West Seattle Crime Watch: Watch out for suspected metal thief

Out of the WSB inbox, from BB in Seaview – a description of someone who appears to be searching for metal to steal – read on for her report:

BE ON THE LOOKOUT! Yesterday, Dec 22nd, about noon, as I was walking the dog, a dirty white smaller cargo van, with windows in both rear cargo doors, solid side panels and a roof rack ,made a slow tour through our alley. I realized this was not a neighbor’s vehicle. That sense “something isn’t right.” clicked in. Sure enough, after I turned the corner, and watched, he started to drive very slowly north in my alley between 44th and 45th Ave SW and SW Graham and SW Raymond [map]. I got back to the house, grabbed the car keys and followed this guy. He would periodically stop, get out, check out someone’s back yard, get back in and continue driving slowly mostly down the alleys. At Findlay Street, he stopped, got out, and began to load steel pipe into the back of his van. The pipe was the type used for canvas canopies or make-shift garages for cars, boats, etc. They are also expensive. I drove close enough to yell at him to leave it alone, his reply … “hey, it’s just old pipe.” It took some further words to get him back into his van and go away, and to leave the rest of it there. By this time I called in a report to police. Unfortunately the license plate I gave them turned out to be a stolen plate from eastern WA.

So keep an eye out — this guy is about 5 ft. 9 in or so, thin, maybe 135, was wearing a navy blue jacket, jeans, and no hat. He has gray/almost white hair, shaggy, and a scruffy beard. He is about 50’s early 60’s (or he just looks old). After he drove off, and I noted that the pipes he didn’t steel were in fact the poles to hold up the type of awning described.

On my way back to the house, I saw him again, doing the same thing just further north and over a block, and I reported this new location to police. A neighbor across from the house on Findley had recently had a truck stolen, and he reported this guy taking pipe as well. I found out later police responded, but were called off to handle another call. So be on the lookout for this dirty white cargo van as he is probably still out there taking anything metal he can find. Our neighbor lost an aluminum ladder, and other items have been missing from our alley.

14 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Watch out for suspected metal thief"

  • Lachlan December 23, 2009 (2:57 pm)

    Great work on getting reports in about this guy. Hopefully next time he’ll get caught!

  • Karen December 23, 2009 (3:57 pm)

    He is about 50’s early 60’s (or he just looks old).

    ah…perhaps you mean to say “or he looks about that old”

    • WSB December 23, 2009 (4:27 pm)

      As someone in the second half-century of life I kinda had that thought too … Had a kerfuffle in my last year or two of TV news when a young producer/writer wrote that an elderly woman was hit by a car. The victim turned out to be in her mid-50s. I amended the style guide after that to include a section about appropriate ways to discuss and describe age – avoiding terms like young, old, middle-aged, elderly, etc., in most cases, since they tend to be so subjective – TR

  • west seattle golfer December 23, 2009 (5:42 pm)

    Thanks for the heads up! We’ll keep an eye out.

  • Lonnie December 23, 2009 (5:59 pm)

    I don’t know if this is anything or not but I observed an individual walking north down alley between Dawson & Hudson & 48th & 49th at 1130 PM Sunday evening which at the time I thought was a bit odd. Can never be too careful.

  • Tyler Welch December 23, 2009 (6:03 pm)

    “when a young producer/writer” I guess it goes both ways for young and old. :) In the end, being young/old is subjective.

    • WSB December 23, 2009 (7:42 pm)

      HA! Tyler, I am so busted. Thank you. Embarrassed now and rightfully so. – TR

  • Tlee December 23, 2009 (7:26 pm)

    The point of the post was to alert the neighborhood of a possible thief.
    I’m sure there’s another outlet for speeches about your feelings being hurt by unintentional ageist comments , but this post wasn’t about you.

  • BettytheYeti December 24, 2009 (7:58 am)

    Yes, thanks for the heads up. I am pretty sure I too saw that van. I’m at 48th and Raymond. I believe more and more camera phones “speak” louder to individuals when confronted by their behavior. Could this be the same POS stealing cataytic converters from Seaview Toyota 4 Runners for the precious metals.

  • B December 24, 2009 (9:05 am)

    Walking down an alley at 11:30 at night isn’t suspicious, maybe they were going to the store. However, real crime like stealing people’s metal is a great thing to post about. I can see people doing this more and more, since the price of metal is pretty high right now. Keep an eye out people.

  • GenHillOne December 24, 2009 (10:47 am)

    Good report! I love the “it’s just old pipe” response. Basically got the same answer when stopping some kids from raiding a neighbor’s stuff to build skate ramps. It doesn’t matter you turkey; it isn’t YOUR old stuff, so if you don’t have permission to take it, leave it alone!

  • I. Ponder December 25, 2009 (8:21 pm)

    Price of metal is pretty high, while the price of people is pretty low.

    Considering the economy, I’m not surprised to hear of people scavenging “old pipes”.

  • Matt December 26, 2009 (5:35 pm)

    I saw this guy too on Wednesday when I was walking my dog. It was on Wednesday the 23rd and he was cruising the alley between 37th and 38th and Findlay and Juneau. Same exact description- and actions. Keep your eyes peeled for this crew!

  • Larry Mowrer December 27, 2009 (7:43 am)

    This guy is not the only one out there, we got hit by two old ford pick up trucks , red/white and light blue, three guys mid 20’s -older guy 60+
    black, my next door talked to them and they convinced her that we had given permission to remove metal fire pits, truck paneling and anything else that wasn’t nailed down, middle of the work week, broad daylight,bold as could be.
    Times are tough, be safe and call the cops. scrap metal ins’t worth life and limb.

Sorry, comment time is over.