Burglar alert

A WSB reader who lives just east of The Junction wants to alert us all to a potential stepped-up burglary threat in the area. He returned from an out-of-town trip to find out from his alarm company that someone had tried to break in. Here’s the rest of his story; if you’re away during the day, it’s worth touching base with neighbors to see who’s home and who can keep an eye out for anything/anyone suspicious:

… since I’ve been back I have learned from a local real-estate agent (subsequently backed up by the Seattle Police) that there has been a local burglary ring that has been specifically targeting West Seattle as of late. Most of these attempts seem to be happening between 11 am and 6 pm while people are away at work. Sometimes these guys will even come to the door (asking for directions or seeking some random person) to verify that no one is home.

41 Replies to "Burglar alert"

  • Hills April 17, 2007 (11:23 am)

    A couple of months ago I had a man & woman come to the door asking for someone – I’d never heard of her, nor has she ever lived in my place (I know the tenant history going back to when the owners lived there).
    It was evening, maybe 6 or 7, but it was strange enough that I never opened the door. Don’t be afraid to use the old-fashioned ‘Who is it?’ before opening.
    And, the car they were in didn’t leave right away. It was long enough for me to get the license plate #…just in case.

  • Eileen April 17, 2007 (12:45 pm)

    Would be interesting to compare notes – there have been some fishy things going on west of the junction too. If you see suspcious stuff but non emergency call SPD 625-5011

  • flipjack April 17, 2007 (12:50 pm)

    Yes, a house in our neighborhood was robbed about a year or so ago. The time was between 5 and 6 pm and a witness saw the guy leave in a white Lexus. Quite the getaway car.
    Also, I was walking the other day down 37th South of Thistle and a guy in the neighborhood said there had been numerous break-ins (car and house) around there. It was weird because as I was walking back I saw a guy in a white Lexus pull in a driveway and turn around sort-of looked suspicious…kind of an uncomfortable coincidence.
    I think it’s good to get to know your neighbors, not only for paranoid reasons but for community reasons. I like to keep in touch and make a point to say hi and talk if I see my neighbors out and about.

  • Keith April 17, 2007 (12:52 pm)

    Eileen, can you elaborate on any of the fishy things happening to the west?

    I saw a couple of teenagers being arrested in the Junction on Sunday, not sure what it was all about.

  • Jimmy April 17, 2007 (1:07 pm)

    this past weekend, someone stole 2 freshly planted cedar trees right out of my yard!

  • ericak April 17, 2007 (1:11 pm)

    We have also witnessed increased drug activity in the Viking Bank Parking lot and on 41st/Alaska. Exchanges of cash and goods from cars driving buy as the ‘buyers’ wait in cars on the street or in the parking lot. Not much response from the police yet, but lots of incentive for starting a Block Watch.

  • Jiggers April 17, 2007 (2:06 pm)

    Gives the new meaning to the term drive thru service at Viking Bank…..lol

  • Juan April 17, 2007 (2:29 pm)

    FYI – I’ve called the 625-5011 4 times for a variety of law breaking issues in March and April and never had a response. When I followed up, I was told they were busy with more important things. What’s that Public Enemy song? Git a git down .. 911’s a joke in yo town!

  • Eric April 17, 2007 (2:43 pm)

    “We have also witnessed increased drug activity in the Viking Bank Parking lot”

    Wonder if it is just a coincidence that there is a check cashing place right there to…. those places should be banned!

  • Juan April 17, 2007 (2:51 pm)

    LOL Eric, right on! The white center boundries have migrated north and to the west. LOL

  • kb April 17, 2007 (5:19 pm)

    over the past year there have been multiple home robberies along Cali Ave at Gatewood Hills. All during the day and typically while the homeowners are home. Usually in the yard working and leaving the doors open. I think mostly houses with back alley access as well. All reports were of a well-dressed gentleman seen leaving, but no leads. It’s a shame. We have a neighborhood watch and it doesn’t do jack. Our car was stolen while parked RIGHT in front of the sign!

  • Bill April 17, 2007 (6:36 pm)

    This afternoon a large group of kids were obviously passing a joint around at the corner of 34th and Webster. I don’t have a problem with pot per se, but these were school aged kids in public.

  • eileen April 17, 2007 (9:29 pm)

    There is a “high” traffic house (haha) on 48th that’s giving our neighborhood fits. Been logging and reporting to SPD and we’ve set up a block watch meeting with a sw precinct rep. I’d heard there’s been a bunch of break in in the area and wondered if they were related. It seems like they are part of a larger group since they switch out cars and come and go from some other location.

  • Cari April 17, 2007 (9:33 pm)

    We got hit in November during the 12pm hour, by 3 young latino males. They kicked in our front door and shattered the jamb all over the room. Can you say forced entry? They were driving an older light colored sedan. Our neighbor saw two of them on the steps talking to someone inside, so she figured it was one of us. It was the 3rd guy getting all our computers, ALL jewelry and coins and cash togther for the pickup. We lost tens of thousands of dollars of stuff. We’re on 31st 2 blocks South of Holden. The cops don’t even look for these guys. They just say “hope you have insurance.” We did, and we keep good records, so we got some stuff replaced. AND now we have a kickass alarm. And we pack heat.

  • Jena April 17, 2007 (10:31 pm)

    We live on 44th near the Morgan Junction. I have a daycare in my home in the basement. A month ago I left my back door unlocked at 7:00am after taking the trash out and then went down in the basement for the day to work. Someone came in through the alley around 9am, walked right into my home and stole both mine and my husband’s laptops (my husband was upstairs getting ready for work!)
    They left the backdoor wide open so I think they left in a hurry once realizing someone was home. When the police came they told us to check the windows because they often come back to finish the job. Sure enough the window right near the backdoor was unlocked and cracked open a bit.
    Our neighbor reported that a Caucasian man in his mid-thirties entered her yard around the same time and told her he would be doing construction at our house and he just wanted to warn her that it might be loud.
    Needless to say, we now have an alarm system, cameras at both doors, and we have permanently padlocked our alley gate… with the daycare I don’t want to take any chances.
    The police did not take fingerprints and gave us no feedback of other burglaries in the area. He acted as though this was an isolated case.

  • Chewy April 18, 2007 (5:54 am)

    One big driver of home burglary’s in WS is the ability to quickly and easily sell the goods at a very sleazy ‘business’ in the 5200 block of Delridge Way, just north of the Delridge Library. The place portrays itself as a vacuum repair shop as well as a buyer and seller of used items. But the reality is the place purchases and then resells items stolen by crooks who have obtained their loot from all over WS and points beyond. If you are ever the victim of a burglary, go to this place and look for your items. If you find them, demand them back and call SPD. The place is supposed to be out of business soon, but in the meantime it is an absolute plague on all of WS.

  • The House April 18, 2007 (6:35 am)

    This is very interesting. Approx 1 month ago I had a Latino male knock on my door asking to buy my car and asking for someone I don’t know. He asked me if my father or brother might have spoke with him. The next day we had a burglary 6 doors down from me. I felt like this guy was acting suspicious, but dismissed it at the time. Although I don’t remember the make of his vehicle, I remember that it was a nice white car.

  • The Doggg Father April 18, 2007 (8:00 am)

    Walked out of the house this morning to see that a car had been broken into at 44th and Alaska. It was the only car broken into of the 8 or so that were parked there overnight. Oh, spring & summer in West Seattle just invite the cream of the crop from down south doesn’t it?

  • Eric April 18, 2007 (8:29 am)

    Alarm systems only run $30 per month. I used to be opposed to having one, but it is way cheaper than I pay for homeowners insurance, so I felt that it was a good investment for security. Obviously, it is only a deterrent – but just like your car, anything you can do to make your house less temping for a crook is worth it.

    Also, you can get a nice 12-gauge shotgun for a song… nice to have if one of these a-holes breaks in while you are home.

    The police are not going to protect you – they are simply reactive.

  • Aidan Hadley April 18, 2007 (8:55 am)

    My alarm system with Puget Sound Alarm costs $70 every three months. After one break-in attempt it has already paid for itself.

    Regarding some of the commenters here who are packing heat: While I can empathize with the emotions you are having about these lowlifes who are breaking and entering, I’m not sure that I’m necessarily prepared to take human lives for what is essentially property. And a little legal advice, before you pull the trigger your’d better make sure that :1) They aren’t a member of your family who simply forgot their keys and 2) They fall INSIDE your property when you shoot them because it is going to make a difference in court.

  • Administrator April 18, 2007 (9:30 am)

    Should any burglar types read this thread (ha! well, you never know), regarding our original post, did want to point out that you can’t assume no one’s home if no one answers the door. We make it a point of never going to the door for someone we don’t recognize; we have various means of determining this (seeing the doorknocker without them seeing us).

  • Chet April 18, 2007 (9:57 am)

    A nice 12 gauge for a song. I love it! I have an alarm system in my house that is thankfully pretty comprehensive thanks to the previous owner. I don’t answer my door either.

    I’ve heard several of several incidents recently between Gatewood and Admiral when trucks were backed up into driveways and they rammed doors to gain entry.. broad daylight in the front of the house! Also, heard a story about a guy who was sleeping upstairs with his family while some peeps walked out of his lower level with his plasma. These criminals deserve no mercy be it from the slap on the wrist they will likely get or the business end of a weapon.

  • Cruiser April 18, 2007 (10:15 am)

    Lots of good points here,may I add a thought? OK, don’t depend on neighbours to “keep an eye out”…2 yrs ago after I moved here I was borrowing my friends car. She always left her back door open but on this occasion had locked it. I called her at work and she said to climb in the bathroom window which I proceeded to do. About halfway through my gymnastics her neighbour across the alley saw me climbing in …he had never seen me before…did he call the cops??? Did he hell:)

  • Amy April 18, 2007 (10:29 am)

    Cari: The prospect of a gun in a home is an even greater incentive for criminals to break into a home while you’re away. I wouldn’t advertise your location any more than you already have, and I pray you have taken precautions to keep the gun locked up/hidden while you’re away.

  • s April 18, 2007 (11:12 am)

    i know this isn’t PC, but in light of these burglaries, gentrification of white center doesn’t sound all that bad anymore…

  • Bayou April 18, 2007 (11:39 am)

    My best friend called me in tears a couple of weeks ago after waking up to a bald guy staring into her window. She lives just a couple of blocks south of the junction and alerted police as it happened but still opted to come crash on my couch that night. The police arrived quickly but were not able to catch the guy.

    Sometimes I wish I still had a gun but so often they are used against the owner.

  • CH April 18, 2007 (12:32 pm)

    Almost exactly a year ago a person knocked on my door (near Cali and Ida) around 11 am but I was trying to put our infant son down for his nap and didn’t answer it. Luckily he wasn’t ready for his nap because 5 mins later I saw a car parked outside and thought “the person must have broken down or needed directions and went to a neighbors for help”. Right then I heard a window break in my son’s room and ran in to find a guy reaching through trying to open the latch on the window. I chased him away and was on the phone with 911 before he got to his car out front and was able to describe him and give dispatch his plate number.

    The police came 5 or so mins later and took my statement for “statistical info” and didn’t even want to go around back to look at the broken window until I talked them into it. That’s when we noticed that he broke the garage window first but didn’t go in. The police thought they recognized the name that came up from the plate but we never heard back from them.

    We figured out that he’d happened to be driving by and saw my spouse (who was creeped out by their eye contact) leave to run some errands, doubled back around and waited a couple of minutes before knocking on the door.

    It definitely shakes you up and we’ve since increased security and are more aware of who’s around when we’re leaving. While we don’t always answer when someone knocks, we sure as hell check them out and make sure they leave afterwards!

  • Chet April 18, 2007 (1:02 pm)

    Seems like with all of this info the police would have something to go on besides just pushing papers. Jeez! I lived near Ida and CA for a while too.

  • K April 18, 2007 (2:56 pm)

    had a conversation with one of seattle’s finest today. he confirmed that theft is on the rise dramatically. most of it is for quick drug money. lock cars and homes even when inside them.

  • s April 18, 2007 (3:26 pm)

    K, can you ask our “finest” why they aren’t doing anything about this other than telling us to lock up?

  • K April 18, 2007 (7:24 pm)

    they also mentioned “stepping up” patrols. we’ll see if that happens. i haven’t noticed. i have seen some unmarked cars shining flashlights in vehicles at night. not sure what that’s for.

  • Todd in Westwood April 18, 2007 (9:36 pm)

    Down here on 21st and Roxbury, about 2 weeks ago, there was a younger woman knowing on neighborhood doors asking us if we needed our carpets cleaned. I said no, we have hardwoods, but I would take a pamphlet to be polite, funny thing was…..she had no pamphlets or proof she worked for a carpet cleaning company.
    I love my alarm system.

  • Eric April 19, 2007 (7:38 am)

    s — what exactly do you want them to do? think about it… the cops can’t protect you (would you have one stationed at each block?).
    The problem is lax punishment or property crime and early releases along with lack of services for mentally ill and drug addicts.

  • s April 19, 2007 (8:51 am)

    from posts here it sounds like the cops have been disinterested in the cases, not looking at evidence in the homes and not following up with the home owners. it also would be nice if they let the community know when crime like this is on the rise…i’m glad this blog is here otherwise i would have no idea until i get robbed. i agree that lax punishment and lack of services is a big part of the problem too. but the robbers need to be caught before they can be punished and rehabilitated. and catching them will be a deterrent to other potential robbers.

  • Eric April 19, 2007 (9:26 am)

    I think we watch too much TV… do we expect them to take prints, etc. I think they would if it would help, but it probably wouldn’t – especially when they are overextended and lack resources.

    Maybe if the city spent money on cops instead of non-binding votes (viaduct) and bike lanes, we might get a little more service from the police.

  • N April 19, 2007 (9:49 am)

    Sigh. Most of these comments are depressing. It’s great knowing my neighbors are armed up.

  • s April 19, 2007 (10:55 am)

    well, if the cops won’t / can’t do anything, it’s time to take care of yourself. get to know the neighbors, lock doors, keep extreme valuables in a safe, etc etc.

  • Eric April 19, 2007 (11:48 am)

    I agree, s. You are ultimately the only one who is going to care about your own safety – sad, but true. Look at our recent wind storm, or Katrina, or anything else. Police and other emergency responders are going to be too busy to take care of individuals.

    We all need to be proactive in preparing for disaster or crime (and crime that follows disaster). I’m not talking about setting up your house to be “off the grid” or building an arsenal of weapons, but somewhere in between that and sitting on your hands hoping someone is going to come help you when the need arises is probably prudent.

    I, for one, don’t want to be stuck in my house with nothing more than a phone that does not work when gangs of looters are roaming around after a natural disaster.

  • TS. April 23, 2007 (3:30 pm)

    Not sure if this will make anyone feel better BUT I have seen stepped up patrols in the section of Admiral where I live (near CA & Hinds) and near my business, on CA Ave near the high school. I have an alarm on my house and business and keep my vehicles locked and have not (knock on wood) had an issue. The police ARE around more, but it’s still not enough but they say there aren’t enough officers and they are having trouble recruiting. LOCK YOUR DOORS. Clear away the vegetation around your house that gives prowlers places to hide. They’re going to get in if they really want to but we can make it more difficult…

  • Sean April 25, 2007 (9:35 pm)

    I’m in Rainier Beach and we have similar problems. neighbor had car broken into. burglar left hospital bracelet behind accidentally. Cops didn’t do anything, said it was insufficient evidence. Guys name is Rodney Rommell Oliver. Turns out all the cops know him. Look him up on Scomis, he is career ultra revolving door criminal since juvi felony in 1982. In jail this week, probably out next. The corrections system is not correcting this guy. It is amazing. 85 or so cases since 1982 in SCOMIS, and each one has probably a dozen court appearances. We are probably spending more “correcting” him than we would if we just paid him full time wages to stay at home. And this is just one guy. how many more like him? Just penny burglary stuff. not enough to lock him up long enough to get him permanently out of the way. I just got ripped off- all jewelry, laptops, you name it. packed up in our own suitcases and walked off down the street. Got it on video, w/ nice photo of our burglar(not Rodney though) April 5th. No luck from cops yet. we have same problems here in rainier beach. Very disturbing and disrupting.

  • Chet April 26, 2007 (7:47 am)

    I know what you are feeling Sean. Very frustrating. I sometimes feel like I am the sucker for NOT being a criminal. Doesn’t seem to pay to play by the rules much anymore. But, I have dignity and pride and morals and would never stoop to their level. There are so many inconveniences in our daily lives because of a few bad apples. So many intrusions into honest peoples lives because a double check on ones integrity has to be done.

Sorry, comment time is over.