Reader reports: Car-tab theft; found mail; suspicious person seen

Three reader reports to share: The first one, you’ve probably seen if you read the WSB Forums, but the discussion involves lots of great advice, so we wanted to share it here too: KatieK reported someone stealing her car tabs while she was shopping; police (and subsequently others) offered advice on deterring that type of theft. Read her report and the ensuing discussion here. Next – a discovery of apparently stolen mail, and a sighting that stirred suspicions:

First, Matt reported discovering “a pile of mail” near the 8400 block of 24th, looking as if someone had gone through it (even opening Christmas cards). He took it to the blocks-away box for which it apparently had been intended, but e-mailed us wondering what to do after such a discovery. Though someone reported here recently that police told them only the victim could report mail theft, we discovered this online form that it appears anyone could fill out.

And finally, Jim e-mailed from Arbor Heights about a white Chevy van …

… “and a very suspicious guy getting out of the van and walking thru my neighborhood. He walked by my house 15 minutes later, I knew it was the same guy as I had just seen parked across the street from my house. He was wearing a red hooded sweatshirt and his face covered up and would not look at me both times I saw him. I then told my wife this guy is casing out the neighborhood and after he walked by, I got in my car and drove around looking for his van and found it about a block away. I kept an eye on the van , wrote down the license plate number as he was walking up and got in. He spotted me this time and drove away. I called the police and they said they would let officers know. I drove around and spotted his van again and didn’t see him in it and when I came back around the block the van was gone. My gut feeling tells me this guy was casing out the neighborhood. I went back home and grabbed Bear Spray trying to find him again and confront him but couldn’t find him. Please everyone out there, watch out for this shady-looking character and his white Chevy Van.”

(Police do not recommend confronting anyone – but getting information such as the license plate is important. We’re checking back with Jim for a vicinity, by the way, as we just noticed he didn’t include that in his note.)

10 Replies to "Reader reports: Car-tab theft; found mail; suspicious person seen"

  • wayne December 18, 2011 (4:57 pm)

    Is it possible to get the license plate number also? I have seen a Chevy van driving around the Westwood area. It would be a good detail to get out to people to watch out for.

  • Chuck D December 18, 2011 (6:08 pm)

    Good looking out! It’s nice to see neighbors protecting their neighborhoods when the police are unable/unwilling to.

  • Eaglelover December 18, 2011 (7:08 pm)

    Really the police can’t cover all, but yes being vigilant will help partner with police. For example if your neighbor forgot to cancel the newspaper and they are piling up take them in and leave a note, same with UPS deliveries.

  • Alki Resident December 18, 2011 (8:22 pm)

    I dont think we can get all the numbers of the van but some right Blog?Also,is there a better description of van,like windows,age of van,loud or quiet etc?

  • RickM December 19, 2011 (7:37 am)

    Good work Jim.

  • ad December 19, 2011 (12:07 pm)

    I don’t know how car tabs can be stolen…they now cut them in a way fall apart if you try to remove them.

  • Old trick. December 19, 2011 (1:26 pm)

    I used to have a lot of trouble with tab theft, but now I put them on the license plate, and then score them in a grid pattern with an exacto knife. They might try to steal them, but once they figure out it’s in forty pieces, they leave.

  • LR December 19, 2011 (5:41 pm)

    We just had mail stolen from our mailbox on Saturday at 9 in the am.
    I happened to be coming out of our front door, when I saw a young woman at our mailbox. This teenage young woman with red hair took our mail, jumped into a gray Chevy Astro van, and the van took off down the street. I didn’t get a license plate, but it was a gray Chevy van, with some rust around the back doors w/windows.
    We live in the Alki area. Looks like they were casing any house with an exterior mailbox.
    The police did come over to our house to take our statement. They said that the thieves were probably looking for cash and gift cards.
    Let’s all be on the lookout!

  • Mz. G December 26, 2011 (4:02 pm)

    I live on the 8400 block of 24th Ave SW and yes, our mail has been stolen on two known occasions since October, including outgoing bills and checks. We now try to be vigilant to check the mail as soon as possible after it’s delivered, which is not always feasible of course. My sincere thanks to Matt for your efforts. I’ve seen some “specialized” mailboxes on our street that appear more secure; perhaps we’ll have to invest in one of those. It’s a shame that a federal offense is so easy to pull off. If anyone has other suggestions beyond reporting, we’re grateful for them.

    • WSB December 26, 2011 (4:30 pm)

      Having mail delivered through a slot in the front door certainly would remove the mailbox problem. Certainly some older homes have them – don’t know if they still sell doors with them built in, or whether you’d be able to have one installed!

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