West Seattle Crime Watch: Car scam, wandering toddler …

Much to report from the latest batch of West Seattle police reports we reviewed at the Southwest Precinct. handcuffs_2.jpgThese are from reports processed in the past five days – some of the incidents are more than a week old because the department review process took a few days – and it’s a long list because it’s been a while since we downloaded reports. Among the summaries you’ll read ahead, an online car buyer gets scammed; a toddler turns up wandering in the street; a couple of unusual “road rage”-type cases and slightly older kids get the police called on them just because they’re … playing? Read on:

BUYER BEWARE: A South Seattle woman told police on Saturday that she had been scammed by a man who advertised a car for sale on Craigslist, after she met him twice in West Seattle, “once to view the car, and the second time to buy it.” It was a ’94 Subaru Forester station wagon with 112,000 miles. She paid the seller $3400, then tried to transfer the title, and discovered the car had just been sold within the previous week — for $400, because of a “blown head gasket.” The name she’d been given by the $3400 seller turned out to really be the name of the $400 seller. Worst of all, police noted when checking out the car, “the carpets were wet and the interior smelled like dead or rotting flesh. (The victim) said she is concerned with the smell in the vehicle, which she said was masked by air fresheners when she first looked at it.”

EMBEZZLEMENT: This happened sometime in June but wasn’t reported till Wednesday: A nonprofit organization in the 4700 block of 42nd SW told police an employee had been using a company credit card for personal items and had given herself an unauthorized 13% pay raise. In all, the company thinks the loss may total $25,000. After getting a letter of termination, the suspect went back to her former workplace and took away her personnel file. She then returned to the business again and was confronted about the allegations; her former supervisors say she confessed, and when told a police report would be filed, she said, “Do what you have to do!”

WANDERING TODDLER: Around 9:20 pm last Wednesday, police were called about a two-year-old found wandering, shirtless, in the street at 15th/Henderson. They found the mother, apparently intoxicated, at her home a few blocks away; she said she thought the child was asleep and that he must have wandered out while she was talking with friends. She then told police the child had done the same thing once before. Officers subsequently discovered the woman’s boyfriend (the toddler’s father), recently convicted of assaulting her and under orders not to have contact with her, was staying in the residence – and arrested him.

CALLING POLICE – BECAUSE OF CHILDREN PLAYING? This one happened in the 4300 block of 30th SW at 9:20 pm June 30th. The police report says the manager of an apartment complex in that area called 911 “to report that children who did not live at that apartment complex were playing in the grass and he wanted them to leave.” The officer found kids 3 to 13 playing there – some who lived at the complex, some neighbor kids who’d been invited by the resident kids. Once the officer ascertained no trouble was being caused and no damage had been done, the report says, the officer told the manager “that police do not tell small children where they can and cannot play when they were invited to be there by a tenant.”

ROAD RAGE, DRIVER VS. BICYCLIST: Around quarter past 2 on Fourth of July afternoon, a 31-year-old man bicycling westbound in the 2700 block of SW Genesee was passed by a car, and then saw the car almost hit another bicyclist heading eastbound. The first bicyclist got upset, caught up with the vehicle, and started arguing with the driver, who he said eventually said “Look what I have here” and showed a gun. The bicyclist reported this to police, who tracked the 38-year-old driver down at West Seattle Stadium – on the track. He admitted arguing with the bicyclist but denied having a gun; police, however, found it in his car, and also found out he was a convicted felon, so they arrested him.

NARROW-STREET RAGE: In the 3000 block of 60th SW the evening of June 28th, a driver pulled out of his apartment, and found himself unable to get very far down the road, because a car was stopped, taking up what space exists on that street between the legally parked cars on both sides. Nobody budged – till the other driver got out and told the apartment resident to back up. He then kicked and damaged the car’s front hood. As the victim tried to call 911, somebody else out of the other car ran up and tried to reach in and grab his phone. Finally the other car backed up and took off.

FORGERY INVESTIGATION: An Admiral bank told police a customer had been trying to get a $2.5 million loan to buy property but wasn’t financially sound enough for that amount; then the bank received copies of forged letters on its letterhead saying the customer was either approved for that loan amount or for a $2 million line of credit. The bank called the customer, who denied forging the documents and claimed to have no idea where they came from.

NEW HOME BURGLARIZED AND VANDALIZED: Between 8 am Wednesday and noon Friday, somebody went into what the police report describes as a “new, vacant” home in the 5400 block of 30th SW, damaged an interior door, and went on to pour bleach and paint onto the carpet and hardwood flooring.

PARK GRAFFITI: You may have seen citywide media reports in the past few days about a fresh wave of graffiti vandalism at city parks. West Seattle is far from immune; an officer was flagged down at 3:45 pm last Thursday by someone who wanted to belatedly report graffiti at Cottage Grove Park first spotted in mid-June. The officer confirmed walls, benches, and the jungle gym at the park had been defaced with green paint. The person who reported it said the suspects were three girls and two boys, middle-school age, who he had clashed with before.

SCHOOL VANDALIZED: Reported last Tuesday morning and likely committed in the previous few days – graffiti vandalism at Highland Park Elementary, nearby city property, and a nearby church. The school custodian told police there’s a regular problem with people trespassing on school property at night, and in the morning he’s finding empty beer bottles and used condoms. He’s hoping for extra patrols. Police also suggested “no trespassing” or “closed/hours” signs might be helpful in the nearby playground area.

PIPE PILFERER: 10:30 pm last Wednesday, police were called to a building in the 7100 block of 47th SW to deal with a man (early 20s, white) in the laundry room “taking out the copper pipes.” Confronted by a witness and told to stop, he just kept on doing it – till the witness called police, at which time the man fled. He had been seen in the laundry room the day before, is suspected of taking items from a nearby storage locker, and also is reported to have caused trouble for the staff of the nearby Lincoln Park 76 gas station.

ANOTHER COPPER THEFT: Last Tuesday afternoon in the 4500 block of SW Frontenac, someone stole about 100 feet of “used copper wire” from a residential yard.

CLUES LEFT BY BURGLAR(S): Between 3:10 pm and 6 pm on June 28th, someone broke into a house in the 1900 block of SW Brandon. They stole an iPod and bicycle gloves – but left behind two things that hadn’t been in the house before, a baseball cap and cell phone.

BURGLARS STEAL GAME CONSOLES: Between 6 pm and 8:30 pm last Wednesday in the 1200 block of SW Myrtle, someone broke into a residence by cutting through a window screen. They took two video-game consoles, plus “various shoes and clothes.”

ANOTHER BREAK-IN: Last Tuesday morning, while a resident was just away from her home in the 4000 block of California SW for a few hours, someone broke in through a front window and stole $600 worth of her belongings.

BUSH BATTLE: Police were called to the 3700 block of Belvidere on June 24th, where two neighbors have had escalating “boundary issues,” starting with one neighbor trimming bushes extending into their yard from the neighboring yard, moving on into everything from surveying to legal threats to fencing. Police have told the two to stay away from each other.

TIRE SLASHING: We got a reader report on July 3rd of tires slashed in the Graham/41st vicinity; from a similar time frame — 10 pm July 2 – 7 am July 3 — someone in the 5900 block of 47th reported their front passenger tire was slashed.

THEFT: Between 1 pm last Tuesday and 10 am Friday, somebody stole a lawn mower from a carport in the 3800 block of Belvidere.

COMPUTER MYSTERIOUSLY TURNS UP ON DOORSTEP: Around 6:30 am last Tuesday in the 6300 block of Atlas Place, someone found a laptop at their front door, and turned it over to police.

COMPUTER STOLEN FROM CAR: A vehicle parked at 56th/Alki was targeted by a car prowler between 7 and 9 pm last Tuesday; the thief got away with a laptop. The vehicle’s owner didn’t notice “forced entry” but did admit the power lock on one door didn’t always work properly.

ANOTHER COMPUTER STOLEN IN ANOTHER CAR BREAK-IN: 2500 block of Alki, early last Tuesday evening, someone got into a parked pickup and stole a laptop computer.

TRUCK BREAK-IN: Between 9 pm Tuesday and 7:40 am Wednesday, in the 1100 block of 37th SW, somebody broke into a tool box in a truck and stole power tools.

CAR BREAK-IN: In the 4100 block of 44th SW, between 11:30 pm June 30th and 8:40 am July 1st, someone broke into a Jeep Cherokee parked on the street and stole the stereo from its dash.

JACKED IT UP AND TOOK “EM OFF: Overnight from June 30th into July 1st, in an alley behind the 6000 block of Fauntleroy, somebody put a car they didn’t own up on blocks and stole its rims and tires.

CAR WINDOW BROKEN: Around 9 pm June 30th in the 2600 block of Alki, somebody broke a car window.

7 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Car scam, wandering toddler ..."

  • changingtimes July 8, 2008 (10:03 am)

    i live near 42 and oregan and was told that on sunday night someone broke into the Hope Lutheran Church’s construction area and stole tools and supplies, the man told neighbors to please be on the look out and if you see anything suspicious to please call police.

  • WSB July 8, 2008 (10:29 am)

    Thanks – reports now take a few days to get through the system so the Sunday night reports weren’t available when we were at the precinct late yesterday – we’ll look for that report when we check back for the latest reports in a couple days.

  • saney July 8, 2008 (12:09 pm)

    it amazes me how many laptops are stolen from cars. why would you leave your laptop on your car?

  • WSB July 8, 2008 (12:20 pm)

    Now that we go most places laptop-equipped, I sort of see why people do it – it really is cumbersome – even a “lighter” laptop is a bulky, sort-of-heavy thing to carry around – and you may decide “well, I’ll take my chances,” but I have seen SO MANY of these reports, that I don’t dare leave it in the car for a second. Last week when that boat got stuck at low tide on Alki, I was wading out on the slippery seaweed-topped sand, laptop bag strap digging into my shoulder, cause, well, that’s just the way it has to be. (Looking now for a semi-fashionable laptop backpack …)

  • Onya July 8, 2008 (5:28 pm)

    I really like my North Face laptop backpack that I got on sale at REI. I’ve carried it for almost 2 years and it still looks almost new. The only place that I have taken it and had a store employee ask to look in it was at Costco and she was really cool about it. I’ve always worried about leaving my laptop in the car and am willing to carry my backpack with me while running errands on the way home. I feel bad for the people that have had their computers stolen and just don’t need the hassle of replacing everything.

  • booger July 9, 2008 (10:52 pm)

    What sucks about getting laptops stolen, is not the loss of the laptops themselves, but the information contained within it. Hmm, how quickly can I scan your computer and get usernames\passwords for various accounts accessed by this computer. Easier than you’d think…

  • shelly July 17, 2008 (3:07 am)

    I live in white center and have been here for 4 ys but after the sheriff Steve Cox was killed the neighborhood went to hell again.I see crack dealers 4 doors down and they do fire works all night and i told them the 4th was over and to please stop as we on this block have to work.They set a m-80 bomb off at 1am and scared my children as they woke up crying and terrorifed.We need more police in west Seattle as they have more gangs and trouble makers now days then we did when they only hired 10 officers a ys.

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