The WSBeat: Four police-report summaries, starting with fruit theft

By Megan Sheppard
On the WSBeat, for West Seattle Blog

This edition of our periodic feature The WSBeat contains summaries written from reports on cases handled recently by Southwest Precinct officers – generally cases that (usually) have not already appeared here in breaking-news coverage or West Seattle Crime Watch reports, but that might at least answer the question “what WERE all those police doing on my block?” Or on the bridge, or the beach, or …

*A Fauntleroy resident went out to his planting strip to harvest his organic pear crop and was dismayed to discover that all of the ripe fruit had been taken. He estimates that at least 50 pounds of fruit — worth $200 — was missing. A nearby citizen said she saw a man and woman in a white van picking the fruit. The van is registered to a Georgetown address.

Three more summaries ahead, including the case that began with a naked man and a tree:

*Around 6:30 pm on the 26th, officers were dispatched to the 2500 block of 56th SW where a naked man was doing pullups from a tree branch. He didn’t appreciate being placed in the rear of the patrol car, where he spent his time mumbling and spitting. The 17-year-old from Kent was eventually restrained (and fitted with a “spit sock”), placed on a gurney, and transported to Harborview for treatment.

*On Harbor Avenue on the evening of the 21st, a rollerblader claimed that a driver speedily exiting a restaurant parking caused a collision. He said the driver entered the skating lane so unexpectedly and abruptly that he (the fast skater) was unable to stop in time and slammed into the car. When medics arrived, they found him on the ground. On the other hand, the police report says, the driver, two passing witnesses (who knew neither the driver or skater), and the restaurant video told a different (and consistent) story: The driver *had* pulled out and was waiting for passing traffic to clear before entering the street. The skater (“moving slower than I walk” said one witness) chose to pass in front of the car (rather than going behind), tapped/grasped the hood the entire time. As he reached the driver’s side he lowered himself “gracefully” to the ground, claiming injury, and pulled out a cellphone. They also say he was lucid and talking … until medics arrived and transported him to Harborview. Officers interviewed him there and warned him that his version was at odds with those of the witnesses. They even mentioned that security footage likely recorded the scene. They asked if he wanted to amend his version of events. He did not, and is facing investigation of false reporting.

*Around 6:15 pm on the 21st, medics were sent to the 1900 block of 42nd SW where they revived a man in a parked car who had overdosed on heroin. He was transported to Harborview. Meanwhile, his female friend who called for assistance was taken into custody for an outstanding felony warrant and for a variety of needles, methamphetamine, and fake IDs in her possession.

EDITOR’S NOTES: Remember, the CRISIS CLINIC hotline is a resource for those in crisis, including thoughts or acts of self-harm, or trying to find help for someone in crisis: 206.461.3222 … Previous WSBeat roundups are archived here. We also publish crime reports when we get tips or otherwise hear about noteworthy incidents – they don’t all turn up on the scanner, so please don’t be shy about letting us know when you see/hear something happening = call or text 206-293-6302.

28 Replies to "The WSBeat: Four police-report summaries, starting with fruit theft"

  • G August 28, 2014 (1:00 pm)

    I have a large apple tree, and always leave a few blackberry vines just inside the fence for picking this time of the year. I’m always amazed at the people who trespass in my yard to pick the berries, or assume that it’s their right to harvest the apples that have fallen. And these are seemingly educated nice people. Where’s the sense of
    propriety? Is there any at all?

  • CMT August 28, 2014 (1:16 pm)

    That happened with our yellow plum tree too. We came back from a week-end away all ready to make plum jam and there wasn’t even enough for one batch :(

  • Ray August 28, 2014 (1:22 pm)

    Your comment about blackberries leads to a question I have.

    So many of my neighbors have blackberries bushes along the edge of their property that have grown out into the paved walking paths. These neighbors are not cutting these back requiring all pedestrians to have to walk off path to get around them.

    I have been going to many of these houses and cutting back these vines that are in the right of way. Is there something formal we can request/report to have these neighbors cut back their foliage that is obstructing the walking paths.

    And yes, I have asked some of the owners to do this, but must do not comply.

  • sophista-tiki August 28, 2014 (2:01 pm)

    Coming right onto private property and taking what ever you feel like seems to be a thing around here. same goes for scoping out stuff on private property that you want. For Example Dude in the big black deisel truck who tried to snatch my vintage car RIGHT OUT OF MY DRIVEWAY right in the middle of the day. Promptly followed by having the gas stolen out of my truck the following day. Again right in the driveway. Time to set some boobie traps.

  • margaritaville August 28, 2014 (2:02 pm)

    Just out of curiosity, who actually owns the parking strips – the homeowner or the City of Seattle?

    • WSB August 28, 2014 (2:43 pm)

      Marg – They are city-owned right of way but adjacent property owners have the responsibility of maintaining them, as well as the ability to use them for some things such as gardening. – TR

  • D August 28, 2014 (2:11 pm)

    I live in North Delridge and was surprised to find two teenage boys in my front yard picking my strawberries and washing off in my pond. I would have been happy to share some berries had they asked but jeesh I felt rather violated by there unauthorized entrance to my yard, their bathing in my pond and their greedy consumption of my berries :(

  • Rick August 28, 2014 (2:48 pm)

    Was the skater sporting a “My other car is a bicycle” bumper sticker? Bummer about the fruit.

  • Julia August 28, 2014 (2:53 pm)

    I noticed recently how difficult it is to pull out of parking lots along Harbor Ave., with the constant stream of bikes, skaters, etc. Wondered if there are collisions/conflicts very often.

  • Anne August 28, 2014 (3:06 pm)

    Ray- try this- I have submitted a complaint this way & they contacted property owner- it worked for me.

  • lox August 28, 2014 (3:11 pm)

    Though I find the fruit tree raping very rude, I have to wonder if that was really a crime. Parking strips are owned by the city. I don’t see any harm in someone picking one or two pieces of fruit as they pass by. (Not ALL of it, of course, but it is part of our city and part of nature.) Then again, I totally agree that it is ridiculous for anyone to think they can step onto private property to take what has been cared for and cultivated by a homeowner, and I recognize that many of us also care for and plant in our parking strips. Once a freaky neighbor asked me “Hey when is the free for all on your garden?” Um, never.

  • Just Curious August 28, 2014 (4:38 pm)

    2 questions: 1) aren’t fruit trees against city code for planting strips, and 2) since the planting strip is a public right of way wouldn’t that make anything planted on it public? If they are against code and on public property what law would have been broken that would make this a police matter? I could see property damage if they actually hurt the trees, but fruit grows back. Just curious since I know ownership of the strips has come up numerous times on this blog and as an owner of a corner lot I find the whole ownership/maintenance relationship of these strips confusing…

  • JanS August 28, 2014 (5:43 pm)

    technically, I suppose you are right, just curious, but what do you say to the people who turn their parking/planting strip into a garden. You see them all over West Seattle. Does that mean the veggies grown there belong to the public? Nope, not in my book. And what the he!! ever happened to civility, asking first? 50 lbs. of pears? Just take one and eat it, for crying out loud. Now, if they are coming into your yard and taking fruit/veggies, that’s theft, pure and simple.

  • ellenater August 28, 2014 (6:01 pm)

    Stealing people’s crop is so low!! I applaud all the parking strip gardeners, growing food in useless space. And they are so beautiful! I hope they catch those jerks!!

    And I don’t think it’s anyone’s place to crop other people’s bushes, even if they are hanging over. Just write a note for the owner and if you don’t get a response, write in about it. It’s really violating someone’s property to take it upon yourself to do that. Blackberries aside, you could be injuring their plants by pruning them improperly!!

    Blackberries in the alley are fair game though. :)

  • Lives inWS August 28, 2014 (6:18 pm)

    Just curious, the planting (yeah, that’s the official name, not parking) strips are city-owned, but that does not necessarily mean they are a public right of way, much less that what’s there can be removed by the public.

  • Just Curious August 28, 2014 (6:35 pm)

    Please reference the web site below:

    Looks like the “planting (or “parking”) strip” is a “public right-of-way”. In addition, “SDOT prohibits fruit trees because of the slipping hazard for pedestrians from fallen fruit.”

    So, since planting (or “parking”) strips are a public right-of-way AND fruit trees are prohibited by SDOT, I am failing to understand how this is a police matter. I am not posting a personal feeling either way on the subject, I am trying to understand 1) how this is a police matter, and 2) how something on city owned property could be the homeowners’ possession?

  • Alphonse August 28, 2014 (8:40 pm)

    I notice trees in the planting/parking strips with fruit on the ground rotting. At what point is it OK to pick it up? I had a pear tree on property I rented that abutted an alley and I taped a sign to it saying “please take fruit” so there wouldn’t be any question. Short of that, how do you know if it’s OK to take?

  • miws August 28, 2014 (9:37 pm)

    Alphonse, if you feel comfortable doing so, maybe knock on the door and ask. Bonus that you might make a new friend, especially if it’s in your neighborhood.



  • heather August 28, 2014 (10:43 pm)

    Last year my plum and apple trees were picked clean – both inside my yard. Really disappointing as they produce a lot of fruit that I use, share w/ the neighbor and co-workers.

    I’ve always understood that branches over the sidewalk are ok to pick from – flowers, fruit, etc. And I wouldn’t mind someone asking me if they can pick something from my yard.

  • Eric August 29, 2014 (4:24 am)

    Wow, in regards to the rollerblade story, what a POS. This is the same kind of crap they pull in Russia and it has gotten so bad that drivers now have dash cams to protect the drivers from these types of false claims. I hope the rollerblader gets punished for this stupidity and dishonesty.

    As far as picking fruit. It may be grown on technical city property and while technically it might not be illegal, it does demonstrate a serious lack of morality. I remember when I first moved into my house (in Westwood), I came home one day to see this lady picking fruits and vegetables from my neighbor’s yard. I yelled at her that that garden wasn’t hers and neither was the food she was picking and I was going to call the cops. She just looked at me, picked one more thing and non chalantly walked off. I’m amazed at the sense of entitlement people have and the ways in which it manifests itself.

  • Sandal41 August 29, 2014 (8:41 am)

    My neighbor has a fruit tree and a portion of the branches are in my yard. I have watched 4 squirrels devour the tree in 6 days. Not one single branch has any evidence fruit was ever there. Seriously amazing the way they went to work on their “harvest”

  • sam-c August 29, 2014 (9:07 am)

    I don’t know.. .fruit trees are one thing- but a vegetable garden in a planting strip? I don’t think I would ever eat any of that…. dogs. I mean when we walk our dog, we try to keep his aim on utility poles and weeds, and pull him away from others’ nice plants and flowers. But as we all know, all dog owners are different, and I would suspect the veggies grown in a planting strip have probably been peed on…

  • G August 29, 2014 (9:14 am)

    Yes, the sense of entitlement is really something to behold. One thing that amazed me when I moved to SoCal was the fact that no one was plucking orange, or lemons, or avocados from the trees than overhung sidewalks, in easy reach. You just don’t do it. I’m in favor of gleaning, if done right and respectfully. Unfortunately when I’ve let people (individuals,not any particular organization) take my mangy apples they acted like greedy wolves. So I stopped doing it and just discard the apples.

  • JW August 29, 2014 (9:46 am)

    When there’s an obvious bramble of blackberries on a steep slope far away from someone’s house growing above a sidewalk, I have absolutely no compunction about getting in there and taking as much as I want. But that’s it – just blackberries. Unless it’s a fruit tree in front of a vacant house that’s for sale…

  • fruittree August 29, 2014 (10:59 am)

    My wife and I would love clarity on the fruit tree in the parking strip issue. The bing cherry tree in front of our house overhangs the sidewalk. We are more than happy to share the cherries, although almost no one asks. Meanwhile we (try to) keep the crows and raccoons out of the tree and the fruit off the sidewalk. When I come outside and ask people to ask before they take more than a handful, I have had multiple people tell me it’s public property and they can take as much as they want (the gentleman with the german accent with 2 grocery bags full was especially annoying).

  • Betsy August 29, 2014 (11:00 am)

    I remember a story (don’t know if it was here..) a couple years ago about a city-wide map of fruit trees that maybe had extra fruit – in an effort to share it and keep it from going to waste. The map says to contact the owners first, but maybe some people think that if a tree is on the map then the fruit is up for grabs? Worth checking out, anyway:

    Also, regarding blackberries or anything else that grows over the sidewalk – yes absolutely the adjacent property owners should trim it back, and if they don’t then its free game. It’s easy for some people to walk around, but if someone has a stroller, wheelchair, or anything else on wheels its a huge pain and can be dangerous to have to go around. If the homeowner is unable to clear it away then its nice if the neighbors come together and help, but it absolutely should be cleared.

  • Ms. Picky August 29, 2014 (12:24 pm)

    G’s many comments on this blog about how safe and civil Southern California is make that area sound so enticing!

  • Susan August 29, 2014 (1:32 pm)

    Raccoon’s will strip a tree/vegetables from the garden too. My neighbor had fruit trees in her back yard that only she could access and the raccoon’s picked it clean! They ate my corn and squirrels got my apples. : (

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