West Seattle Crime Watch: $150,000 bail for smash-grab suspect

ORIGINAL 3:26 PM REPORT: We’re at the Regional Justice Center in Kent, where the 50-year-old Burien man suspected in more than 40 smash-and-grab burglaries – including a series of break-ins in West Seattle – has just appeared before a judge for his bail hearing. gavel.jpgWe are not identifying him until and unless he is charged, which could happen tomorrow. The judge granted prosecutors’ request for $150,000 bail; his defense lawyer had argued that there was little evidence tying him to the three cases on which he is currently held – but the judge noted that he allegedly had a “cash register in his hand, which was then dropped” at or around the time of his arrest early yesterday. We should get more information shortly on the circumstances of his arrest – now that bail is set, prosecutors will be able to release some documentation, which we’ll add here when we get it. In granting the bail amount, the judge noted that the suspect had more than 60 cases in his history, resulting in more than 90 warrants – drolly observing, “That’s a ratio of 1.5 warrants per case.” (The warrants, the prosecutor had said, were generally for “failing to comply with court orders.” As we reported yesterday, he has prior burglary convictions. The Department of Corrections told WSB today that he had served two prison terms – from September 2002 to August 2004, and from June 2007 to September 2009. (The latter was in connection with the theft of an ATM from a tavern in Seatac.) More to come.

ADDED 3:55 PM: We have the probable cause paperwork now, from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office – indicating that detectives had been watching this particular suspect, also saying that he was caught an hour after a burglary at a West Seattle church, and mentioning an alleged drug problem – read on:

The probable cause statement reads:

On 8-11-10 at about 0158 hours radio broadcast a report of a burglary that had occurred at 15821 1st Av S, VB-Huff Motorsports. A witness called 911 to report that he heard an audible alarm and saw a suspect described as a white male with a blue shirt and tan pants running away from the scene. On the same day, detectives had been surveilling the suspect (name), a suspect of numerous area commercial burglaries. (He) was observed by detectives wearing the same clothing description. (His) vehicle had been observed at prior burglaries, as seen on surveillance video footage. (He) was followed by detectives and placed into custody at S. 120/Des Moines Memorial Dr. (He) was positively identified by the witness as the suspect seen running from the area of the alarm, with a cash register in hand, which was dropped. About one hour prior to this burglary, (he) and his vehicle were observed by detectives parked in a church parking lot near Olson/Myers Way in the City of Seattle, and this church was determined to have been burglarized. Using the same MO in case (number) on 6/25/10, (he) is observed on video breaking a window at Maaco – 13646 1st Av S – to enter the building and steal money from a candy machine. Also case (number), a witness identified (him) after seeing him running with a register drawer from 11870 Des Moines Mem. Dr., which had a broken window.

In court, the defense lawyer said that the suspect had been living with his sister in Burien and had just gotten a job as a tree-topper; but on the probable-cause document, after the statement above, it’s noted the suspect “is currently living out of his truck … occasionally stays with his mother … is said to have a problem with crack … is unemployed.”

21 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: $150,000 bail for smash-grab suspect"

  • Lynne August 12, 2010 (3:39 pm)

    Priceless defense.

  • Bond out? August 12, 2010 (4:25 pm)

    So this guy could pay a $15,000 bond and then be able to skip town? Seems like the bail should have been set a bit higher given his lengthy history the probable recidivism.

  • Baba August 12, 2010 (4:27 pm)

    I’m no expert, but how can a person with “… more than 60 cases in his history…” can be allowed to walk the streets in our community, any community? I’m speechless…
    I don’t even care about the smash and grab stuff that much (although of course it’s awful). How can this garbage, on crack or not, can be a member of our society?
    And to all bleeding hearts out there: yes, the smash and grab charge is all allegedly, of course… :)
    But the 60 + cases criminal history speaks for itself

    Where is the limit

  • cjboffoli August 12, 2010 (5:04 pm)

    Once again our fearless editor not only breaks a juicy story but produces this very professionally-reported, detailed follow-up. Nicely done.

  • Jiggers August 12, 2010 (5:42 pm)

    Baba..Our country want to be free spirited as much as possible with little consenquences.

  • nearalki August 12, 2010 (6:27 pm)

    Little evidence tying him to the three cases…except for the “cash register in his hand, which was then dropped” around the time of his arrest. LOL…I’m sure that was his personal cash register….Much more sensible than carrying around a big bulky wallet.

  • Baba August 12, 2010 (6:56 pm)

    Just from the expense point of view. For our state ( us taxpayers), to charge this piece of garbage 60+ times in court… What is the cost?
    Can somebody, please, give me and FEW other people interested a guestimate? Thank you in advance.

  • Baba August 12, 2010 (7:34 pm)

    Im serious here, are there any knowledgeable enough about this type of subject people on this board to guestimate the cost, soo far, of this piece of garbage to us – taxpayers? Thank you.

  • dsa August 12, 2010 (9:54 pm)

    With 60 cases and 90 warrants it is obvious he has no respect for our rights, but the law will give him every one of his rights. I hope he sits in a cell a long time, surely all of those old warrants can’t be cleared off the books.

  • waterworld August 12, 2010 (10:28 pm)

    Baba: According to the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, in a report published in 2003 based on data from 1975 to 2002, the cost to the average Washington household for criminal justice expenditures (police, prosecution, incarceration, supervision) was about $1062. At that time, the cost per household was increasing steadily, as incarceration rates increased. I would not be too surprised if that number is trending down now, due to the lower crime rate and the slight dip in incarceration rates due to drug courts, mental health courts, and the like.

    I did not track down a report that really computes the average cost to prosecute an individual in this state. An Oregon report, published this year, put the cost per conviction at about $3,000. The WSIPP report determined that the average cost of incarceration in Washington was, in 2003, $32,000 per year. The Institute estimated the total amount per prisoner for all criminal justice expenditure was about double that, $64,000, although the basis for that multiplier is not obvious to me.

    Several reports from the WSIPP analyze the costs and benefits of various programs now in operation in this state, and the results are worth looking at. You can find a number of criminal justice analysis reports at http://www.wsipp.wa.gov. Among other things, the data suggests that locking up more and more people has a diminishing rate of return on crime rates overall, and that programs to deal with mentally ill offenders other than by simply incarcerating them are demonstrably cost-effective. (I don’t know if this offender is mentally ill, but I do know that a lot of people with arrest and conviction records like his are mentally ill.)

  • Jason August 13, 2010 (7:58 am)

    As they say, “90 percent of the crime is committed by the same 10 percent of criminals” This is a perfect example of how “rehabilitation” doesn’t work, and that the system is broken.

  • bridge to somewhere August 13, 2010 (8:31 am)

    Out of curiousity, does this guy live out of a black pickup truck?

  • DP August 13, 2010 (1:02 pm)

    waterworld said:

    Among other things, the data suggests that locking up more and more people has a diminishing rate of return on crime rates overall, and that programs to deal with mentally ill offenders other than by simply incarcerating them are demonstrably cost-effective.


    waterworld, I’m interested in your opinion on this, since you seem to have some legal expertise.

          From what we know about the “suspect” so far, we have good reason to believe that he’s supporting a drug habit. If he’s loose, I think there’s a high likelihood of him reoffending, whether he gets “diverted” to a treatment program or not.

    Your comments seem to suggest that locking this fellow up won’t pay off in the long run. While it may not have any pay-off in terms of rehabilitating him, I think it will pay-off in terms of protecting society.

    This guy just doesn’t look like a good prospect for rehabilitation.

    What say you?


  • waterworld August 13, 2010 (2:12 pm)

    DP: Honestly, I don’t think I have enough information to form a firm opinion yet, although the information we have so far suggests he’s not going to change. But specifically, I want to know what these 60 “cases” are (arrests, convictions, misdemeanors, felonies?), and what his personal circumstances are (drug addiction, drug abuse, mental illness, cognitive disabilities, that kind of thing).

    Let me offer up a couple different scenarios, purely hypothetical.

    (1) A guy has a longstanding heroin addiction, consistently fails at treatment, and shows no interest in living any differently. He racks up a bunch of misdemeanor theft and burglary convictions because he’s stealing to support his drug habit, but he’s not violent. There are dozens of outstanding warrants because he never shows up in court.

    (2) A different guy has developed narcotic addiction after a serious injury and poorly managed pain. He lost his job because of the injury. He’s started buying on the street because he can’t get prescriptions anymore. He’s depressed and doesn’t know his options. He starts stealing, gets come misdemeanor convictions, misses court dates, etc. So, similar criminal history, but different story.

    I tend to agree that with guy no. 1, drug treatment and short sentences probably won’t work. I do not advocate for lifetime incarceration, for a couple of reasons. It’s extremely expensive, and as people age in prison, the costs just go up. Also, a single long sentence often, in the case of people who are committing crimes to support a drug habit, breaks the cycle sufficiently so that the person can behave after release. By long, I may be thinking less than some people. I would probably put it in the 10 year range.

    For guy no. 2, drug court, mental health treatment, and some job training will probably solve the problem in terms of future crimes. I have seen people get their lives back “on track,” pay restitution, and rejoin society the way we would hope.
    Historically, by which I mean from the 80s to the last few years, the law has not distinguished between guy no. 1 and guy no. 2. The practice was to impose the same sentence for the crime no matter who committed it. When that didn’t seem to affect the crime rate much, legislatures responded to the public’s frustration by simply increasing sentences. Now the trend is somewhat more toward finding the meaningful differences between types of offenders, and looking for a mix of punishment and drug treatment or mental health treatment to lower the risk of reoffense.
    The difficult trick, of course, is distinguishing between those defendants who will not reoffend after going through drug court and those for whom something like drug court is a waste. I think the people working in the system try to make those determinations, but it’s not easy, at least the first time through.

  • DP August 13, 2010 (4:06 pm)

    Well said, ww. Thank you.
    I was assuming that the suspect had already been offerred some form of treatment program as an alternative to prison, but perhaps that is not the case.

  • waterworld August 13, 2010 (4:35 pm)

    DP: That should show up in a full list of his criminal history. There are some non-negotiable eligibility requirements for drug court in King County. Lots of offenses are ruled out entirely. Of interest here, if restitution exceeds $2000, the defendant won’t qualify. You can find the requirements on this page:
    The link to eligibility is about three-quarters of the way down the page.

    The other thing about drug court is they won’t take you if they don’t think you can succeed. It’s not an easy program at all, and for some folks, it’s better to just take their lumps. If a person is not ready to confront the addiction and deal with it, they are guaranteed to fail the program.

  • Baba August 13, 2010 (5:07 pm)

    @waterworld, you are a great addition to this board, please keep posting your knowledge here!

    And even though I didn’t care for the movie that much, the water park in California is fantabulous :)
    Thanks again.

  • DP August 13, 2010 (5:51 pm)

    From the King County Web page linked by waterworld:

    Since 2005, 700 people have completed the requirements of drug court and graduated from the program, an increase of 100% from 2005 to 2009.

    It would be interesting to know what the Court’s criteria for long-term success are, above and beyond “graduation” from the program.
    —Clean and sober for X years?
    —No re-offenses?
    Anyone out there in the BS (Blog-o-Sphere) have a personal story about Drug Court, either good or bad? I know it’s a stretch asking people to come forward on something like this . . .
    Anybody? Anybody?

  • waterworld August 13, 2010 (7:56 pm)

    Oh, now you’re just baiting me. The Washington State Institute for Public Policy has prepared a couple of reports since drug courts began emerging in this state. They found an average reduction in overall recidivism rates of about 13% after four years. That’s about the same as the national average.
    More precisely, offenders who graduate from drug court have about a 38% recidivism rate, while people who do not go through drug court at all have about a 45% recidivism rate. (The reason that it comes out to 13% is that people who reoffend generally commit more than one crime.
    One of the analyses looked at the highest volume drug courts and evaluated data on not just the rate of reoffense, but the types of crimes that were committed. Not too surprisingly, drug offenses went way down among drug court graduates. But some of them go on to commit other kinds of crimes, predominantly misdemeanors. The good news is that even if they do commit other crimes, they are almost always non-violent.
    The value to the taxpayer is hard to calculate, and the calculations are hard for me to follow, but the institute, which is non-partisan, concluded that drug courts give is about $1.75 in value for every dollar we spend on them.
    I don’t have a personal story of my own, but I have been in drug court when the judge is meeting with students in the program. It’s both sobering and heartwarming. It takes a large support network for even a non-criminal drug addict to recover, and some of these folks have very few people backing them up.

  • waterworld August 13, 2010 (7:57 pm)

    Baba: I hated that movie too. It’s the name of my house, which chronically leaks.

  • DP August 13, 2010 (8:29 pm)

    Thanks, ww. Awesome info!!

Sorry, comment time is over.