West Seattle Crime Watch: Fauntleroy/Alaska incident update

ORIGINAL REPORT: We haven’t verified this yet but it’s from a known source and given the time sensitivity, we’d rather pass it along sooner than later:

just rolled up to the 76 station at alaska and fauntleroy, which has apparently just been robbed, probably between 11 and 11:30 a.m.

there were two patrol cars on site, and i asked one officer if she had a description. her reply:

“asian male, 5′ or so, black jeans, black sweater.” she said she was in the area when the call came in, and he disappeared pretty quickly.

i know the description is vague, but anyone in the area who sees a man fitting the description should call 911.

We’ll head over to see what we can confirm.

12:06 PM UPDATE: What we found out at the scene: The above-described robber – NOT displaying a weapon – somehow got behind the store’s counter, grabbed a bunch of lottery scratch tickets, and bolted.

46 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Fauntleroy/Alaska incident update"

  • Bob Loblaw February 8, 2009 (12:01 pm)

    Broad freaking daylight. I give up.

  • d February 8, 2009 (12:03 pm)

    Way to be on it “known source” and WSB!

  • Mark February 8, 2009 (12:10 pm)

    Yes the description is “vague” — very much so, almost to the point of irresponsible journalism, I’d say.

    So, WSB, are you really recommending that anyone in the area who sees a short Asian man call 911? Sorry, that’s bogus.

  • Scott February 8, 2009 (12:12 pm)

    Dumb to steal lottery tickets, they are all serial number recorded… once stolen they are worthless.

  • Bill February 8, 2009 (12:23 pm)

    Watch out Mark. If you queation or say anything about bad info published WSB will delete your post. That is what WSB is all about. KNown for experience. Your not able to qustion, say anything WSB doesn’t like.

  • mar3c February 8, 2009 (12:26 pm)

    mark: i just repeated what the cops told me, and wsb printed what i emailed. it should be taken as such. maybe the guy has a warrant out, and if watchful neighbors can help, they should.
    i frequent that gas station, and know the clerks by sight, and the one behind the counter was visibly shaken.
    but, yeah, broad daylight. vague description or no, weaponless crime or no, shame should be taught to those who would do that. the more sunlight thrown on it the better.

  • S February 8, 2009 (12:29 pm)

    As someone whose partner is a short asian man, I totally disagree with Mark about the description being bogus since it also included detail about dress that makes the circle of suspects much smaller – black jeans, black sweater (not black coat, not black shirt, specifically a sweater) in the area of the scene of the crime at about the time of the crime. Stature+gender+race alone would have been too vague, but combined with specifics of dress, time, and location, it seems reasonable enough of a description to me.

    One might also add to the description “not too bright”. I’m sure the station will be able to identify exactly the serial numbers of the lottery tickets stolen, and anyone trying to claim a prize with a lottery ticketbearing one of those serial numbers is likely to come in for some very close scrutiny.

  • d February 8, 2009 (12:32 pm)

    Mark –

    I’m not a journalist. If it’s “almost to the point of irresponsible journalism”, then what IS the tipping point. Please explain for us lay people who, like you and WSB, are not journalists.

  • WSB February 8, 2009 (12:36 pm)

    We have had the suspect description discussion here multiple times before. As I have said in those discussions, there was a time, in another news environment, when I stridently avoided any mention of race unless there were many details available. I have since come to believe, whether you agree with me or not, that any shred of description available should be passed along – it’s better than nothing – whether that fragment is skin color, eye color, clothing, whatever. As in the case of the deadly shooting last weekend, in which, to this day, there is no clearer description than “two black males in a white car,” and yet we and every other news source that’s covered the case has published that, because there’s no reason to withhold what information is available, even if it’s sketchy.
    In this case, this is the description provided by the person who sent us the report and that is what I published – TR

  • d February 8, 2009 (12:40 pm)

    This was shop-lifting and for that relatively harm-free crime, we are lucky this morning. But, in order to pursue the “tip” given with appropriate caveat that something far worse might have gone down, WSB made a good call, to my layperson point of view. I agree with S’s comments.


  • Krystal February 8, 2009 (12:56 pm)

    I don’t think we can say this is a vague description, it seems to be the best that any possible witness could come up with, usually in stressful situations, it may be hard for some to get a good descriptions if they feel threatened. I am all about being PC as the next person, but if you leave race out of credible witness descriptions, what’s next? gender?–that might offend some transgendered individuals. Height?–that might offend little people. Make and model of car?–don’t want to offend people who don’t drive luxury cars.
    I think WSB handled this well.

  • Shauna February 8, 2009 (12:56 pm)

    Thank you for this report! I always want to know all of the details when it comes to something in our neighborhood. Sometimes one report–or one detail– makes all the difference.

  • Bill February 8, 2009 (1:11 pm)

    You guys hear only what WSB wants you to hear. Ever think about that? WSB deletes credible responses when questioned. One sided comments postings aren’t right. Freedom of speech?

  • WSB February 8, 2009 (1:23 pm)

    Bill, since you have taken the time to make this point twice in this thread, in which no comments have been deleted: Yes, we on occasion delete comments. Yes, as noted in our rules (of which we have very few), we reserve the right to delete or not approve (some comments are held by the system for a variety of reasons) anything on this website, and when rule violations are either noticed by us or pointed out by others, we review, and delete when appropriate. Those are the rules of the road for every news website with discussion features. The rules vary from site to site, but none are without rules.
    Many times, days and weeks go by without us having to delete anything, because everyone is following the rules. And there have been a handful of days in our three years of operation when multiple deletions have been required, particularly because someone decided they were going to repeatedly violate our rules, even after a reminder had been issued.

  • Bill February 8, 2009 (1:28 pm)

    Kinda funny. You respond with that. That is not how it goes. When you see someone respond to a post where your facts are wrong. It is deleted. Rules are followed. You just do not like it.

  • Irukandji February 8, 2009 (1:30 pm)

    Bill, if you’d like to go investigate and give us the REAL story, please do. Many of us really appreciate both the basic preliminary reports and the in-depth reports offered up on so much of West Seattle. If you’re just angry, take it to the RANT page. Thanks!

  • 140.6 February 8, 2009 (1:31 pm)

    In the post we were given more than just gender, race, estimated height, and clothing description. We were also given a time and location. I don’t find this vague. I think it’s pretty specific. If you see a person meeting all 6 descriptors wouldn’t you want the police to stop that person, wouldn’t you call the police to check this person out? Take out one or two of the descriptors and things change.

    The eyes and ears of our community are the best resource law enforcement has in catching these people soon after the crime is committed. WSB is doing the right thing by getting the most accurate information they have and getting it out as quick as possible.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Bill February 8, 2009 (1:39 pm)

    Funny. deleted again. Great business person. I know who you are jerk.
    The rest of you cant see the factual response I sent to the above

  • Bill February 8, 2009 (1:42 pm)

    I believe people who stay on here and read a BLOG like this need a life. Its all garbage reporting

  • WSB February 8, 2009 (1:58 pm)

    Bill, there has been nothing deleted in this thread, from you or anyone else. And I have no comments in the moderation queue. As for “who we are,” it’s on the About page. Your comment above does break one of our rules by calling me a “jerk” — name-calling is not allowed — but I will take discretion on it because it involves me and let it stand.

  • JanS February 8, 2009 (2:19 pm)

    Hey, Bill. If you think this site is unfair to you, why do you bother coming here at all? And, “I know who you are jerk”, comes across to me as a veiled threat. WTF? Bad hair day? No sweetness in life?

    I’ve been deleted in the past, and I deserved it. The editors of this blog are fine people, and I know they don’t need any of us defending them. But…you, my friend ( I use that term loosely), you are definitely a piece of work.

    There are many sources for local news. Perhaps you should find one more to your liking…and I say that in the nicest way I can. Have a great day !

  • JimmyG February 8, 2009 (2:43 pm)

    If the suspect did as described above– got behind the counter somehow and stole items then this is NOT a robbery.
    It is a larceny (theft).
    Big difference.
    For it to be robbery there must be force used or a weapon implied. I’d like a few more details as to the actual event.

    As to Bill, unless you’re being held hostage in front of your ‘puter and being forced to type entries here, use your free will and go elsewhere.

  • lina February 8, 2009 (3:00 pm)

    Bill, your inflammatory comments deserve to be deleted. You raised a valid point in your first post but your posts have become increasingly boring. Whatever you are so mad about, deal with it and stop subjecting us to your posts. if you don’t like this community news source, don’t read it. simple as that.

  • Bob Loblaw February 8, 2009 (3:12 pm)

    Bill: I know you! You’re an Asian male, 5′ or so, wearing black jeans and a black sweater.

  • Lou February 8, 2009 (3:28 pm)

    WSB…thanks for continuing to report on these events with all details available to you. As a resident I like to know about events (good and bad) going on in my neighborhood. Your site has proven invaluable and we are very fortunately in WS to have such a source.

    As for the few who want to taint these discussions with rude comments…If you don’t like a site or the rules, then leave. I see no reason to get overly aggravated and to post rude comments.

  • Diana February 8, 2009 (3:31 pm)

    TR: Getting the information out, as provided to you by a reliable source, was the right thing to do. It’s what WSB is all about. Please continue to keep us informed. Your experience and professionalism is appreciated.

  • miws February 8, 2009 (4:06 pm)

    Job well done again, WSB!


    My opinion of WSB’s report on this incident was pretty much covered by the opinions of “S” and JanS amongst others, so I’ll just leave it at that.



  • JJ February 8, 2009 (4:16 pm)

    Having run a message board in the past, I can tell you that the thing Bill and people like him don’t realize is that they have no “freedom of speech” on this, or any other privately owned website.

    Whoever owns the site can do what they want. If you think you have a right not to have your posts deleted then call the police or a lawyer.

    WSB’s standards are *much* higher than most other sites.

  • MrJT February 8, 2009 (4:20 pm)

    Bill needs a hug.

  • beachwalker February 8, 2009 (5:02 pm)

    Bill needs help with sentence structure, spelling and punctuation – in every post he has made in this thread. I guess It’s nice of the WSB staff to include his thoughts. Thanks, WSB, for all you do to keep our neighborhood informed! You do an outstanding job! The huge majority of us appreciate you.

  • Alki Beach February 8, 2009 (5:03 pm)

    Bill, I’m sorry you’re having a bad day. Grab some ice cream or something! This is an award winning journalist editing this blog. It’s one of the top, if not the top, hyperlocal blog sites in the entire country.

    I’d also suggest staying away from name calling. That is not constructive in any way.

  • mar3c February 8, 2009 (5:38 pm)

    bottom line: this happened close to home. i want people in my neighborhood to know when criminals are roaming around.
    having said that, wsb can verify any “tips” that come her way before reporting.
    then again, this isn’t cnn. it’s a neighborhood blog, and events that affect neighborhoods should be published with whatever expedience the owner sees fit.

  • Amy February 8, 2009 (5:53 pm)

    He stole lottery scratch tickets?
    Doesn’t he know that stealing brings back luck? Sort of ruins his chances to win 2 bucks.

  • miws February 8, 2009 (7:11 pm)

    mar3c, I failed to give you kudos as well, in my above post, so here it is. :)


    I believe you did a good thing, and the right thing, in reporting this incident to WSB.


    I once notified WSB of what, from the SFD 911 Log, appeared to be a large callout to a housefire. It turned out to not be a big incident but, as TR, has mentioned many times, SFD will regularly send out alot of units, then, when the first responders arrive and report back, any uneeded units will be called back.


    As it turned out, at least one person was upset that the info had been published on WSB. If I recall, they knew the occupants of the house.


    Anyway, I took it a bit personally, and e-mailed an apology to TR. She reassured me that she appreciated the heads up, and she didn’t feel I was wrong in reporting it.


    The location was a couple blocks away from where I lived for many years, so even though I couldn’t picture the home in my mind by the address, nor did I know who lived there, I knew I’d walked by the place many times, and felt that if it was a serious fire, that I would not only feel bad for the occupants, but also sad at the loss of a long time West Seattle house.



  • WSB February 8, 2009 (8:30 pm)

    The bottom line here is that neighborhood-level, real-time news sometimes involves a different kind of newsgathering and reporting than has been typically done before. As the quote on our “About” page goes, it is a process (in many cases), not a product. By reading this type of news site, you often see, and participate in, stories as they evolve, not just the final product.
    Maybe someday we will look back on some of it and cringe. Maybe not.
    I know that in the year of doing this fulltime, I have had to deal with myriad types of situations and judgment calls that I had never faced before, even as a newsroom decisionmaker who often – because of the similar immediacy of TV – had to make quick calls in situations with even more at stake.
    Even at that, in terms of standards and practices, we remain somewhat conservative – not in the political sense – in our reporting, compared to some in the brave-new-news world who have decided that there are no rules to follow, if information is obtained, it is shared.
    Example of our “conservatism”: I had the full name of the Junction shooting victim in my inbox, from his sister, before I even learned from police that the shooting had turned fatal. Having once taken a phone call from someone distraught to have found out about a relative’s death from a TV newscast that I was accountable for, I am choosing to go with the traditional “wait until the medical examiner releases the identity,” which didn’t happen in the shooting case until 12 full hours after the victim’s sister had written to tell me about the death and included his name. It was clear from Facebook pages and comments that many people already knew … but I waited for that final official information release.
    Case #2, where we have changed with the times: There used to be a tradition that you don’t publish any information heard on the scanner, supposedly because police frowned on it, or so the story always went. I was clinging somewhat blindly to that tradition – then the neighborhood news site in the Central District implemented a regular feature of transcribing every scanner call they heard in the area, and I remember thinking “wow, are they going to get busted for that?” Not only did they not get busted for that, they got a Citizen Appreciation Award from the PD expressly calling attention to their scanner reports, which often include unverified information.
    (By the way, unverified information was NOT the case of what turned up here – Mar3c got and reported to us what a police officer had told him; I made the call that it might be more helpful than harmful to publish that while we were on the way to see what more we could find out in person. The risk of withholding the information – what if this robber struck somewhere else an hour later? – seemed greater than the risk of publishing it. Again, this was a fairly detailed description).
    Back to the scanner: So, that information is no longer off limits. We use it judiciously, but we do use it.
    Perhaps most important, we say where our information comes from. “According to the scanner” or “a note we got from a reliable source” or “an officer at the scene told us” or … whatever. And, contrary to one allegation threaded in this series of comments, we are transparent about it. Not only do I say where the information came from, but often I veer over into why I was looking for it in the first place. That comes from research remembered from years in TV … for most if not all stories, there should be a “why are you telling me this NOW?” and if it’s not obvious, you aren’t doing anyone any favors if you don’t explain “we just happened to ask about this because a note landed in our inbox from somebody wondering …”
    We’re out here doing this very publicly now and probably should expect to be hit with more criticism and questions than we do get. I will always do my best to try to answer it publicly as well. If you don’t know us personally, you can only take my word for it, but we are honest and ethical to the point of Pollyannahood. Not perfect and without question, but honest/ethical/trustworthy. All we can do to prove that is to continue to operate that way — TR

  • joe February 8, 2009 (8:35 pm)

    TR, have some courage, here. Name your source. Ethics still matter no matter how you give your information. What’s next? If the suspect is a white guy, about 6′ tall, wearing shorts and a t-shirt and it’s june in West Seattle, what do you do? Wait! There he is! No, he’s over there! Or is he right behind me! That guy, to my left? I’m certain! No, no. He’s the guy in the water! Or is my husband the suspect? Man, he better give me some of the loot. This is hard. Seattle Police better hire more officers. I’m gonna drink me a beer and put another lock on my door. I’ll post something online too.

  • WTF February 8, 2009 (9:14 pm)

    MrJT, you made me laugh out loud! Bill you need more than a hug. Good swift kick in the keester might help, too!

  • beatrice February 8, 2009 (10:12 pm)

    (I am re-posting as I want people to see this in a current posting.)Many times I hear my sons talk about the events that have gone on here in West Seattle – the ones you never hear about because they NEVER get reported to autorities. Just this week there was an invasion type break-in at one of their friend’s houses and there were guns involved, no one shot but a robbery did take place. These two people who shot the boy in the junction were only two of many kids who have guns and are not afraid to carry them, taunt and threaten people with them, and ultimately use them. We cannot live in fear because if we did it could easily consume us. We need to continue to be a community that offers good examples for our youth and places that they can go and feel safe. These are not always “bad” kids – they come from “good homes” all over West Seattle. (The above-mentioned incident happened in the North Junction neighborhood) We also need to somehow convey the value of life to our youth. This is the message they have not understood.

  • Dave February 9, 2009 (8:40 am)

    Thank you WSB for posting all available descriptive information. Leave censorship to the PI. Knowledge is POWER. Censorship in the name of political correctness is PROPAGANDA.

  • ellenater February 9, 2009 (10:22 am)

    Great work, TR. I find your reporting to be incredibly timely AND respectful. PC has gone too far, people…

    Also, it’s gets old how people on this blog are always right there to point out what someone may or may not have done wrong. This is annoying and a generally annoying human quality. Why not give someone the benefit of the doubt? Why not try to believe that a person has the best intentions? Believe it or not, most people do! And it’s possible to believe that while also being discerning.

  • d-san February 9, 2009 (12:47 pm)

    Bill ~ why do you bother continuing to view and comment on WSB if you so disagree with the site? It’s like TV – if you don’t like it, turn it off. That’s just bananas to keep doing what you’re doing then complain. And annoying.

  • familyaffairgirls February 9, 2009 (1:11 pm)

    Ok really……Are we caring this much about what ONE person said. He obviously is having a bad day. Remember the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” I think WSB does a GREAT job at what they do. And I love coming on here to read the good and the not so good. If it wasn’t for WSB I would have never known there was a shooting last week. And who the person was. It was sad to find out that it was a long time buddy of mine. Keep the good work up WSB “Cant we ALL just get along!”

  • WSB February 9, 2009 (1:23 pm)

    That would be my request too.
    I very much appreciate the kind words from those who speak up in our defense. That means a lot, that not only do you find value in what we do, but that you have taken the time the time to defend us under siege. And more rocks get thrown from some quarters as it has become clearer that we are not some fly-by-nights, but rather professional journalists working hard in collaboration with the community to present a new kind of up-to-the-minute news source – and as it has become clearer that, while some people may wish we would just get burned out and go away, WE ARE NOT – WE ARE HERE TO STAY – AND WE ARE HONORED TO SERVE YOU, 24/7/365.
    However, I do want to say one thing about one of the criticisms in this thread. We have personally met Mark, who posted above. He is an excellent journalist and a good human being.
    In journalism quarters, there is a lot of debate about what information to present and how to present it – as well as discussions about the future of news, and the place that sites like ours have. We participate in some of those discussions off this site, and have been honored lately to be invited to participate in panels and conferences, as WSB is one of the first self-sustaining independent neighborhood-news sites in the region, and others are trying to find out why it works.
    All that said, we welcome sincere, honest questions and constructive criticism. And we will continue responding to whatever’s raised, within reason.
    Again, I can’t say this enough ..whatever your contribution, even if “just” reading without ever commenting, we appreciate it more than you know.
    I somewhat suspended the “don’t talk about the people, talk about the ideas” rule in this thread but wish I hadn’t and am placing that back in effect from this point forward. Thanks again to everyone for being there.

  • Samson February 9, 2009 (2:28 pm)

    Stopping someone who fits a general description is one thing. General descriptions can help, but might be so general that they confuse. An important issue here is probable cause (See Fourth Amendment). This is not about being PC. This relates to basic ideas about this country. We should not just say it’s one bad apple who posted here. It is true that WSB is a great site. Publishing information that turns out to be false can lead to legal action. If you doubt that, just wait until someone posts something false about you online or you get stopped because the description was too general. Responsiblity is key especially when so many turn to a site for information. Being fast is good. Being factually right is best. If we doubt that, we should talk to the family of Sam Snow and what happened at Fort Lawton.

  • WSB February 9, 2009 (2:50 pm)

    Samson, thanks for your comment.
    We are very aware of legal policies, rules, and standards and follow them rather strenuously.
    Also, for the record, what was posted here was factually correct. The fact was:
    Police said they were looking for a man (of the description posted above).
    It is a fact that police said that.
    That is not to be confused with saying it is a fact that the person who committed the crime fits that description.
    As a managing editor, executive producer, assistant news director, etc., over the years, I was always in charge of reviewing stories and scripts, and that is the key point.
    For example – you may hear a poorly edited TV news story in which the anchor or reporter says, “According to police, the suspect walked into the bank, pulled out a gun, and …”
    No, the SUSPECT didn’t do that. The ROBBER did that. Or, so police said. There won’t even be a suspect till someone is arrested – and then we won’t know for sure whether the suspect committed the crime, till he/she goes through the legal process. And so on …
    Anyway, to repeat. In this case, the fact is that a police officer gave that description to the person who reported it here. The other fact is that we received the e-mail and decided to publish it.

  • Mustafa February 18, 2009 (10:02 pm)

    Good lord! Let’s hope the guy wins the $26m lottery and tries to turn in the ticket! They surely know the serial numbers, so he gets arrested. The proceeds of his crime — the millions he won — get returned to the state. And his winnings amount to three hots and a cot!

Sorry, comment time is over.