral street robbery; fifth West Seattle holdup or attempt in seven days

January 21, 2015 at 5:18 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 52 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

West Seattle Crime Watch: Westwood robbery arrest; mystery car…

January 21, 2015 at 10:54 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 18 Comments

First, if you happen to have been at Westwood Village and noticed police this past hour:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scam alert, again: Fake City Light calls @ West Seattle biz, home

January 21, 2015 at 8:55 am | In Crime, Utilities, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

Two new reports of the scam phone callers who claim to be from Seattle City Light, alleging you owe money and are at risk of imminent shutoff if you don’t pay them. This came in last night from Dan at Peel and Press in Morgan Junction:

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

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

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

‘Apple-picking,’ nuisance houses, crime trends, and other discussions @ West Seattle Crime Prevention Council

January 20, 2015 at 8:56 pm | In Crime, West Seattle Crime Prevention Council, West Seattle news | 17 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

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

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

First, the crime-trend update:

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

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

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

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

Click to read the rest of ‘Apple-picking,’ nuisance houses, crime trends, and other discussions @ West Seattle Crime Prevention Council…

The robbers who couldn’t start the car and the victim who said ‘no’: Followup on Saturday’s Morgan Junction holdup

January 20, 2015 at 1:11 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 25 Comments

New details about Saturday morning’s Morgan Junction street robbery/carjacking attempt are in the official police report we have just obtained, as well as the reason for the subsequent search in Gatewood. Until now, as weekend WSB readers are aware, most of what we knew came via comments (here and here) plus a bit of information we procured by finding an SPD sergeant at an unrelated scene post-search. So far, no word of any arrests, but we hope to hear more directly from Southwest Precinct police during tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting. Ahead, we’ve transcribed the report’s narrative, since this is a high-interest incident, the third street robbery in three days in West Seattle at the time (no reports of any since Saturday):

Click to read the rest of The robbers who couldn’t start the car and the victim who said ‘no’: Followup on Saturday’s Morgan Junction holdup…

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole coming to West Seattle for a community conversation on February 3rd

January 20, 2015 at 9:06 am | In Crime, Safety, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | Comments Off

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

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

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

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

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

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

West Seattle Crime Watch: Holdup in Morgan Junction, followed by search in Gatewood

January 17, 2015 at 9:33 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 49 Comments

(Texted photo, during police search in Gatewood)
Thanks to everyone who asked about a police search in Gatewood about an hour ago. It broke up just as we arrived, but we have finally found a sergeant to ask, and we’ve learned it was related to a robbery first mentioned by a commenter. Still many details missing, but here’s what we know:

*A man was held up at gunpoint early this morning in the West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor) parking lot at California/Fauntleroy. (The commenter who mentioned it says the victim described the robbers as “teenagers.”)

*Officers searching for the robbers had reason to believe they might be in the Gatewood area, several blocks southeast of the store, so that’s why they had “containment” set up in the 8 am hour – west of 35th, along streets including Webster, Ida, and Othello. We’re told some “evidence” was found.

They’re still investigating actively, and that’s why details are few. By the way, if you happened to see the big police response in the Home Depot parking lot around 9 pm, just next to the precinct, that was not related – they were taking a domestic-violence suspect into custody – that just happened to be where we found a sergeant to ask about the Morgan/Gatewood case.

P.S. This is the third day in a row that someone’s been robbed, armed or strongarm, in West Seattle (our Thursday and Friday stories are linked on the Crime Watch page). So we’ll say this again: The West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets Tuesday (January 20th), 7 pm at the precinct (Delridge/Webster), and precinct leadership is always there for a briefing on trends as well as attendee Q/A.

ADDED 10:35 AM SUNDAY: Thanks to MK, wife of the man who was held up, we have details of what happened. From her comment below:

Steve had parked his car on 42nd by the McDonald’s and was walking to work. He was approached by Robber #1 and asked the time. Steve looked at his cell phone and it was 7:13 am. Robber #1 pulled out a gun and pointed it in Steve’s face and demanded his car keys, at the same time 4 males surrounded him. One of them searched his pockets, stealing his wallet and cell phone. Robber #2 & #3 took his keys and got into his car but couldn’t figure out how to start it – the car has keyless ignition. Steve was calm and told Robber #1 how to start it and Robber #1 gave the gun to Robber #4 who then had the gun on Steve’s back. Robber #1 went to the car and was able to start it, they all jumped in the car but they didn’t release the parking brake and maybe got 3 feet before all 5 jumped out of the car and ran off. Steve got into the car and drove to work where he called the police. Police responded immediately – they did a search of the area and also dusted our car for fingerprints and were able to pull some good prints.

Hopefully they will be caught- he thought recognized a couple of these punks (shoplifters) and spent the morning searching his shoplifting records and sure enough he found 3 of their photos which he called police and provided a cd of their photos.

Here are the descriptions (all teens/young adults):
Robber #1 short black male
Robber #2 tall skinny black male (previous shoplifter)
Robber #3 average height samoan male (previous shoplifter)
Robber #4 brother of number #3 (previous shoplifter)
Robber #5 tall black male

There was no activity on either our credit cards or his cell before they were closed so we think they were just after the car.

So please note the holdup did not happen IN the store parking lot, as early information had indicated – police responded there because the victim drove there after the robbers fled.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Another student robbed while walking to school

January 16, 2015 at 2:04 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 35 Comments

2:04 PM: For the second day in a row, a local student has been robbed while walking to school. Thursday, it happened in Gatewood; today, in Westwood. The victim’s mom contacted us in hopes someone might see this, tossed aside somewhere:

She told us her daughter’s phone “was nabbed right out of her jacket pocket as she walked from Westwood Village to Sealth High School on 25th ave. SW. We filed a police report but she’d really like the bottom half of her Beemo phone case back. It might have been discarded somewhere along 25th Avenue SW.”

We have requested but not yet received the police report in this case – if and when we do, we’ll add whatever else it includes, including descriptions, if any. Meantime, we asked the mom if her daughter’s OK. “She’s understandably shaken but physically OK. She’s just real sad about losing the phone case.” If you see it, contact police; the case number is 15-017129.

4:10 PM: We’ve obtained the report from SPD but it includes very little additional information. This was reported around 8:30 this morning; police were called once the victim arrived at CSIHS, so there’s no exact address of where she was when it happened. The robber is described only as black, male, maybe 15-17 years old, wearing black. The victim said he came up to her, said “Give me your phone”; she didn’t respond. He then reached into the front pocket of her sweatshirt, grabbed her phone, and ran southbound, toward Westwood Village.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Car stolen twice in less than 2 weeks

January 16, 2015 at 9:52 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

Nine days ago, Beth‘s VW Passat was stolen from her driveway near Lincoln Park. The next day, a reader reported it turned up in front of their home in Beverly Park. Now – Beth says it’s been stolen again:

Turns out they ransacked and found an extra key in my husband’s car. I am
requesting help again since some lovely lady found it last time in the 115th
area. I was having it rekeyed on Saturday!!!

2004 royal blue VW Passat with Sun Valley and state of WA stickers on back,
license #AKD2678 (in a Hans Automotive frame). I am so frustrated!

If you see it, call 911.

P.S. The West Seattle Crime Prevention Council‘s first meeting of 2015, with local SPD leadership on hand, is at 7 pm next Tuesday (January 20th). If you have neighborhood crime/safety concerns, be there.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Middle-schooler robbed

January 15, 2015 at 2:56 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 22 Comments

Just found out about this via a routine check of the police-report map: A middle-school student walking to catch a school bus this morning told police that two men knocked him down and robbed him.

Click to read the rest of West Seattle Crime Watch: Middle-schooler robbed…

Followup: ‘Book and release’ for some suspects delayed at least until June 1st

January 14, 2015 at 3:54 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 9 Comments

3:54 PM: You might recall last week’s uproar over a county budget change that was scheduled to kick in February 1st, changing how suspects in certain kinds of crimes are handled – booking and releasing them, rather than booking them into jail while they await a bail hearing (often the next day). Here’s our coverage from last Friday. Today, a change: County Executive Dow Constantine has sent a letter (read it here) to county officials including criminal-justice-system leaders, saying that they’ve found “resources” to hold off on “book and release” until at least June 1st, and maybe longer if certain changes can be implemented in the courts. There’s a news-media conference call about this in a few minutes and we’ll be on it – more info to come.

4:23 PM UPDATE: The conference call was relatively short. Constantine spokesperson Chad Lewis said part of the reason why the postponement is possible is that: “The jail population tends to naturally decline in the winter,” so this is not urgent.

We couldn’t help but note that the season hasn’t changed since last Friday, when we were all on the phone talking about this being implemented next month, so, what’s changed? Lewis acknowledged that “stakeholder” reaction played a role.

Meantime, looking ahead as to whether this ever will have to be implemented, the possible changes in court processes outlined in Constantine’s letter, to reduce jail population over the longer term, include “shortening the time between plea or verdict and sentencing.” Lewis says they’re also hopeful the Legislature will address the budgeting problems that have left King and other counties with a shortfall. We asked if there’s a new reason for that hope; he said, “The public safety issue gets more attention” but that’s not the only part of the budget affected by chronic revenue trouble. In response to another question, Lewis insists, “The executive never wanted to put (the book-and-release policy) forward” but didn’t feel he had a choice.

They don’t know yet what kind of a review or assessment will be done between now and June 1st to determine if the book-and-release policy will kick in then, or ever, said Lewis.

Alki burglary/package-theft suspect, caught in a treehouse, now charged with 3 felonies

January 14, 2015 at 11:53 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 27 Comments

(Surveillance-video screengrab)
Following up on last Thursday’s Alki arrest – in which, as reported in our first followup, the suspect was found in a treehouse: 32-year-old Emanuel Kozma is now charged with three felonies, 2nd degree burglary, 1st degree criminal trespass, and 3rd-degree theft. Our first report included a reader report that Kozma was also suspected in a package theft earlier in the day, before the Alki search and arrest resulting from a package theft inside a secure building, and the charging documents include the earlier incident. An excerpt:

… The defendant entered a secure apartment building lobby and stole a package delivered for a tenant. When confronted by a witness, the defendant dropped the items he had taken out of the stolen package and ran away.

When police found the defendant and inventoried his bag, they discovered items stolen from the front porches of a nearby duplex as well as assorted checks not written to the defendant. The residents of the duplex had surveillance video of the defendant stealing delivered packages.

The defendant has had 23 warrants since 2001, based on 30 bookings at King County Jail. At the time of his arrest, the defendant had an outstanding DOC Escape warrant related to his Assault 3 conviction and community custody. The defendant fled when confronted by a witness and hid from police in a tree; he finally came down when a police K9 officer indicated he was in the tree. Also, the defendant has two convictions for Attempting to Elude. Additionally, the defendant’s references were not available to verify his address, employment, or ties to the community. The defendant is facing a significant prison sentence if convicted as charged – his standard range for Burglary 2º is 51 to 68 months. For all of these reasons, the State believes the defendant is a flight risk if released.

The apartment-building theft happened in the 6000 block of SW Stevens; the earlier thefts, in the 2400 block of 55th SW. Meantime, the King County Jail Register indicates Kozma remains in jail, with no bail amount set so far, as stipulated in the aforementioned warrant for escape. We’re checking with the state Corrections Department to see if a photo of him is available to add to this story. (Added 12:04 pm: Thanks to DOC for the fast response – we’ve received a photo and have added it above.)

West Seattle Crime Watch: Stabbing charge; suspected tool theft

January 13, 2015 at 2:02 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

Two West Seattle Crime Watch reports today:

STABBING SUSPECT CHARGED: The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has filed a charge of second-degree assault against Beverlee Darden, the 52-year-old High Point woman arrested after last Wednesday night’s stabbing outside South Seattle Market at 35th/Morgan. In the charging documents, prosecutors say the suspect thought the 17-year-old victim, described as a volunteer at West Seattle Food Bank who lives near Darden, was interested in Darden’s husband, and had been calling her insulting names based on that. On Wednesday night, the victim confronted her about it, and, prosecutors say, while they were arguing, Darden stabbed her. The charging documents say the knife appears to be the same one used when Darden was accused of stabbing her husband last November, a case in which no charges appear to have been filed, but she does have a record – 12 bookings into the King County Jail since 1986, and 10 arrest warrants. She remains in jail with bail set at $50,000.

SUSPECTED TOOL THEFT: From a resident near 21st/Roxbury:

About 10 am this morning I noticed a man in the middle of my planted parking strip. He was messing with some tool boxes. I’m assuming he just stole the two boxes, and a white Home Depot bucket full of stuff. He couldn’t carry it all, so threw what he could in the bucket and took off. My dog was barking at him, and possibly he saw me, so that is why he took off so fast. He only took a drill out, and the rest of the two boxes had stuff in them. So, if your tools were stolen this am, the police have most of them.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Package stolen; suitcase found; red bicycle found

January 11, 2015 at 11:02 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

11:02 AM: There’s always the possibility these two reports do NOT involve thefts, but in case you can help reunite items with their rightful owners, we’re sharing the reader reports. First, from North Delridge:

I had a package stolen from my porch on Thursday. At least I think it was stolen because it has been reported as delivered and my neighbors don’t have it. It was from Nordstrom but I don’t think it was labeled as such. It had two bras and a skirt. I live on 25th between Brandon and Findlay, right behind the Delridge Library.

Second, if you’re missing a suitcase, through theft or otherwise, a tipster says this turned up on an Admiral parking strip, and tweeted a photo:

It was still there as of first thing this morning, SW Stevens west of 38th SW.

11:48 AM NOTE: SPD tweets suggest the suitcase has been reported to police as “found property,” so if you’re the owner and don’t see this until later, check with them. (Also, see the comments below for an update from the finder.)

ADDED 2:20 PM: Just received a photo of a bicycle found in the greenbelt near Fauntleroy Church:

Morgan says it was there as of early afternoon, “in the Fenton Glen little ravine by the little path to the creek at the far end of Fauntleroy Church’s parking lot … sort of hidden behind a big cedar.”

West Seattle Crime Watch: Seen this eye-catching bicycle?

January 10, 2015 at 2:30 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 5 Comments

Michael‘s bicycle is “instantly recognizable,” as he puts it. And now it’s gone … so he’s hoping that if you see it, you’ll be able to help him get it back. He’s part of the Alki Beach Creeps bike club; his “beach cruiser” bike was stolen in Pioneer Square. Call 911 if you see it.

No jail for some crime suspects? Mayor tells County Executive: ‘This proposed plan presents an unacceptable public-safety risk…’

January 9, 2015 at 3:05 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 50 Comments

ORIGINAL REPORT, 3:05 PM: If you think some crime suspects get out of jail too quickly now – wait until next month, when, according to a story KING 5 broke last night, the county might not allow some of them to get booked into jail at all – they’ll be brought downtown, processed, and released. We just heard about this when Mayor Murray’s office sent a news release, saying he has sent County Executive Dow Constantine a letter objecting to it:

Mayor Ed Murray has serious concerns about a King County proposal to release additional felony suspects in property crime cases immediately after booking in downtown Seattle. The mayor outlined his concerns today in a letter to King County Executive Dow Constantine.

“This proposed plan presents an unacceptable public safety risk to the residents of Seattle and will undermine our mutual efforts to reduce drug and property crimes,” wrote Murray. “This proposal also has serious potential policing and budget implications for the City of Seattle.” (Full letter embedded below)

On Feb. 1, King County plans to reduce the inmate population by instituting a “book-and-release” policy for several felony drug and property offenses, including auto theft, hit and run (with injury), malicious mischief, reckless endangerment, stolen property, theft, vehicle prowl and drug possession.

The proposed plan will mean that suspects arrested for these crimes in communities around King County will be brought to Seattle to be booked and then released onto the streets of downtown.

Currently, judges individually assess each suspect booked at the jail to decide whether to hold them pending trial. The proposed County plan would eliminate a judge’s review in favor of a presumption of release for these non-violent offenses.

In his letter, Murray outlined alternatives to reduce burdens on the jail (reducing the time between a suspect’s arraignment and trial), as well as reduce impacts on the city (remote booking or mandatory return transportation for suspects brought downtown for booking from jurisdictions outside of Seattle).

We’ve asked both the county and city for a copy of the memo that Murray says police chiefs received this week, and we’ve asked the executive’s office for reaction to Murray’s letter. We’ll add whatever we hear back.

5:13 PM UPDATE: To answer journalists’ questions including ours, the executive’s office set up a conference call last hour, and your editor here was one of four who asked questions. The toplines:

*This is a done deal at this point – it was part of the county budget approved by the County Council and Executive.

*Rather than a budget cut, this was a budget request that didn’t get granted. The County’s director of adult/juvenile detention William Hayes, one of three county reps on the call, said it would cost $5.2 million to open another section of the jail to handle the increase in daily population expected over the next year if everything was status quo – last year’s average daily county jail/detention population (Seattle and Kent) was 1900, 50 over projections, and this year was expected to be 1920. There’s room at the jail – but not the personnel to staff it. That request was not granted. This policy is the result.

*The key talking point was that this would mean a difference of a few hours or few days in time most of these suspects would have spent in jail. It was also stressed that police will have the option to say, we don’t want this suspect released. In response to that, we pointed out that police might not get immediate access to the suspect’s full record, or warrant status. The county reps say that if technical problems keep them from finding out whether there’s a warrant out for someone, they won’t be released until the status can be verified.

*Overall, the county reps (also including Constantine spokesperson Chad Lewis and a budget-office staffer, Krista Camenzind) said a “chronic structural gap with the county’s general fund” is to blame. 70 percent of the general fund goes to criminal justice, from deputies to prosecutors to defenders to judges to jails, and it’s been going down even as the population grows, with a $54 million gap to cover this time around. We asked, couldn’t the civil system have been cut instead of the criminal? Reply: It already had been.

*We asked for a copy of the memo that the mayor mentioned, received this week by police chiefs around the county pointing out which crimes this generally would affect. The county reps say that was a draft memo and they don’t have a final version yet because suggestions were made by chiefs at a meeting yesterday and some of them are being incorporated into the final version.

Overall, Lewis summarized, the county considers this change the “best of bad options that are available.” Hayes said it’s not as if the suspects are being set entirely free – they will have to come in for court dates, and even if they fail to appear, “at some point (the legal system) is going to catch up to them.”

The cynical person might wonder if this is a setup for a forthcoming ballot measure to ask for more criminal-justice funding, we suggested. Lewis said no, there are no plans to seek any kind of a funding measure for public safety; Constantine is pursuing the Best Starts for Kids initiative, Lewis pointed out, an early-childhood initiative that he hopes will reduce the need for criminal justice, years down the road.

ADDED 6:12 PM: The mayor’s office has provided, at our request, the document mentioned in Murray’s letter, circulated to police chiefs earlier this week. Read on for the full text – including the proposed list of crimes; note that not all property crimes are involved – for example, residential-burglary suspects would still be held as they are now, this memo says:

Click to read the rest of No jail for some crime suspects? Mayor tells County Executive: ‘This proposed plan presents an unacceptable public-safety risk…’…

West Seattle Crime Watch: Another Lincoln Park car prowl

January 9, 2015 at 1:12 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 18 Comments

Yet another car prowl at Lincoln Park. Today’s report is from Luna:

We had our car broken into between 8:15 and 8:50 this morning in the Lincoln Park south lot. There was nothing in the car for them to take. Everyone that stopped while we were cleaning up and getting someone to come and pick up our kiddo was so nice and surprised, it makes me glad to live in West Seattle even if this happens at our local park! We also chatted with a couple who were broken into in the same spot last week, so be careful, everyone! There really was almost nothing visible in our car and they didn’t take the kids Patagonia jacket that was on the floor, so it seems like they were definitely looking for a purse/wallet. Just wanted as many people as possible to be aware!

This is the third reader report we’ve received this week about Lincoln Park car prowls; we tried checking the police-reports map again for the latest tally, but it’s not working so well at the moment. We also have a message out to local police leadership to ask how they’re tackling this problem, and will add whatever we hear back.

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