Update: SWAT operation on 16th SW brings ID-theft arrests

(Photo by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 7:48 AM: Thanks to those who messaged us early this morning about a SWAT operation just after 6 am in the 7300 block of 16th SW (map). Neighbors heard loud noises – suspected to be the “flash-bang” type of devices often used in SWAT operations – and say they saw one person handcuffed. Only a Bellevue Police vehicle was visible when we arrived; Seattle Police say they were “assisting another agency.” We have a message out to Bellevue PD and will add anything more we find out.

9:40 AM UPDATE: Just talked to Bellevue PD spokesperson Officer Carla Iafrate. She says BPD’s Special Enforcement Team arrested five people – four men and a 15-year-old girl – in connection with an “ID-theft ring (that has) several victims from Bellevue.” Their investigation “led us to this house in West Seattle,” and SWAT was used to get into the house for searching and arresting because of “some intel about possible firearms or (about) one of the individuals,” requiring “extra safety.” Officer Iafrate adds that BPD “collected a lot of evidence at the house, and the detective and officers are going to be weeding through that.” She adds that the team at the scene was thanked by several neighbors – not an everyday occurrence, she notes – who had been aware something was going on there for some time.

12:15 PM UPDATE: Bellevue Police’s official news release is out. The only thing in it that we haven’t already reported is that there may be some non-Bellevue victims. Full text in this PDF.

5:13 PM UPDATE: This photo is courtesy of our friends at KIRO 7 Eyewitness News, who asked permission to use one of our photos from this morning and shared this in return:

That’s some of the evidence displayed by Bellevue PD, according to KIRO, which says it constitutes “close to 200 credit cards, some driver licenses, checks (some altered). Laptops and cell phones,” with “dozens of victims from Bellevue, Seattle, Bonney Lake, Auburn, Kent, Tukwila, Tacoma, and Bainbridge.” And they tell us the 15-year-old girl who was taken into custody was a runaway wanted in connection with something unrelated, not the alleged ID-theft ring.

17 Replies to "Update: SWAT operation on 16th SW brings ID-theft arrests"

  • David February 27, 2013 (9:52 am)

    So, it takes someone in Bellevue being victimized before something’s done about criminals among us?
    That’s sure the way it sounds…

  • Adam February 27, 2013 (9:55 am)

    I <3 my neighborhood.

  • Mike February 27, 2013 (10:08 am)

    David, yes. My guess is the criminals targeted some high profile individuals and ended up getting a hefty response from somebody who’s influential.

  • Forest February 27, 2013 (10:30 am)

    What are some other comments police and first responders do or don’t appreciate hearing from neighbors at a crime scene?

  • Cynthia February 27, 2013 (10:30 am)

    I love how the neighbors thanked the police. Yep, that’s how we roll in West Seattle!

  • QQman February 27, 2013 (10:46 am)

    So,David, what have you done lately about the criminals among us? It’s easy to critize, a lot harder to take action.

  • Sbrown February 27, 2013 (11:19 am)

    No David it means the crooks in your hood are smart enough to know that you guys don’t have any money so they go to Bellevue to rip people off.

  • A person who lives close by February 27, 2013 (11:41 am)

    Found out from talking to a guy with the news that some 15 year old girl was arrested outta there for ID and Mail theft.

    This house is a trash house for sure and always has many people coming and going night after night. Every now and then it’s a quiet night outta there but more often then not people coming and going from 10pm-5am nightly.

    Car alarms going off people in and out all night. I know for sure it’s bad but didn’t want to say much or be seen much in the news. Infact they just took a stolen car outta there within the last 2months. Sad thing is all these people will be back to business as usual here in the next few days just like when they got taken to jail for the stolen car a couple months ago and we did see at the time about 4 or 5 guys get hauled away in police cars but a few days later same old things going on again.

    These people throw trash in the street all the time we are always picking up after these neighbors. Talk about just trashy low life people!!!

    For the most part the other people within a few houses of these people seem decent and just want a safe place to live with their family and kids.

    • WSB February 27, 2013 (11:59 am)

      “Person,” just fwiw, the 15-year-old arrestee is mentioned in our story; if the “news crew” that was there earlier this morning is TV, they found out by reading us (and have already asked permission to use our photo). That aside, we also have more info from Bellevue PD that I will be adding in a few minutes. Thanks for the additional observations. I’ll have to look into the archives and see if we have covered anything in that vicinity before – Tracy

  • A person who lives close by February 27, 2013 (1:48 pm)

    Tracy, look in your crime watch part of the blog going back a good ways and you will see the report on the stolen car they found not long ago.

    I don’t have a link for that or i would share it on here, i just remember looking it up the day after it happend. It was a stolen honda.

    Very sad of these people hope thay get locked away for a very long time.

  • Rick February 27, 2013 (4:07 pm)

    The news crews are all set up out there again now.

    • WSB February 27, 2013 (4:43 pm)

      Yup, figured there would be others. 7 has also shared with us a photo we couldn’t get since we weren’t running out to Bellevue today – some evidence. Adding it to the story.

  • southneighbor February 27, 2013 (6:02 pm)

    The SWAT flash-bang (x2) was LOUD this morning. I nearly jumped right out of bed; it sounded like a bomb. A lot of neighbors have had problems with “missing” mail and have found crumpled mail from blocks away in our trash and recycling bins.

  • David February 27, 2013 (9:36 pm)

    Hey, QQMan-

    1- I stopped a man sexually harassing a woman on 16th SW, last year, by physically imposing myself between him and his victim.
    2- I intervened several months ago, in front of Renton Western Wear, and physically defended an elderly man who was being beaten.
    3- I’ve approached my neighbors about beginning a Neighborhood Watch program. Not much interest, so that’s not going anywhere.
    4- I chased down a van and got the license plate number, when I saw the driver following my neighbor’s daughter.
    5- I’ve gone into an empty house in my neighborhood and cleaned out the hypodermics, as well as calling police when I see people going in there.
    6- I frequently call police on suspicious activity, primarily on the customers of the drug-dealer down the street. They’re the ones who leave the needles in the empty house. See #4.
    7- Because I work nights, I’m often on the streets very late, and I call the police whenever I see someone driving impaired.

    Is there another anything else you’d like to know?
    Is there something else you think I should do?
    Do you think I should cruising the streets, a’al George Zimmerman?

    So, tell me-
    What do YOU do about the criminals among us, Superman?

  • Gawdger February 28, 2013 (12:52 pm)

    I just heard that Bellevue PD is investigated at another West Seattle home on 35th today. Tracy is on the hunt for info.

    @David: As an Ex-Army MP it can be difficult to turn off that switch as a civilian, but I don’t have to tell you that your fist order as a citizen is to get home safe to your family. I’m not judging you in anyway for your heroic actions; just hope you had some form of force multiplier just in case. =) Observe and report and intervene as a last resort, but again I’m sure you made the right decisions in the above physical actions.

  • Neighbor In The Area February 28, 2013 (5:36 pm)

    To “southneighbor” Thanks for speaking your mind in the news at 11pm if that was you. I live very close to these people myself and i can’t stand those people not one bit. Dirty ass people. Hope we can now see a bit of peace around here for awhile. I know all about the coming and goings and the car alarm going off and on all night long most nights lately. That bust came at no surprise to me at all. The Seattle cops just so you know were visiting those people at least once or twice a week at all hours.

    Thanks for speaking your mind on 7 at 11pm last night:)

  • David February 28, 2013 (5:58 pm)

    Thanks, Gawder-
    Former Marine, retired National Guard, former private investigator & PI. Have studied martial arts, including Krav Maga and, yes, my first action, if possible, is to call the police.
    And, yes, usually have a force multiplier. :)


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