West Seattle Crime Watch: Thefts; potential tactic caught on cam

(Updated Friday night with report of additional car-prowl victims in Arbor Heights – see end of story)

With delivery trucks rumbling along the streets delivering holiday mail and gifts like so many motorized sleighs, it’s time for another round of West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports:

First, from SW 98th in Arbor Heights, a check was reportedly taken from a mailbox and “washed.” The tipster says “Turns out that another neighbor witnessed this happening and gave chase, but lost them. We have a partial license plate and a description of the car.” (We have a followup out to see if they’ll share that information.)

Further north, package thieves struck again. From the victim:

A Christmas Gift package was delivered to our house (Wednesday), while we were not home, and was stolen off our front porch before we returned from work. We live in the area near Our Lady of Guadalupe – just letting folks know that there might be some package poachers roaming the neighborhood.

And a possible would-be package thief was caught on a security camera in the Shorewood area, near 26th and 106th, with what would be an unusual tactic:

The person who shared the image explains it – that, and other reports, as this continues after the jump:

My wife and I went on out of town Dec 16 – Dev 19 (Sun – Wed), and as it turns out we had quite a few packages being delivered. We have a friend in our neighborhood who agreed to pick up our packages daily. For security purposes, we have security cameras at our home.

On Tuesday, December 18th, at approximately 4:04 pm, we get footage of an unidentified person walking onto my property with packages. The man walks up towards the front door, sets the packages down away from the front door for a brief moment, then picks up the packages he brought in, and walks away from the house. According to the pictures our camera system took, the whole moment lasts 9 seconds. Unfortunately, the pictures taken did not get his face. Judging by the look of him, he is around 5’5” to 5’10”, white male, and semi-stocky build. I suspect this person, walks up with packages, acting like a delivery person, and steals packages from the front of people’s houses.

An Arbor Heights car-prowl victim searching for stolen items also found something:

Purse and bag stolen from my car 108th and 32nd Ave SW: My purse with wallet, check book, and make up bag were stolen from my car last night. In addition, thieves also stole my diaper bag and all other valuables (including mail) from my car. If anyone finds a Michael Kors Tote and or large orange tote, they belong to me. My wallet and checkbook are gray. My debit card, checks, ID, gift cards, have all been stolen too. What a bummer.

I walked down by Arbor Heights Pool and found a discarded bag. It is an Army-style bag with the name WILSON embroidered on the side. I am assuming it was stolen (by) the same people and hope someone finds my bags too?

If you do – call police. Same goes if you find another bag missing after a Junction theft on Wednesday:

I was working at Kinetic PT (near Than Bros) and during a session, between 3 and 3:45 pm, someone walked into the clinic and stole my black and orange satchel. i had a black aluminum water bottle inside, a bit of cash, an ORCA card, and most importantly, my engagement and wedding rings inside. if anyone sees the orange and black bag, I would sure appreciate being contacted.

ADDED FRIDAY NIGHT: Thanks to another Arbor Heights resident for letting us know that unfortunately the car prowl was not an isolated case:

There were also 2 others hit between SW 110th and SW 106th on 32nd SW in the early morning hours — one had their car broken into IN the garage, one had their car vandalized.

A neighbor told me that, between both of these, there were presents taken, seats of car ripped and shredded, and cola poured all over the seats. Nasty! My neighbor heard something around 5 am, looked out and saw 2 (possibly 3) teen/early twenties wearing hoodies and full-looking backpacks, riding bicycles, leave a neighbor’s driveway, go to another driveway where one got between the 2 parked cars and another went to the next driveway to the 2 cars parked there. The neighbor yelled, in a booming voice, “HEY! What are you doing?” and they sped off on the bicycles. The police were called, arrived withing 5 minutes, but the suspects were gone.

Our source was among the victims.

22 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Thefts; potential tactic caught on cam"

  • Evergreen December 21, 2012 (12:42 pm)

    I don’t understand how thieves justify their actions in their heads. A lot of us may look like we have a lot of stuff, but in reality are struggling to stay afloat. People work hard for their things and just want to provide for their children. Stealing things can have devastating repercussions that the thief will never see.

    If you are reading this thieves, please think about all that bad karma you are making for yourselves. You can choose to stop this right now and start making a positive difference in this world, rather than spreading misery and fear to all.

  • K December 21, 2012 (12:47 pm)

    re: washed check, would the bank that cashed it have camera footage of the person who cashed it?

  • Goleta December 21, 2012 (1:11 pm)

    I live on 28th Ave SW near SW 106th St. I recently ordered a watch from Amazon, but it never arrived. Amazon replaced it, and had it shipped to my office. I don’t know if it was stolen, but it seems likely.

  • CarolM December 21, 2012 (1:52 pm)

    We had a package from WOOT delivered by USPS – left at our front door. Someone opened the package and took the box that was inside and left the outer empty box on the steps. It was an electric tea kettle – which just shows that people will steal anything. We live on Trenton and 13th.

  • old timer December 21, 2012 (2:15 pm)

    RE: The photo – could the guy have just made a mistake in a genuine delivery? Is the house number in that alcove?
    If I was a thief, I don’t think I’d be hauling faux packages back and forth.

  • thehood December 21, 2012 (2:31 pm)

    A lot of mail stolen in Arbor Heights area. Our neighbors had a mortgage check stolen, washed and cashed. Our other neighbor had his ID stolen and a credit card opened and maxed. Sad thing is we know who did it and she still lives in the foreclosed flophouse just north of shorewood grocery. Locking mailboxes seem to be our only defense.

  • onceachef December 21, 2012 (3:02 pm)

    I have to agree with “old timer”…I know thieves go to a lot of trouble to take what they want, but that seems a bit far-fetched..hard to tell for sure but the person in the photo looks like a UPS employee…brown jacket, etc. Maybe…

  • Flickertail December 21, 2012 (3:49 pm)

    Great point, old timer. Another question, was there a package already on your doorstep prior to his arrival, that he also took away? If not, what did he steal???

    UPS has driver helpers this time of year, don’t forget…

  • mike December 21, 2012 (3:56 pm)

    Someone should leave an iPhone out and then track where it goes so the police know which persons are doing this.

  • Flickertail December 21, 2012 (4:06 pm)

    Volunteers for giving up your iPhone(s) for a good cause? Anyone?

  • cwit December 21, 2012 (4:15 pm)

    Maybe the description of what happened is missing some details, like whether or not the person used the delivery person guise as a ruse to actually take a legitimate package that was already at the front door?
    But I think dressing up as a delivery person wouldn’t actually be too far-fetched if you wanted to raise less suspicion, although it might be questionable when you get into your stationwagon or whatever non-UPS/Fedex vehicle you’re using.

  • kevin December 21, 2012 (4:27 pm)

    Regarding package theft… we just requested that our parcels be held at the Post Office if we are not home (no answer at door) and now our carrier will ring the bell, and then leave a notice on the door if we were not home.
    15 years in Arbor Heights and we have NEVER had a mail theft, but we got a real good scare when an expensive delivery went missing – or so we thought.
    Happy ending in this case… our very creative postal carrier left the package under cover around the side of the house in a patio area that we rarely use this time of the year.
    Even the Westwood PO manager was convinced it had been stolen, until he checked with the carrier, and once we had the answer, there was the “missing” package!
    It was a good wake up call in this case, especially at this time of the year and also considering the amount of recent mail theft in the Arbor Heights area.

  • G December 21, 2012 (6:44 pm)

    When I get caught up on West Seattle news from SoCal, like I am doing at the moment, I wonder what is happening to my hometown. Depressing.

  • WsBoB December 21, 2012 (9:49 pm)

    Posted earlier this week about a guy in a dark green Astro van looking at a package across the street. He noticed me, got out of the van, pretended to enjoy the view and drove away. He was wearing all brown Carhart clothing. For a moment, I thought he might be a contractor or construction guy.
    Why do people yell out the window at thieves instead of calling the cops immediately? I guess its instinct…i did grab the package for my neighbor.

  • Rebecca December 22, 2012 (1:22 am)

    @Mike, brilliant plan. @Flickertail, I will volunteer my old *** iPhone 4 for the cause LOL.

  • Tom December 22, 2012 (10:22 am)

    Same block hit again, second night in a row…

  • LJ December 22, 2012 (11:56 am)

    Why do people still leave valuables in their cars???

  • brizone December 22, 2012 (12:26 pm)

    Folks, PLEASE call 911 and get the cops on the way BEFORE you do something brilliant like screaming at the bad guys and tipping them off. Jeez.

  • happy December 22, 2012 (2:28 pm)

    Scaring off the bad guys beats paying for the stuff they were about to take (or break)! Not to mention the time and hassle….

  • Tom R December 22, 2012 (11:31 pm)

    I have to sound like a Grinch here and say that I am NEVER surprised when something valuable gets stolen from a car overnight. Anything of value must be bought in from the car when you park. I don’t care “how things used to be”, they weren’t really that way to begin with.

  • buddsmom December 23, 2012 (9:15 am)

    I,on more than one occasion,have found stolen mail from several different addresses in the general area at the bus shelter on 35th/108th.Each time I have contacted the post office and SPD. Some of the mail was very local…2 doors down, and some was from the 106th/24th area.

  • Brandice December 31, 2012 (5:32 pm)

    Packages delivered on 12/21 5:31 (UPS tracking) were never found. 61st Ave & Hinds. 2 – 3 week delivery window led me to believe that the packages were yet to be delivered.

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