West Seattle Crime Watch: Stolen bicycle; stolen car; mail theft; suspicious person who ‘danced and lit his pipe’

Four West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports this morning:

STOLEN BICYCLE: That bike’s owner says it was stolen last night around 9:45 pm:

My bike (which happens to be my primary means of transportation) was stolen on the 42XX block of Admiral Way. It was locked to a bike rack in front of Vidiot (a small bar). A report has been filed with the police who drove around for a bit in search of the property. I saw the man ride away but unfortunately could not keep up with him. He was wearing street clothes, had a backpack, and had medium length curly hair. … The police mentioned that stolen bikes are typically ditched after a joy ride or end up in a pawn shop. I’m hoping that if someone sees the bike they can alert the police.

(added) STOLEN CAR: Got word of this just after we publishing this roundup, so we’re adding:

My car was stolen from in front of my house. On 40th Ave SW between Brandon and Findlay. 1994 Honda Accord LX, black with plates AFV7888. Has a sticker like this one on the right side back bumper, maybe a different color. I think I had a Sierra Club sticker in back window, or WTA sticker.

MAILBOX BREAK-IN: From a Highland Park resident:

I just wanted to let you know that we had our mailbox, which is a sturdy locked box, broken into. It looks like they used something to bend the metal, dislodging the locking mechanism. Mail was taken and discarded on the side of our property- I guess they didn’t want our medical bill or mortgage statement :) This happened this weekend while we were out of town. We live on the corner of 17th and Cloverdale.

SUSPICIOUS PERSON: In the 4400 block of 39th SW last night:

We had to call the police … At 10:00 pm, there was a man smoking either crack or meth on our front lawn. He knocked on my door and asked for water. When we asked him to leave, he danced and lit his pipe. We called 911. The police came but said they could not arrest him. They said they would monitor his activity.

ABOUT READER REPORTS: SPD does not routinely make public the detailed reports of most incidents – so unless we get a reader report or happen to cover an incident as it happens, we won’t hear about it, but it’s often helpful for your West Seattle neighbors to know what’s happening and where (not just your block – a stolen car, bike, etc., could turn up miles away). We hope you WON’T ever have anything to report, but if you do, editor@westseattleblog.com … provided you’ve already reported it to the police. For breaking news, 206-293-6302, text or voice, 24/7; thank you!

17 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Stolen bicycle; stolen car; mail theft; suspicious person who 'danced and lit his pipe'"

  • audrey March 25, 2015 (10:16 am)

    I have a question for the WSB reporting staff — is what feels like an increase in “activity” consistent in all of Seattle or is West Seattle more vulnerable. I don’t have perspective on this and wonder if you do. Thanks so much.

    • WSB March 25, 2015 (11:11 am)

      Audrey, we report on that often … it rises and falls. The only type of crime in which WS has spiked so far this year is robbery, though, maybe because of recent arrests, it’s dropped off the radar again.

  • I. Ponder March 25, 2015 (11:37 am)

    I think it’s informative and beneficial to others to know what the bike was locked with. I’m guessing this is another case of a cheap braided wire cable lock being used to lock an expensive bike. Braided wire cable locks get cut all the time with a cable cutter that can fit in the thief’s pocket. Bike shops should stop selling such garbage. While anything can be cut with the right tool, a hardened steel U-lock requires an industrial tool to cut. Please help others from becoming victims by providing this info.

  • shipwrecked_and_comatose March 25, 2015 (1:07 pm)

    Actually, Ponder, it’s possible to quickly disable a hardened steel u-lock using a can of Freon and a hammer, both of which are easy to obtain. How do I know this? I had my bike stolen from the UW campus in this manner back in the 90s. The thief left behind the broken lock and the Freon can. The UW police actually laughed out loud at my request to have them try to track the bike down. I’ve seen recommendations that folks use both u-lock and cable, I guess simply to slightly complicate things for the thief.

  • Shed March 25, 2015 (1:07 pm)

    I live close to 24th & Cloverdale and my letterbox has been broken into twice in the last 12 months. It’s a sturdy, locked version as well.

  • I. Ponder March 25, 2015 (1:20 pm)

    agreed anything can be broken given the right tools but would you agree that cable is the worst choice for an expensive bike? These are crimes of opportunity. Why make it easy?

  • John March 25, 2015 (1:26 pm)

    Increase prison time to 25 years. You steal and you go to jail. Will you risk it knowing you’ll go to jail for 25 years. This is getting out of hand…. oh…or cut off their hand?
    Or….we create a situation like the movie “Escape form New York”. Just toss all criminals on a walled in island and let then fend for themselves. No assistance from the outside world.

  • sophista-tiki March 25, 2015 (2:44 pm)

    An insight about crime in the rest of the city. , It sucks everywhere. I spent the night on top of QA last night in one of those mansions on top of the hill and my truck was prowled in the middle of the night while parked in the driveway. some distance from the street. Just like being at home!

  • mrsMarty March 25, 2015 (5:45 pm)

    In regards to the dancing crack smoking person… I don’t understand why the police couldn’t arrest him…wasn’t he trespassing, using an illegal drug, (or maybe because it was all gone when they arrived) drunk and or under the influence in public?
    Wasn’t all of that good cause too?

  • Dinoco March 25, 2015 (8:02 pm)

    MrsMarty, I thought the same exact thing!

  • Zanda March 25, 2015 (8:56 pm)

    I’m wondering if the dancer with the pipe is the same character who was all lit up on a 55 bus coming back from downtown earlier yesterday evening.

  • Doober206 March 25, 2015 (9:23 pm)

    MrsMarty, because knocking on a door and walking away is not illegal. Even in Weet Seattle.

  • Craig March 25, 2015 (9:35 pm)

    John, I agree that I’d like to see those that commit crimes off the streets, but research shows that longer prison sentences don’t deter crime, in appears to only cost taxpayers more money. It probably deters those of us that are high functioning cooperative citizens with lots to lose, but not for those are are in the demographic that don’t have much to lose. I’m with you, totally. I wish we could find a functioning motivator to stop folks that do this.

    Interesting point from the Pew research org:
    “An analysis of data from three states—Florida, Maryland, and Michigan—found little or no evidence that longer prison terms for many nonviolent offenders produced either incapacitation or deterrence effects. That is, the extra time behind bars neither prevented crimes during the period of incarceration nor kept offenders from committing crimes once released from prison.”


  • Eric1 March 25, 2015 (11:46 pm)

    U-locks aren’t that great either. Even easier to defeat with a Bic pen.

    I agree that criminals are unlikely to be reformed in jail. However, while they are in jail, they can’t do crime on the outside. Most criminals probably average average better than a crime a year so an additional year of incarceration is likely to reduce crime.
    I read the simplified blurb on the link and I would take that with a grain of salt. They cited 3 states showed no effect of prison. What about the other 47 states? By normal statistics, you expect 5% of the samples to differ from the norm just by random chance. Five percent of 50 is 2.5, which is close enough to 3.
    If they truly only studied those 3 states, then that is a pretty small sample size that you would try to extrapolate national trends on. Sounds like someone is trying to push an agenda by cherry picking.

  • I. Ponder March 26, 2015 (11:33 am)


    That is an outdated obsolete lock design that is no longer sold. Design was changed after the Bic pen video was revealed. Heavy duty U-locks are much harder to break than cable locks. Most thieves will not bother with U-locks because there are plenty of cable locked bikes for easy harvest. Wish one of the WS bike shop owners would chime in on this. We still don’t know how this particular stolen bike was locked but I’m betting it wasn’t with a heavy-duty U-lock.

  • GuyWithNoBike March 26, 2015 (10:37 pm)

    Some follow up on the bike (from the owner):

    The bike showed up for sale on the “OfferUp” app, listed by the user “Jirish”. Apparently it already sold. This guy has a ton of bikes for sale and I’m assuming they are all stolen. I informed the police so hopefully they will follow up.

    It was locked with a U-Lock, looked like a leverage attack.

    I did have the serial number and proof of registration filed with my insurance company and they are already processing a payment for replacement. If you own a bike I highly recommend providing your insurance company with serial number and proof of ownership, if you haven’t already. If you can’t provide this after the fact it could be difficult to get any sort of compensation.

    • WSB March 26, 2015 (10:43 pm)

      Sorry to hear it’s found but perhaps out of reach. Police did make a big stolen-bike bust last week (outside WS but we published the link to photos they had of what they found) and perhaps lightning will strike twice. Thanks for sharing important advice. – TR

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