West Seattle Crime Watch: Theft victim helps catch pedal-peddler

We bring you the crimefighting successes as well as the crime-alert stories, and here’s the latest – from Officer Brian Ballew at West Seattle’s Southwest Precinct:

In early December a parking garage condominium on SW Avalon was burglarized. The victim had her bicycle stolen. The victim located the bike on Craig’s List and met the seller in the Downtown area. The victim took the bike for a test drive, verified it was hers by the serial number and kept the bike.

On 01/03 the victim notified SW Detectives that the same seller was selling another bike on Craig’s List. Detectives called the seller as a potential buyer and met the seller in the downtown area. When detectives met the seller, the victim was with detectives in a nearby vehicle and positively identified the seller as the same person who tried to sell her, her stolen bike. The seller was arrested and booked for trafficking stolen property.

8 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Theft victim helps catch pedal-peddler"

  • Irukandji January 7, 2009 (7:54 pm)

    That’s one kick+ss victim. Great work!

  • d January 7, 2009 (8:00 pm)

    No kidding! Great story!

  • GenHillOne January 7, 2009 (8:03 pm)

    Don’t get me wrong, she’s my superhero…just wondering how that worked. Did the police just take her word that it happened since they weren’t there for the test ride? I’d love to do same for some stolen merchandise, but figured we’d have to convince a cop to be there. Since he knew where she lived, I’m not sure I would have had the guts to take the bike back on my own, but more power to her!

  • KateK January 7, 2009 (8:28 pm)

    Way to be proactive – reading this made my day :-)

  • Aim January 7, 2009 (8:46 pm)

    GHO: I’m going to assume the police report with serial # in it + her having the bike back + records from CL + email records = enough evidence to go on. However, she also probably found an officer who wasn’t horrendously overbooked that day and had time to assist.

    One bone to pick with the quote, and I know it’s not your wording, TR, — she’s no victim. She’s a survivor, and a strong woman with some great detective skills. To me, “victim” has a connotation of inability to defend oneself – or death…

  • Eddie January 7, 2009 (9:02 pm)

    Great Ending, Risky Adventure. The police often advise people NOT to try these type of sting operations on their own – they can be very risky to the individual. I even think Craigslist has some sort of warning about trying that kind of thing.

    If you believe you’ve located your stolen property on Craigslist – or wherever – contact the police and request their assistance in recovering it. Regardless of the folklore and the horror stories, the police ARE there to help us.

  • Theodore January 8, 2009 (2:32 am)

    I agree, that was unnecessarily risky. She should have involved the police during the first encounter. Who knows what else a criminal is capable of.

  • snowlion January 8, 2009 (8:52 am)

    I don’t know – she did the right thing by meeting the person in a downtown area – presuming of course that she followed the guidelines that we should all follow, meeting a stranger in a public place. If the person had chased her or taken other action, she would have at least had the assistance – one would hope – of the people in the area.
    The part I’m most amazed about is that she actually HAD the serial number. That is rare.

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