Reader reports: Metal thieves; door-to-door alert

First, from Karen:

Warning for the Westwood area – 18th Ave SW. A neighbor just stopped by to let me know that he saw two men going down the street in a pickup truck and taking anything metal they found. That included walking into our fenced front yard and taking the kitchen sink that was sitting out there while we put up new sheetrock. The police were notified but did not offer any hope of recovery.

And from further west, Amy sent in a door-to-door alert – might be perfectly innocent, always hard to tell, in which case comments might prove reassuring:

We just had a guy knock on our door, late teens or 20’s, dark skin, wearing a black long sleeve shirt and jean shorts, who asked if we’ve “gone green.” He was carrying a rag of some sort and a spray bottle. Was asking about our vehicles also – we kept it short and literally had to close the door on him. We live on 34th Avenue SW between Trenton and

We have a no-soliciting sign displayed prominently on the house which is open to the street – yet people still knock. We’ve gotten everything from the alarm selling guys to voter signups. This just seemed way too suspicious. Thought I’d let you know so people can be aware!

28 Replies to "Reader reports: Metal thieves; door-to-door alert"

  • bill August 20, 2008 (10:17 pm)

    If theys come onto yer property, you can shoot ’em.

  • Amy August 20, 2008 (10:19 pm)

    Thank you for posting about this! Soon after he knocked on our door we noticed he disappeared from our block rather quickly. Seems to me that if he was legit he would have hit the other houses up too. I really hope no one got robbed this evening!

    One of us is home almost all the time – we’re freelancers. So at least our immediate neighbors can rest assured that we’re always on the lookout!

  • Diane August 20, 2008 (10:44 pm)

    I just saw a program on Planet Green the other night about a new green concept for washing cars without water, which was presented much the same as what you describe this guy did; on the program these 2 girls, acting kind of wild and crazy, ran around with spray bottles and rags and a sign offering free car washes, so they could show people how the product works, to wash cars without using water

    is it possible this guy was selling for this company? or trying to demonstrate how it works?

  • ? August 20, 2008 (10:46 pm)

    What kind of truck was it; a red mazda? Wonder if one of the guys the same one that was casing our house last week between SW Alaska St. and SW Oregon St. on 40th.

  • mellaw6565 August 20, 2008 (11:14 pm)

    No Bill – just spray them with the hose. Less jail time – LOL!

  • W August 21, 2008 (1:06 am)

    “?” I think you’re onto something. While I do not recall specifically the “make” of the truck, I saw a man in a small RED truck dumpster diving for metal in our alleyway. This was near Andover SW and California. Sounds like the same guy.

  • Dave August 21, 2008 (5:57 am)

    Bill: Yout got it wrong, if you (the owner) shoots the bad guy, you get prosecuted, and the theives win “Victom of the Month” award down at city hall the prize package includes a free get out of jail card and a fancy lawyer that will sue you for everything you have! Great City we live in!

  • Dave August 21, 2008 (6:02 am)

    Bill, you have it all wrong. If you (the owner) shoots the bad guys, they arrest you, but the judge will award the thieves “victom of the month” status that brings a fancy lawyer that will sue you for all you own, plus they’d be featured in some lame tear jerker on King 5’s blue hair show with the “Girly” man that flies the sea plane. Bank on it.

  • Aim August 21, 2008 (7:37 am)

    Someone came a knockin at our door last night as well, near the first report. I didn’t answer, and neither did any of my neighbors, who I know were home. I kept an eye out but the guy did leave immediately. White guy, 50’s, wearing a blue flannel and jeans, shirt untucked, short dark-grey hair. Because he didn’t hang around I didn’t call it in.

  • Ken August 21, 2008 (8:20 am)

    Actually two guys in a red pickup do pickup metal and other stuff in the area. I give them computers and printers and really ancient electronics from the 80’s and they seem to think they can turn it into cash.

    Since they are still alive, I assume they are not doing it themselves.

    But I am always home when they drive by so I suspect they would not feel comfortable “liberating” something from my front yard.

  • blogging gtown August 21, 2008 (8:25 am)

    You might be getting the scrappers that just got driven out of our neighborhood. The police seemed uninterested in monitoring the neighborhood during the day, and if it’s the same crowd, tend to walk off with anything metal or pawnable (e.g. power tools). Lock up your things and let them know that the neighborhood is on to them.

    Here’s a chronicle of these guys; see if there are any similarities:

  • Amy T. August 21, 2008 (8:33 am)

    Diane – Not sure if that was what he was trying to “sell”. If so he didn’t do a very good job of getting to the point…was asking about the rust on one of our vehicles and asking if we had kids…never mentioned anything about the product he was holding. So we said we weren’t interested and he kept trying to ask questions as we closed the door on him. And again – he quickly left the block. If I had seen him going up to the other houses I would have thought a bit less of it.

  • WSMom August 21, 2008 (9:06 am)

    This thread finally motivated me to contact the Parks Department about a large stack of new metal ducting left unsecured in the SW Community Center parking lot for the past month. I made a couple of phone calls, hopefully the Parks department will be motivated to secure this expensive material before a thief gets it.

  • WSB August 21, 2008 (9:29 am)

    WSM – good point. Did you get through to anyone personally? If not, I know the project manager through previous coverage and can drop him a line. Yikes.

  • MAS August 21, 2008 (9:40 am)

    Has anyone tried opening the door with a camera in-hand? Since they are on your doorstep, there’s no violation of their privacy, and if they are performing a legitimate service, they shouldn’t object to a photo for your scrap-book.

    If, on the other hand they are casing the hood for illegal purposes, that might convince them that there is now too much evidence of their presence to risk it…

    Oh and Bill, you have to show your credentials before you can kill on sight.


  • ? - Jana August 21, 2008 (10:12 am)

    Aim, and Others who may see the door knocker in his late 40’s/red mazda truck/smoker, thief/metal scrapper —

    What is the area that you and your neighbors live in? This is prob. the same guy who came to my home; not once but twice in two days, once on Thursday at 8:30am and then again the next day at 5:30pm. It seems he is systematically casing the neighborhoods. I’m trying to keep track of where they go, in hope that it might convince the police to do something about this Thief!

    PLEASE, if you see him again call 9-1-1 immediately and don’t go out to confront him otherwise he’ll be gone when the police get there and then nothing can be done.

    My description of the guy is on this post, does he match up? If so let us know where he hits next.

  • ? - Jana August 21, 2008 (10:44 am)

    Hey WSB,

    Could you map these cased neighborhoods?

    -On 36th / between Dawson and Brandon – August 11th, 7pm

    -midblock on 40th Ave SW / between SW Alaska St and SW Oregon St – August 13th 8:30 am

    -at the end of 40th Ave SW / Alaska – August 13th – AM

    -on 37th Ave SW, between Edmunds and Dawson – August 14th around 4:30pm

    -37th between Dakota and Andover – August 17th, 4:00 pm

    -18th Ave SW- August 20th, 9:30pm

    -18th Ave SW -August 20th, around 9pm

    -Andover SW and California, alley, August 20th (no time)

  • Alicia August 21, 2008 (11:21 am)

    Some guy and his buddy were combing our street last night (30th – between Trenton and Henderson) trying to sell some “all-purpose” solution called Pro-Tek. He asked me if I had been to Cancun and then said “That’s why I am out here in the rain selling this stuff”. I told him I wasn’t interested and he met back up with his friend who was walking down the middle of the street. They were back again a little later – trying to comb the street again.

  • klwest August 21, 2008 (11:46 am)

    With regards to the metal thieves, I saw the same thing happen on Spokane St. at Madison Middle School about two weeks ago. Two guys in a small white truck (maybe a datsun or toyota – I wasn’t close enough to get the make or license) slowed down by the entrance to the football field and the passenger jumped out, grabbed the metal bars that block cars from going in (they were on the ground for some reason), threw them into the back and the truck sped away. The guy had shoulder length hair and was wearing jeans. It was very suspicious looking so I reported it to the school’s principal, who confirmed later they are missing. I noticed they’ve since replaced them.

  • gw August 21, 2008 (11:58 am)

    Fellow posters beware-

    The last time I confessed that a “rusty” (I really only meant “not new”) cabinet was stolen from me, I was accused of hoarding garbage and breaking city ordinances. Hopefully our esteemed West Seattle neighbor, Flavian, will get a whiff this thread and can chastise all of us for being neighborhood nuisances and endangering children with the scrap heaps which theives have done us the favor of stealing. Maybe if we all say his name three times in a row, he will appear to judge us all. “Flavian, Flavian, Flavian”

    This thread is really off track. Enough with all this nonsense about tracking perps and stopping theft. The real criminals here are the property owners!

  • ? - Jana August 21, 2008 (12:01 pm)

    The above cased neighborhoods that I mentioned were only involving the scraggly-looking, greyish/brown haired, tiny and deeply set blue-eyed, heavy-smokin, white guy, with a friend waiting in the red truck (possibly a mazda) and not the guys trying to sell stuff- FYI. Oh yeah, I forgot to say the magic words… Pretty please?

  • WSB August 21, 2008 (12:13 pm)

    GW, or maybe not. Despite the participation of crabby critical commenters too, the true value of discussion on all types of websites – from a neighborhood-level news site like ours, to the biggest newspapers/tv networks in the land – is in exactly what’s going on here. So thanks to everyone for participating – TR

  • Irukandji August 21, 2008 (12:35 pm)

    Now, let’s go get some ice cream!

  • gw August 21, 2008 (4:39 pm)

    Tracy- Engaging a discussion with a focus of keeping our community connected and safe was exactly what I hoped I was doing the last time (I thought) I had something useful to say. (see link in above post) But instead, it became a venue for crabby people to hide behind the cloak of anonymity that is the blog comment board, and blast away, turning it into nothing more than a blind attack on one’s character and values. What true value is there in that?

  • klwest August 21, 2008 (6:02 pm)

    hang in there, gw. i’ve had this happen on the blog before too. there’s lots of venom out there and people seem to forget their manners online. but i still find the blog useful for news and information. and it’s for all of us, not just the people who seem to comment the most!

  • songstruck August 21, 2008 (9:45 pm)

    We’ve had some “attacks” in our neighborhood at the property under development on California & Graham. Just now (around 9:30 PM) I noticed a beat-up pickup turn up the alley there and went out to investigate. The pickup was obviously scanning the alley for something. I followed but they turned out of the alley. I thought they were gone, but they turned around and came back up the alley towards me.

    There were two scruffy occupants, caucasians. A long-haired guy was driving. The pickup was white, WA license A07428R; the back was full of metal stuff. They left the alley and turned west on Graham, then turned north into another alley down the street!

    If you missing something metal, these may be your guys! Could be the ones from Madison Middle School above.

  • AW August 22, 2008 (11:32 am)

    Metal Thieves are in Highland Park!

    Just in the last 24-48 hours had we had 6-8 pieces stainless stove pipe kindly removed from our driveway by these thieves. I am headed to WSR and Pacific I&M to hopefully reclaim my stolen items.

  • Flavian August 26, 2008 (12:42 am)

    GW, have I been invoked by a reference to the “Beetle Juice” movie?

    I perused your link and while accustomed to your previous atavistic non-sequiturs, I was dismayed, offended, and disgusted by your ad hominem and visceral imputation that I had descended to the use of a racist pejorative! There was nothing in my posts that rendered judgment on anyone based on social class or skin color, and my own lack of bigotry has long been attested to by my proud and traditional blue collar upbringing and then later by my most happy marriage to a wonderful Caucasian lady. While you may find it hard to believe, it is an immutable and eternal concept that by not discouraging the exhilaration caused by the commission of immoral deeds, even those most petty and forgettable, the eventual and regrettable result can only be in the enervation of our shared moral responsibility.

    Speaking of movie references, my sentiment was more eloquently stated by the character of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (truly the crabbiest of critical commenter) in Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket,” when he said, “If it wasn’t for [unthinking individuals*] like you, there wouldn’t be any thievery in this world, would there?”

    *edited for the family readers of this blog

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