WS Crime Watch: Car-prowler confrontation; suspicious sighting

2 reports to share (and a few more are in queue for another report later today): As noted on Twitter during a busy early Friday morning – an Alki resident reported that his car was broken into by someone who then tried to run him over. The victim posted a few details in a comment thread on another Crime Watch story, and we invited him to send more info. It happened around 12:30 am Friday in the Stevens Crest Apartments parking garage (61st/Stevens). He describes the culprits as a black male driving a gray Chevy Malibu, license plate 855-S**, and white male “who was in my car at the time I found them – approximately 5’10”-6′, wearing a white T-shirt, black baseball cap with white pinstriping. Most notable feature were his eyebrows for some reason – they were rather thick. Tattoos (gray and black scale, no colors) on his arms.” He says he confronted the two, and they “tried to run me over in the … garage.” Here’s what he says they stole:

2 Tama Tom drums 12 and 13 inch.
5 Zildjian Cymbals (in a DW bag)
1 Pork Pie metal snare drum
DW Stick bag with multiple sets of sticks
A Camelback bag (backpack) with gym clothes
iPod Video (Black)
Mackie 16 ch Mixing Console
Mixed monitor cables and Guitar cords

Meantime, there’s a long report from Westwood from someone who watched a suspicious pair Friday afternoon – read on:

From Matthew:

I have some information others may find useful. I live near Cloverdale & 36th Ave. SW. [map] Recently we have had problems in the area with burglaries and auto theft. We are well organized with the police block-watch program, over multiple blocks, and have worked with Benjamin Kinlow and the King County Burglary Initiative prosecutors. We have a drug house on the block that has caused numerous problems, and this may or may not be connected with teens or early-20’s youth breaking into houses generally during the daytime and taking cash, jewelry, laptops, and the like.

(Friday) I saw a couple suspicious-looking males, an Asian and a Caucasian, walk past our house, so I followed them from about 2:45 to 4:15 p.m. They had some fake-looking badges hanging from straps around their necks, and one (the Asian) had khaki pants. The white guy had navy pants. Both had navy or dark-colored jackets, and you could just see the tails of a red shirt hanging down below the white guy’s jacket. They did not carry clipboards, metering equipment, or other paperwork or tools. They shuffled along, stopping a few times per block, appearing to talk while they looked into neighbor’s yards and residences from the sidewalk. They walked south on 36th, turned west on Thistle, doubled back south on 37th, briefly going down a dead-end street between Cloverdale and Trenton. They continued to Trenton, crossed 35th heading east, as they weaved over to Barton and south of there, eventually standing at a corner by the Roxhill Park restrooms. Somewhere on 33rd or 34th, after waiting for a neighboring car to load and leave, and after much discussion, they walked up to a nice-looking house and loudly knocked. I could not get close enough to see what happened next, but soon they left the house and continued along.

The second time they approached a house was across from the Roxhill restrooms. I could see one of the men go up to the door and knock. I could not tell what happened at the door, but he ended up leaving as well. Next they went into the Roxhill restroom, where they could be heard talking loudly (it appeared one was carrying a cream-colored plastic bag). About 15 minutes later the Caucasian came out and went to a house either next to or a couple over from the initial house on the corner. This is the third knock-at-the-house-door incident. He was soon joined by his friend. They also looked into the mailbox. There was more discussion, then they walked toward the restrooms and continued down the hill heading east next to the natural grass area. This is when I had to leave.

I should emphasize this was a long, drawn out process, with much meandering, discussion, cigarette smoking, changing direction then returning back again. Often they would stop at a corner and talk, sometimes banging a walk sign loudly and repeatedly. At 30th & Trenton, each car that would stop (to let them cross) was rudely waved through. (I believe they took 30th over to Barton and south to the corner of Roxhill Park by the restrooms). These were not typical kids messing around or going to friends’ houses. They appeared high on drugs, and there would be no reason for them to stop at random houses and knock on doors. This perfectly fits the M.O. we were expecting in our neighborhood for these breakins, which happen in daylight seemingly out in the open with people going about their daily business.

Over this ~90 minute period I called 911 at least 4 times, maybe more, giving descriptions, location, etc. I also tried calling the SW Precinct (no answer), the King County Resid. Burglary unit (I knew head is on vacation now, and other prosecutor evidently just left the office for the day). Each time I called 911 they would try to get a squad car out there; however with my frequent location updates and being watchful for a car, evidently no cars were dispatched.

I was rather certain that if I followed these guys long enough I would witness them breaking into a house. They tried 3 times, so it was just a matter of finding one they liked, maybe with a door unlocked and no signs of anyone being home. It’s tricky timing with the police — get there too soon and they simply question the burglars, tipping them off and allowing them to leave. Wait until they are entering a house, and its likely the police won’t be able to get there in time.

Unfortunately I had to get home in time for the kids returning from school. I would be interested if indeed there are any burglaries reported (Friday) in these areas. The most shocking thing was that these guys were doing this in broad daylight, walking right past moms unloading groceries, kids getting home from school and being greeted by parents, babies being pushed in strollers, etc. People really need to look around them and notice things. Or maybe they saw me sneaking around following these guys!

28 Replies to "WS Crime Watch: Car-prowler confrontation; suspicious sighting"

  • Keith Sawka May 29, 2010 (10:24 am)

    Yikes, Sorry to hear about this happening to a fellow musician. And sorry to hear about police and 911 not responding quickly on the cloverdale area.
    I must emphasize that if it’s a home burglary, having an alarm system and video surveillance is a great first line of defense in these kinds of situations.
    We have helped several residences in west Seattle on their security needs and please see our reviews on the WSB. Please contact us if anyone has questions. 206-229-8075 –

  • CandrewB May 29, 2010 (10:35 am)

    There is a neighborhood nuisance who preys on the Fairmount neighborhood. He has distinguishably thick eyebrows too.

  • Alki Resident May 29, 2010 (10:50 am)

    Well if you see a new band out there,youll know who they are.They may go by the stage name” Metal Theives”.

  • WS Block Watch Captains' Network May 29, 2010 (11:29 am)

    To the Alki musician, sorry to hear about this very aggressive theft; I hope you are able to recover your property. I also wonder if your street has an active BW group? You can contact Benjamin Kinlow to find out if you do:

    Matthew, that was an interesting perspective on what “suspicious activity” might look like! It is awesome to read that your area is one of those networked with BW’s and that folks like you are REALLY paying attention.

    In case your cluster of BW Captains haven’t already done so, please join the West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network. In conjunction with Benjamin and SPD, we are trying to reorganize and revitalize the program and support existing and new Captains.

    A large part of our efforts are dependent upon all existing BW or Neighborhood Watch groups, formal or informal, contacting our network so we know where folks are organized so we can support those efforts as well as know where to build participation in less organized areas.

    Thanks to all active Block Watch participants and Captains. Your efforts make a difference and are appreciated by us!

  • 22blades May 29, 2010 (5:33 pm)

    Sorry to here about your property stolen. I’ve had my share of instruments stolen (one time just hours before a gig). Make sure you make the rounds at the music stores. They have been very helpful being on the lookout (even w/o serial numbers). All trade-in or consignments get checked. If they squirm and leave, they’re noted.

    Serial numbers folks!

    P.S. They couldn’t run fast enough for the kick or floor tom, huh?! Good luck…

  • LDH May 29, 2010 (5:56 pm)

    Our home was burglarized last month, we live in Fauntlee Hills. A neighbor spotted two suspicious black males loitering around a dark color 1990’s model chevy malibu. Maybe these are folks and car we should all be looking for. If they come back our hidden security cameras will get there photos!

  • bridge to somewhere May 29, 2010 (6:27 pm)

    Matthew, thank you so much for your diligence following the suspected house casers and calling 911–albeit unsuccessfully. I actually live on that street. Do you know which houses in particular were being cased (color, etc)? Also, I think I was home napping, and it’d definitely have been a bad news event for those dudes if they’d broken in to my place.

  • Concerned May 29, 2010 (6:27 pm)

    Interesting statement “no one answers the phone at the SW Precinct” … this has happened to me 3 times in the last month!!! I even tried calling the Police non-emergency number and no one answered there either!!! So I tried later in the day 4 times! They had a recording to call back later! What the HECK is going on!!! I just wanted to report “drinking Teens” dumping their trash on the street for the last 2 nights! on the corner … guess they don’t care!

    • WSB May 29, 2010 (6:39 pm)

      I can’t speak to the 625-5011 number. The SW Precinct front desk is not staffed round the clock – the captain has said many a time, if he has to choose between an officer on the street and one on the front desk, he’ll take the street. However, to my knowledge, the citywide numbers SHOULD be staffed around the clock.

  • Pie May 29, 2010 (6:41 pm)

    Just watched the news, a WS teen beaten up by kids claiming they are Bloods. Business owners also being harassed by teens claiming they are Bloods, and yet, nothing here on the blog about it besides the buried story a week ago.

    • WSB May 29, 2010 (6:45 pm)

      The TV link is going in the next Crime Watch roundup. We have no independent information on the Highland Park report.

  • old timer May 29, 2010 (7:04 pm)

    2:45 to 4:15, 4+ calls to the police…
    any pics?
    surely there are pics?

  • pie May 29, 2010 (7:10 pm)

    That’s wonderful, but my point is that there has been no reporting about these “bloods” besides one mention a week ago.
    I have heard from a few business owners over the past month about these guys terrorizing them. I’ve heard about pedestrians being harassed by these guys. I depend on this blog to let me know about this stuff and the reporting hasn’t been here.
    Please investigate about this instead of reposting news stories.

    • WSB May 29, 2010 (7:25 pm)

      Pie – I’m sorry to let you down. We do our best covering as many stories as possible in areas from crime to courts to development to schools to businesses. We really do work 24/7. We spend every day and night investigating a multitude of stories, including some tips/questions that come to us and turn out to be unfounded. As I think I said in another exchange, the first and only information that has surfaced publicly about the group of teenagers was with the officer who spoke to the Junction Neighborhood Organization, and we reported his appearance in detail. That is the only thing we have heard/seen/found. If anyone who is having the problems you report cares to contact us, they can be anonymous – but without knowing who it’s happened to, where and when, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack, as the old saying goes. Regarding “reposting news stories,” we do very little of that – this site is almost entirely original content. But in this reported beating case, I have no info, and I have stated that pretty honestly in the separate blurb that just went up. I have even looked for contact info for the dad listed in the story, and have not found it.
      Old Timer, no photos accompanied the note – TR

  • Paul Cozens May 29, 2010 (7:38 pm)

    Hey Pie,

    Ease up on the Blog. You shouldn’t be “depending” on anybody/anything for your news. The Blog does a far better job than anything else out there in reporting local news of interest. For you to suggest they need to do a better job and investigate stories rather than reposting information is a comment without merit.

  • d May 29, 2010 (7:38 pm)

    pie –

    you say you’ve heard from business owners being harassed by “these guys”. Which businesses? Where? How do you/they/we know it is the same people? The police saying it is so is one thing. Speculation is another.

    Did the businesses call SPD? If they have not, they are not helping themselves one lick and the police certainly can’t help them much if they are not reporting it! Those businesses could be writing to WSB reporting their crime/suspicious behavior/harassment, as do many, many other businesses and individuals throughout West Seattle. Did the business do that? Nope, doesn’t sound like it. Because that is the kind of independent information, I believe and correct me if I’m wrong WSB, that WSB means.

    And about the pedestrians you said you “heard” being harassed, again have to wonder if they called 911? Do you know, or is this just rumor? That’s a rhetorical question. Because I tell you, if this stuff happens to people and they are not calling 911, they aren’t helping themselves and they sure aren’t helping the cops to help them.

    And they, both businesses and pedestrians, are then part of the problem because these “harassments” are not getting on the SPD’s radar for whatever lame reason people come up with about not calling 911 or SPD about what is happening.

    How can the police track patterns of activity to help ANYBODY if they are not given the info they need because businesses and citizens are not reporting this stuff? People have GOT TO REPORT incidences to SPD. No excuses. Yes, there are problems with the desk. Yes, there are problems with getting through and connecting in a timely fashion. Yes there are problems. But if people don’t persevere and get that information to SPD, nothing for sure will happen.

    If people will write to the editor of WSB about Crime Activity as well as report it to SPD and their Block Watch, then THAT is how everyone gets the information they need. WSB will receive the information they need to report it. WSB cannot be everywhere and is no more clairvoyant than SPD is.

  • old timer May 29, 2010 (8:28 pm)

    WSB – I don’t think you owe apologies to ANYONE.
    Regulars know how much you contribute to the construction and maintenance of community – and we also know how much a community requires participation from it’s members to be healthy.
    Thank you for all your hard work and your good energy.

  • Pie May 29, 2010 (8:31 pm)

    The businesses did call the police.
    All I’m trying to say is that I’ve known about this going on for a while and it’s scared me. I’ve been coming here looking for info and haven’t found any. I don’t like walking around in the Junction at night or close to night now, and that’s never happened before. Sorry I depend on the only truly local news source to let me know if it has stopped or even being addressed.
    Not trying to beat up on anyone.

  • miws May 29, 2010 (8:59 pm)

    Okay Pie, so you come here looking for info on these incidents you hear about and don’t find it.


    There’s a “Contact” link at the top of the page, under the banner. If you hear of something and don’t see it here, then you can click on the link, and choose amongst the several ways to contact WSB and report what you’ve heard, so they can investigate.


    I’m sure TR and Patrick would love to have a large team of crack reporters located at WSB HQ and to send out in the field to scope the various neighborhoods, talk with residents and business owners/workers, and find out what’s going on, but that simply isn’t how it is.


    Part of WSB’s success is us, and TR has thanked us a thousand times over for our contributions. See something yourself? Hear about an incident through someone else? Let WSB know. I have many times. Sometimes it’s nothing, other times it is something. Sometimes I am one of apparently many to report the same thing. In any of those cases, I’ve always gotten a “thank you” reply from WSB, along with what they know, or found out about it, if they are already looking into the incident.



  • pie May 29, 2010 (9:33 pm)

    Gotcha all. Do not give a critique on the WSB.
    I’m a regular too, but can’t I say I’m a little displeased at the amount of non-coverage a very obvious story has gotten here? I haven’t pumped these businesses for info on these wanna-be gang members, I’ve simply visited them and been told about the harassment. I’ve seen them in the heart of WS bothering people… I’m just disappointed that WSB hasn’t had their fingers on this pulse. Next time I’ll contact the blog. But these businesses contacted the police. Figured I’d see something here instead of me having to contact the blog.
    Meanwhile, I’m getting crap for complaining about coverage, when the only comments on the story that WSB posted about the actual crime are blaming the victim.

  • old timer May 30, 2010 (12:25 am)

    Quit whining pie –
    Make what is obvious to you obvious to others.
    You said – “I have heard from a few business owners over the past month about these guys terrorizing them.”
    WHAT business owners?
    Names please.
    How were they ‘terrorized’. Bombs? Tags? Broken windows?
    Specify please.
    You say – ” I’ve simply visited them and been told about the harassment.”
    Visited whom?
    What was the harassment? Catcalls? Littering? Finger-pointing?
    Specify please.
    You want a story, you seem to have all the leads – fill in enough blanks so someone can finish the work.
    It’s real simple.

  • Michael May 30, 2010 (12:34 am)

    Be careful when going home from a show or practice and when you get home, UNLOAD YOUR CAR whether you’re in a “secure” parking garage or not!
    There are thieves who will look for someone loading out equipment into their car, then follow them home. Once the thieves know where the car is, they wait and make their move when they think the coast is clear.
    I’ve seen this before. Don’t let it happen to you!

  • miws May 30, 2010 (7:25 am)

    Pie, you’re getting “crap” because you flung “crap’ in the first place.


    I know it’s hard to determine a tone of voice in comments on the internet, but I even took your comment of “Seriously?” as being a bit snarky to WSB.


    Then, after TR gives her explanation, that apparently isn’t good enough for you. TR said that she didn’t have any info on this case. If the info hasn’t been relayed to WSB, if it’s not reachable to WSB by the normal channels they use, where do you expect them to get it from? Your subsequent comments indicate that even that explanation is “unacceptable”. What more do you want?


    Here’s another idea to go along with having you contact WSB in regards to apparent incidents you’ve heard about; write down their contact info, and if any business owners, other people you pass on the street, whomever tell you of an incident, give them WSB’s contact info, (especially if you are not comfortable disclosing the names of whomever you hear about incidents from), so that they can contact WSB if they wish.


    I certainly hope you aren’t expecting WSB to post news stories just on word of mouth, without contacting the apparent victims/first hand witnesses, and/or the Police directly.



  • Break in victim - from this article May 31, 2010 (2:18 pm)

    Ok, rather than focusing on the back and forth, I would like to thank those that have positively contributed here. Thank you to everyone at WSB for carrying the details I sent, and for putting the word out on the street to watch for these hoodlums. I, for one, am sick of W. Seattle turning into a crime ridden neighborhood, and plan on standing up for myself and my community. Thank you WS Block Watch captains for the information, you will be hearing from me shortly. Please keep the reporting up, and the finger pointing down. We all need to work together if we’re going to make a difference. Hopefully SPD is on top of this as well… They have seemed a bit short on staff, and resources, so any info you can provide will make their jobs easier.

    Thanks again!

  • Tonya June 1, 2010 (9:00 am)

    If it’s constructive critisim then everyone should be open to it. Nobody should be lambasted because a comment was made.

    I would think that constructive input would be appreciated?

  • dbsea June 1, 2010 (3:03 pm)

    Did I miss reading what the SPD response was to these repeated 911 calls made during Mathew’s tailing of 2 suspicious individuals? They didn’t hook up with Mathew but does the WSB know whether SPD actually made an effort to locate and ID these 2 people? I sure hope they did. When someone is calling and calling and it involves potential break-ins (just based on “suspicious” activity) I’d like the police to get involved.

  • SoloOne June 2, 2010 (12:09 pm)

    Anyone who has some technical ability (or knows someone who does) should invest in security cameras. There are systems that are under $500 and come with 2 to 4 cameras AND a DVR. For a little more money wireless cameras are available. I am not trying to sponsor but a good place to check is as they offer relatively checp to expensive setups ranging from 2-8 cameras either wired or wireless.

    A security note, if anyone approaches your home to sell a security system the more intelligible choice is to just tell them you already have video surveillance and they are being recorded since entering the property, regardless if they are legit or not this is one way criminals will identify an easier target. Even legitimate sales people have been known to tip off criminals for potential burgulary sites.

Sorry, comment time is over.