West Seattle Crime Watch: Beach Drive burglary, arrest

Heading back to WSB HQ a few hours ago after the Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza ceremony, we spotted three Seattle Police cars rushing from Fauntleroy to northbound California, with rollers and sirens; we lost track of them, and couldn’t pick up anything obvious from the scanner, so later when we ran into Lt. Steve Paulsen on Alki, we asked what that call was about – he didn’t have tons of details but said it was a burglar “on Beach Drive” and “we got him.” Then a bit later, we got the rest of the story in this note from Megan:

Around 2:25 this afternoon I came home to a very panicked neighbor on her cellphone. She walked in on a well-dressed 5’8ish African American robbing her. This was in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. In a secure condo building. Luckily, a nice husband and wife heard her yelling for help and came to her aid. The African American ran down Beach Drive. The husband in pursuit. As she was on the phone with 911, a cop drove by, who she flagged down. A description was given. I had a friend I was meeting down on Alki and it looked as if they had arrested a suspect by 2:40 p.m. Great Job, SPD! I did want to give a heads up to everyone though, considering that this was in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. I would have never thought such a thing would happen like that.

P.S. To be a little more specific about the location – this happened around the 4200 block of Beach Drive.

19 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Beach Drive burglary, arrest"

  • JanS September 6, 2008 (6:43 pm)

    wow…glad they caught him. It’ll be interesting to see how he got in in the first place…

  • melissa September 6, 2008 (7:57 pm)

    Am I the only one who has a problem with this description? “The African American ran down beach drive.” Substitute “white” for “African American” in that sentence. Pretty weird, and offensive, I think, to identify someone solely by his ethnicity. I in no way wish to minimize the dreadful nature of walking into your house and find someone taking your stuff.

  • marty September 6, 2008 (8:32 pm)

    Melissa: Get a life! I’m not impressed by your one person race crusade, he is what he is! It sure wouldn’t have made any sense to not use his race as a description. Go find something else to do….

  • WSB September 6, 2008 (8:36 pm)

    We had an extensive discussion about this here on the site several months back; I will have to look up the link. In short, I worked for decades in “old media” and as a manager/policy-setter was very hard-line about editing out racial references in most cases unless one of two things applied: (a) there was a more complete description, such as race PLUS hair, eyes, clothes, whatever and/or (b) race was relevant to the crime (hate crime, for example). Though this is a reader report and therefore not exactly the way I would have written the story if it was an article I was writing, I have to note that current WSB editorial policy is NOT to withhold or edit out any such details or information … even a fragment of information (the blue-shirted robber, the blonde-haired robber, the light-skinned robber, whatever) could have some value to someone using the information, so you will come across such fragmentary information sometimes, either in reader reports or in our reporting of, for example, partial descriptions from police (which often can be little more than “a white male” or “a black female,” and so on). Always up for another discussion of this, though, but did want to give you some context – TR

  • sensitive nulu September 6, 2008 (9:05 pm)

    Yeah! “5′8ish” – No need to go all Napoleon on him. “Well-dressed” – Or to slip in class warfare. Obviously not “secure.” And please report the color/ethnicity of the “nice husband and wife.”

  • JanS September 6, 2008 (9:53 pm)

    wow…I see it as a descriptive thing, not as a racist thing. You have to admit…if we just say a good looking guy about 5’8, well dressed…on beach drive…well, good luck on finding him. Add African-American male (actually, the police do it all the time), and it narrows the suspects down..just another way of looking at things. And the nice husband and wife could be green, for all I care. They helped out a neighbor…that’s enough for me. They weren’t the suspect.

  • Creighton September 6, 2008 (10:16 pm)

    Interesting to notice no gender was reported. Am I sexist because I assumed it was a man? ; )

  • bj September 6, 2008 (10:44 pm)

    Why the sensitivity? does a “white” person become offended when described as so? Why should a non white be offended? You are either white, yellow, brown or black. It was to help sightings of this person. That’s the problem…the afro american segment should be treated as an equal yet do not want to be decribed correctly. It makes them no better or no less tha the next person but it does help the police or citizens to spot someone when their color is used. Would a one legged person be offended if the description was such? I don’t think so. Quit using it. I am not prejudice at all but get sick of how some people act/think about something like this.

  • MAS September 6, 2008 (10:53 pm)

    Yeah, as a well dressed person, I’m offended by including that in the description. I get enough grief from thugs in t-shirts without everyone including sartorial status of robbery suspects in their descriptions. I would think “wearing a shirt and pants (or dress, as the case may be)” would be sufficient. If you must, mention footwear, but not quality or style. “Last seen running westward in black Ferragamo Pierluigis” sounds like it’s aimed more at my socio-economic status than a helpful description for police.

    Leave my hairstyle out of this too.

  • meg September 6, 2008 (11:15 pm)

    I was the neighbor who reported this. I was trying to be as p. c. As possible. Furthermore I forgot to say he was male , I apologize. And the well-dressed last was the victims description which I felt was important to include.

  • WSB September 6, 2008 (11:25 pm)

    Always an interesting discussion to have … and the discussions we have here always provide a whole new perspective on covering the news that I never had in my many years in “one-way media” … sure, we’d get phone calls, letters, and (later) e-mails at tv stations etc., but never the kind of dialogue you can have, directly linked to the coverage of any given story as is happening here (and many other places on this site) … thanks again to everyone for taking the time to offer opinions, information, etc.

  • Rick September 7, 2008 (5:47 am)

    Screw PC. It is what is. Let’s just all feel good about ourselves and hum.

  • Darla September 7, 2008 (8:51 am)

    Maybe if more well-dressed, genderless African-Americans would commit crimes, we wouldn’t feel compelled to single them out like this.

  • sam September 7, 2008 (3:42 pm)

    I think of it as informative descriptive information, but from reading the report of the crime, and the comment from Melissa…it seems like she is commenting on the fact it says “African American” instead of “African American person” or “African American man” or woman… or … it’s that the “African American” is being used as the noun, instead of the adjective. which does strike me as a little strange

  • sam September 7, 2008 (3:44 pm)

    maybe next time we can just report that an American was seen running down the street….

    I dunno

  • GB September 7, 2008 (4:28 pm)

    This is silly. The poster was describing someone who by the way committed a crime. What term is supposed to be used? ? Now the poster…who was informing us of a burglary in the middle of the day… is having to defend him/herself, and the burgler is the victim.

  • beachdrivegirl September 7, 2008 (9:17 pm)

    Thank you GB. I also will add that part of the reason that my desciption did not include alot of detail is b/c i did not see the burgler. My neighbor was asking if I saw him running b/c i had come from the store and gave me the description. I explained that I had not after she gave me the description but did want to give everyone in West Seatle a heads up that this is happening. And Sam, you should read my comments in the forum, I need to go back to English 101.

  • TeresaP September 8, 2008 (7:58 am)

    So let me get this straight.

    If someone is African American we are not suppose to say he is African American?

  • PC nulu September 8, 2008 (9:53 pm)

    If nothing else, I think we can all agree with “alleged thief”.

Sorry, comment time is over.