West Seattle Crime Watch: There’s good news too

The latest from the files at the Southwest Precinct – and we’ve got a lot to tell you about, since our last visit was last Thursday. handcuffs_2.jpgWe start with a “good news” story that unfolded while we were at the precinct late today: It started this morning, when a West Seattle man found a wallet in the Central District. He reported it to police later by flagging down an officer at Delridge and Hudson. Police called the wallet’s owner and asked if she could come pick it up at the Southwest Precinct. She arrived around 4 this afternoon, received the wallet from officer Buzzy Katzer at the front desk, and exclaimed, “Wow, my 11 dollars are even still in here!” She wanted to thank the man who found her wallet and turned it in; at last report, police were trying to reach him to convey her message. Ahead – an amazing array of other incidents, including the “adult model” dispute and the runaway litterer:

EAGLE-EYED CITIZENS HELP STOP TOOL-THEFT SUSPECTS: Early Monday afternoon, a man parked in the 4500 block of 42nd SW and left his truck for about 10 minutes. When he got back, a woman came up to say she had seen a man taking things from the truck. She got a good description of the man and his car; the truck owner noticed in the meantime that he was missing a $400 saw. While police were talking to them, another witness arrived to say she saw two men in the truck. Shortly afterward, the description information helped another officer stop the two suspects at 45th and Dawson; the tools found in their car were identified by the victim as his. Officers discovered one of the suspects, a 20-year-old West Seattle man, already had five warrants out for his arrest, including car-prowling and theft charges. He and the other suspect, a 19-year-old man from elsewhere in Seattle, were arrested and taken to jail. (We just checked the jail register; they’re both now out.)

BUS ATTACK: The police report on this one says two men in their 50s and six much younger men/boys were the only passengers on a bus headed westbound on the West Seattle Bridge at 6:15 Saturday night, when the younger men attacked the older ones. First, the report says, they confronted a 52-year-old man and tried to pull his wallet out of his pants. He pushed them away. Then they moved to the 50-year-old man, tried to take his wallet, he “cried out,” and they started beating him up. The bus driver didn’t hear or see anything, the report says, but eventually stopped the bus, and the six younger men/boys got out. Police tracked down three of them — two 15-year-olds and a 14-year-old — and booked them into juvenile custody.

TEENS VS. TEEN: A 14-year-old boy told police he was walking in the 9400 block of 8th SW around 2:30 Sunday afternoon when three other boys attacked him — making “gang signs,” knocking him down, kicking him, then taking his hat, coat, backpack, wallet, and boots, telling him “wrong ‘hood, wrong time,” and “don’t call the police or we’re going to look for you and mess you up” before taking off. The victim said the attackers were all black, about 16 years old, one short and skinny with sunglasses and a red jacket (and claiming to have a gun); another 5-3, chubby, dark complexion, wearing a black sweatshirt and light-blue jeans; the third 5-5, skinny, light complexion, white New York Yankees baseball hat, black sweatshirt and dark-blue jeans.

APARTMENT-BUILDING FLASHER: Two women who work for SDOT told police yesterday about something that happened near their work site at Fauntleroy and Juneau last Friday afternoon. They were working near an apartment building and interacting amiably with residents who were “hanging around” on Friday morning, but then after they came back from lunch, they were startled to see a man come out of the apartment complex in a robe that he subsequently opened to expose himself. They described him as white, 5-8, 150 pounds, in his 30s, clean-shaven, short blonde hair, wearing (sort of) a brown robe.

MORE DETAILS ON THE FLASHER WHO TARGETED KIDS: We told you about this one after it was first reported on Saturday afternoon (original WSB report here). An 11-year-old girl, 11-year-old boy, and 5-year-old boy told officers a man was sitting on a bench, watching them, as they played near a pond in the 3000 block of Juneau. As they walked by him on their way to a nearby playground, they saw he had his pants unzipped and was exposing himself. They last saw him running toward the playground; they described him as Hispanic, in his 40s, tall, medium build, short black hair, facial stubble, wearing a zipped-up waist-length black jacket and dark jeans.

TRIO OF TROUBLES AT LOCAL RESTAURANTS: First one, in The Junction, last Friday night: A bar manager refused service to an intoxicated woman, who got rowdy, was asked to leave, wouldn’t leave. Police came, escorted her out, gave her a “trespass” card and told her that meant she couldn’t go back there for a year. They left; she was back within 10 minutes, they arrested her and took her to jail (where she got out after a few hours). Second one, also Friday night, another Junction establishment — someone defaced four art photos in the men’s room by “tagging” them. Third one, Sunday afternoon on Alki, a customer who got an order “to go” came back and pronounced it “disgusting” — the owner tried to calm him, things got unruly, the man spat in her face (though he’d gotten his refund) and left.

APOLOGETIC ARMED ROBBER: Here are the details on the pharmacy stickup in the 5400 block of California, discussed in comments following the flasher post on Saturday afternoon: A man in a blue bandana and hoodie walked into the drugstore and pulled a “fake-looking” gun on the clerk. “Give me your Oxycontin 80 mg,” he said. “This is a joke, right?” asked the clerk. “No, it’s not,” said the robber. The clerk gave him a bottle of pills and the robber, described in the report as “very polite,” left with this final word: “Sorry!”

IT’S A LONG STORY: Also on Saturday afternoon, police pulled over a car in the 7900 block of 24th SW after noticing a broken taillight. Checking out the two people in the car, they found the passenger had an arrest warrant out for him in Lewis County. They searched him and found a glass pipe as well as white powder the man confirmed was meth. The officer asked, “How long have you been smoking meth?” The man, 39 years old, said: “About 17 years.” They arrested him.

MUST HAVE BEEN SOME DUMPSTER: Early yesterday afternoon, police got a call about two men picking things up in yards and alleys in the 7700 block of 15th SW. There, officers found 48-year-old twin brothers, one pushing a supermarket cart, one pushing a hand truck with a trash can atop it. They told the officers they were just “scrapping” and picking up trash and recyclable items, but one item found in the cart sure didn’t look like trash or recyclables — it was a plastic bag full of jewelry that looked to be worth at least $1000. The brothers insisted they found it while dumpster-diving, but couldn’t remember where. The items were taken as evidence; the brothers were taken in for questioning; burglary detectives now have the case.

INCRIMINATING RECEIPT: One of the largest stores in Westwood Village had two notable shoplifting cases in the past few days. Most notable — 3:20 pm Sunday, store security spotted a suspected shoplifter who they say had stolen from them earlier in the week. They saw him cut open a Polaroid camera package; they called police, who caught up with him quickly and found both the camera and a box cutter in his pants — as well as a pawn-shop receipt describing another Polaroid camera, with a serial number that matched up to one stolen from the same store just hours earlier. The suspect, a 47-year-old Gig Harbor man, confessed to the thefts (and spent two days in jail till getting out last night).

VANDALISM ISN’T FUNNY: Two middle-school-age boys seen laughing as they ran from Roxhill Elementary on Sunday afternoon are suspected of throwing a rock through a school window. Officers found a three-inch hole in the window and a three-inch rock, surrounded by glass fragments, on the floor inside.

ALSO IN THE ROXHILL VICINITY: Two separate reports were made last Saturday about storage facilities at the park having been broken into. The responding officers weren’t sure what was taken; that’s up to the Parks Department to determine.

DID ANYBODY LOOK IN THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR? At California and Alaska, around midnight Sunday night, a police car was at a red light, behind another car. A passenger in that car threw two paper cups out the window, in full view of the officers, who decided to pull the car over. As they did, the passenger got out and ran; officers stopped him a block away. He admitted to littering and said he had told his friends in the car that if police stopped him for it, he would run. They ticketed him.

PHOTO FIGHT: In the 5900 block of California SW last Friday night, police got a call from a woman whose business is described in the report as “a website featuring adult models.” She told them about an ongoing dispute over ownership of photos featuring a particular model, and said she’d gotten a visit from that model, her brother, and another man. She said they were harassing and threatening her, telling her she had 24 hours to take down the model’s photos “or else.” Police found the brother, who denied threatening the website operator; they told him to stay away from her, and suggested that both parties in the dispute seek legal counsel to work it out.

TWO LAPTOP THEFTS: Both of these happened last Friday — one was stolen from a car parked behind a business in the 5400 block of California SW around 12:20 pm, after the thief broke a window and grabbed the computer; the other was taken from a house in the 9600 block of 37th SW sometime between 9:30 am and 2:45 pm Friday — kids came home there after school and discovered the family-room window broken and a laptop missing. They went immediately to a neighbor’s house to call police.

VEHICLE THEFTS: Several to tell you about — biggest one, a tanker truck full of heating oil, stolen Monday night-Tuesday morning from the 5400 block of West Marginal SW; a 1997 Civic was stolen Monday afternoon-evening from the 900 block of SW Holden; a 1995 Dodge Caravan was stolen from the 9200 block of 18th SW Saturday night-Sunday morning; a 1993 Plymouth Voyager was stolen yesterday morning-afternoon from the 3400 block of SW Holly; another car theft was reported midnight Saturday night from the 5900 block of 32nd SW; and a car taken from the 9000 block of 12th SW on Saturday morning was spotted by its owner at 14th & Henderson a few hours later, so she has her car back.

As we always remind you – don’t hesitate to call police when you see or hear something suspicious, and of course when you believe a crime has been (or is being) committed. In addition to 911, there’s a non-emergency line at 206/625-5011. A big collection of Seattle Police crime-prevention resources is available online here. And previous WSB police-report coverage is archived on our Crime Watch page.

2 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: There's good news too"

  • Jim & Sandy r January 24, 2008 (11:39 am)

    There have been several car prowls in the Pelly Place neighborhood this week (vicinity of S. W. Willow and 47th Ave. S.W.) The perp seems to be targeting unlocked cars and rummaging through the contents. Nothing huge taken, but unnerving to the victims.

  • Melody January 25, 2008 (10:54 am)

    After becoming very frustrated myself with the crime the last 10 year in WS I have chatted with several law enforcement officers as well as a local Judge. It is an endless vicious circle unless the laws that dictate the punishment are changed to meet todays crimes.

    There is pretty much no punishment for property theft. The criminals are arrested do a few weeks and released. Usually within a 2-3 week period they are rearrested for the same crime and released again after another few days or weeks.

    Our Police Force is over worked and frustrated and who can blame them. They feel as if they aren’t moving forward in the fight against crime because the criminals are not punished in any substanial way to make a difference. The property owners are the ones who really do pay the price for the crime.

    As for the car break in’s and thefts; until Mayor Nickles quits sleeping with all of these developers whom he lowered the off street parking requiremnts for the car theft and vandalism will continue.

    We have the highest car theft percentage in the state and I believe rank in the top ten in the United States yet Nickles continues to allow these apartment and condo sites to be built with no realistic off street parking requirements.

    So as I see it the Mayor is creating a situation for crime in a district that has an under staffed Police Department who can’t fullfill all of the communities needs as it is!!!! Thanks Mayor Nickels I will think of you at election time.

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