Crime Watch reader report: In the yard? Lock the door

This just out of the WSB inbox, from Desiree:

I had a terrible thing happen to me yesterday and I want to share it with others so the same thing does not happen to them. I live in West Seattle at Southern St and 35th Ave SW. While I was mowing my lawn yesterday (Wednesday) a thief entered my home through the basement utility room. He stole my purse, jug of change ($80) and my mother’s engagement ring (not replaceable). After I finished mowing the front lawn I walked the lawn mower down the side of the home and into my driveway where there was a beat-up black BMX bike on the sidewalk at the end of my driveway. I though, gosh that’s a big bike for the kids to be riding and thought nothing more about it. After I put the lawn mower away and turned around I noticed the bike was gone. This was maybe a minute from when I had just walked by the bike.

When I realized my purse was missing I headed straight to the bank where I was told by the bank representative that already the thief had tested my debit card at the ARCO station. When the police arrived and learned of my situation they shared with me that this has been happening in the area from the south to the Admiral District. Mostly these “Opportunists” are looking for elderly people working in their yards, which is a good opportunity to enter the home, according to the police officer. A running lawn mower is an excellent indication for a thief to know of ones whereabouts. I really never thought I’d have to lock my door while I’m doing choirs around the home.

I spoke to the neighbors and the little boy saw a man arrive on his black bicycle with black clothing and dark skin. The boy saw him on my deck. Which was a very scary thing since you can only get on the deck from the upstairs kitchen door. The boy saw the man crawl over the deck…the boy thought it was my husband. With the boy witnessing the man’s actions, it helped me put together what really happened and how the thief entered and exited my home.

I think this information is very important so please post it as a reminder for neighbors to be alert to their surrounding and be safety-conscious.

A related reminder: The neighborhood crime-fighting-awareness event Night Out is next Tuesday, and tomorrow is your last day to register your block, which gets you official permission to close it to traffic that evening, so you can have a block party. Here’s how to register. (And if you’re having a Night Out event, and wouldn’t mind us dropping by to get a picture and say hi, please let us know where and when – this is the type of community event we love to celebrate in WSB coverage.)

20 Replies to "Crime Watch reader report: In the yard? Lock the door"

  • wsblover July 31, 2008 (12:35 pm)

    Thanks for the heads up. Sorry that happened to you. There sure are a lot of scumbags out there.

  • gavmit July 31, 2008 (12:43 pm)

    Sorry this happened to you but thanks for sharing hopefully it will help from it happening to someone else – seems to be a lot of this going on as of late.

  • whoopsadaisy July 31, 2008 (1:13 pm)

    As a single woman who works from her home, in a detatched cabin, this was a real eye opener. I’ve always felt so safe and never locked my doors. I can assure you they are locked now. Thank you for letting all of us in West Seattle make this a safer and informed West Seattle by sharing your horrible incindent.

  • west seattle mom July 31, 2008 (1:34 pm)

    I am sorry too this happened to you, I remember my grandfather always telling me to lock the basement door when we were out doing yard work – so “bad guys” didn’t have easy access. I tell my hubby & kids the same thing. This is a good reminder…

  • Eric July 31, 2008 (1:40 pm)

    This exact same thing happened to my neighbor (37th Ave and Hanford) this past Saturday. She was outside in her backyard, around 3pm, pruning bushes. Someone walked in her front door and stole her purse from her kitchen. She found out around 5pm, and called her bank. They told her that they had tried her ATM card within 15 minutes of the time they had apparently taken it.

    There’s no way to hide in front of her house, which makes this pretty bold crime.

    I think the message is – keep your doors locked even when home.

  • charles July 31, 2008 (2:03 pm)

    i hope it doesn,t get to the point that i have to pack a fire arm if i go in the back yard. generaly my wife is home when i am in the back yard. front door is locked, but basement door is open. i do watch, but seems like there is a never ending supply of thiefs around. nothing much will change till the mayor gets his house broken into. or he get mugged in bell town

  • nuni July 31, 2008 (2:23 pm)

    I’m so glad we got a big dog this week to protect our home! It’s sad but I never feel safe in my home or on the streets around here. I live right by the Walgreens on 35th so I will be on the lookout for this guy, thanks for the description!

  • Johnny Davies July 31, 2008 (3:33 pm)

    Any neighbors out there interested in a sting operation – VIGILANTE STYLE?? Seems like an easy one to set up.

  • WS resident July 31, 2008 (3:40 pm)

    So sorry this happened to you, and thank you for sharing it with us so that we’re informed. I spend a lot of time in the yard during the spring, summer, and fall, and this makes me more aware of how to keep myself and my home safe.

  • nuni July 31, 2008 (3:58 pm)

    I am :) I’m bringing my pepper spray. hehe.

  • TeresaP July 31, 2008 (4:01 pm)

    I second the notion Johnny Davies!

    I am sick and tired of losers ripping off hard working people. The worse part is if he would have gotten caught by the poice, nothing would have happened to him anyway. He would be out of jail in three hours and that would be that.

    Until people start protecting their own, these kind of things will continue to happen.

  • ShapeShifter July 31, 2008 (4:15 pm)

    Makes me unhappy that it happened and even more unhappy that people are now scared of it happening to them. Fear sucks. Before anyone goes out and buys a gun or starts any “vigilante” action I encourage you to check out the crime statistics for Seattle and our little part of it in particular. Check them out here. For the amount of people living in the area it really is a pretty safe place to live.

    Any crime is too much crime (as a guy that got his truck broken into a few months back, I feel it) but it’s good to keep some perspective.

  • Johnny Davies July 31, 2008 (4:42 pm)

    My post wasn’t fear based. More of a proactive idea. We live in a generally safe area, although we do live in a CITY. That’s something to keep in mind – things like this can happen in our environs.

    But, back to the sting idea, once a criminal enters a private residence uninvited with intent – its game on. Nothing a solid swing with a louisville slugger can’t take care of – especially when he (sexist I know) thinks the homeowners are out back mowing the yard. Word would probably spread quickly amongst thieves that its not such a good idea..

  • danielle July 31, 2008 (4:46 pm)

    I believe the person guilty of this may have parked his truck in front of my house yesterday morning around 10 am. I was leaving when a dark truck with two bicylcles in back and a man driving, woman passenger pulled up. The man quickly hopped out and, leaving his door open, grabbed a bicycle and rode off. While he was gone, the female passenger stayed in the truck and did drugs. He returned 5-10 mins later and was very eratic. I asked if everything was ok and he, clearly agitated, claimed that he’d just seen a friend at a bus stop and was too lazy to walk. The license plate number on the truck was “B52159C”. I have called the SPD and King County Sherrif and reported the tip. So sorry for the victims.

  • M July 31, 2008 (5:01 pm)

    But who wants some lowlife’s blood all over their house? Not me. Throw a net over him or something.

  • nuni July 31, 2008 (5:15 pm)

    Ooh I live in area 114 on the map. We’ve had our fence and my car run in to by drunk drivers (found beer bottles), I’ve had someone yell to me that they were going to cut off my head off (I was standing on my porch minding my own business), Someone threw a wrench through my passenger window causing me to have to replace both my passenger window and my windshield. A few months back I was driving down passed the Uhaul on 35th and it appeared as though a man was exposing/touching himself. There have been (gang?) fights on my street numerous times, and one time I even saw police verbally abusing a drunk woman calling her a slut RIGHT ON MY BLOCK within earshot of me! Why should I feel safe?

  • Mags July 31, 2008 (7:34 pm)

    I live near Bradford and 38th and I heard from one of the neighbors that this happened in my neighborhood a couple of weeks ago, but the neighbor came back in the house and the person was there and scared them out of her house. Apparently nothing was taken but she was also out doing yard work with the door open. This thievery gets real old real fast.

  • Bernicki July 31, 2008 (10:37 pm)

    So how does the perpetrator know there’s nobody else in the home, like, watching TV or making lunch or something? Do these back-door criminals watch the house for a while? Or do they just take their chances?

  • Johnny Davies August 1, 2008 (9:25 am)

    True, “M”. Maybe tasers are the weapon of choice?

  • Andee August 1, 2008 (9:30 am)

    Terrible experience for you. A heads up to everyone-this happened to us at 46th and Thistle 4 YEARS AGO and afterward found it had happened to several otherhomes in the Fauntleroy neighborhood. We have had several neighbors have it happen in the Highland Park area too and as I tell more people about it I continue to receive reports of the same thing happening ALL OVER West Seattle. Sounds like it’s a tactic that is working, so get out there on Tues., meet your neighbors and keep an eye on each others’ homes. We personally averted a break in on the house across the street just a couple weeks ago!

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