West Seattle Crime Watch: Vandals target decorations

4:31 PM: With two-plus weeks until Halloween, vandals went on an early rampage:

(Photo courtesy Nicole)
We’ve received multiple reports today of vandalism including pumpkins taken from doorsteps and yards and smashed in the street, and decorations (such as the headless skeleton, above) stolen and dumped, along streets both east and west of California, from at least 42nd SW to 49th SW, between roughly Hinds and Genesee. The skeleton, we’re told, has been claimed, but a few more items are still waiting to be found by their owners – Lara sent these photos of a metal pumpkin and Seahawks wreath that turned up on her block, near 42nd and Charlestown:

If you’re missing something, let us know so we can add it.

ADDED 5:44 PM: The photo and report are from Stephanie:

I wanted to add a photo to your article in regards to vandalism that occurred on Genesee Hill last night. Looks like they snatched a stroller to use for pumpkin transportation. There is a pumpkin stem in the seat. Hopefully someone will recognize this Bob stroller abandoned mid block on the west side of the street on 45th between Andover and Dakota. It is a faded lavender color.

FRIDAY P.S. Don’t miss the comments – in which the culprits are reported to have apologized.

47 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Vandals target decorations"

  • Jay @ Hill Crest October 15, 2015 (4:44 pm)

    While walking my son to school this morning (from 35th & Austin to West Seattle Elementary) I noticed a lot of sidewalk-area vandalism north of Webster. Flowers uprooted, trees broken, mailboxes smashed, etc.

    Looks like it was a rowdy night.

  • JayDee October 15, 2015 (5:44 pm)

    As someone commented: “This is why we cannot have nice things” I used to pick pumpkins to decorate the front porch until the local teens decided they were cheaper than store-bought for dropping off the Schmitz Park Bridge.

  • niner October 15, 2015 (6:15 pm)

    It’s been rowdy everywhere. Puget Ridge has seen a lot of vandalism in the last week or two.

  • Eric October 15, 2015 (6:42 pm)

    Great, and Halloween is on a Saturday this year. Bet it’s gonna be a wild one when it comes to this kind of thing

  • Panda October 15, 2015 (8:28 pm)

    Madison Middle School is in the middle of that zone. Likely kids being (destructive) kids. Bummer

  • Tracy October 15, 2015 (9:32 pm)

    Update: the stroller was ours and a boy from Madison came to our house tonight to return it and apologize for taking it along with our decorations and smashing our pumpkins. Hopefully these kids have been reprimanded and will not repeat this. A lot of stuff was stolen and damaged from our house and our neighbors. :(

  • Community Member October 15, 2015 (9:39 pm)

    One year we bought a gigantic 100-lb pumpkin and laughed hysterically at the teens who tried to steal it.

  • themightyrabbit October 15, 2015 (10:03 pm)

    This is why I gave up putting fun decorations in the front yard.

  • martin October 15, 2015 (11:27 pm)

    don’t give up!

  • cjptara October 15, 2015 (11:31 pm)

    The boys who smashed the pumpkins and took some decorations feel very bad about it; they spent the evening cleaning up the pumpkin mess on the hills and going door to door apologizing to people & offering to pay for the pumpkins and decorations. They cannot undo what they did but they are trying their best to make it better. As for the smashed mailbox and broken trees/flowers etc as mentioned above, those are unrelated incidents.

  • Rich October 16, 2015 (12:42 am)

    We lost a winged grim reaper we had up on our porch! We are on 42nd near Charlestown. Sad that folks would do this. And my kids were sad and confused as well. Also a little worisome they came all the way to our front door with our light on……

  • WSDriver October 16, 2015 (12:56 am)

    Those boys (middle schoolers, as I understand) were out pretty late. I heard the pumpkins smashing down Dakota St, and it was close to midnight. I am glad that they are trying to make amends but, hopefully, in the future they will make better choices about what to do on a school night.

  • NBPII October 16, 2015 (2:18 am)

    Please tell the boys to come clean up the smashed pumpkins from Andover

  • EmmyJane October 16, 2015 (5:09 am)

    I think we’ve all done a lot of stupid things as kids. I’m glad these kids are taking responsibility and hope they never do it again.

  • MammaC October 16, 2015 (6:57 am)

    I was assuming this mischief happens late at night. Are Middle school students being allowed to roam late nights-on week nights? Or are they sneaking out? Or is this happening at 8 pm as they walk home from practice? It sounds like they are being held accountable for their actions and that is a good thing. I’m stunned that a youth from our community would feel compelled to do this. It goes to show you that it’s purely an adolescent,lack of reasoning skill that unfortunately is a natural brain activity for this age rather than a “it must be kids coming from other neighborhoods thing” like I was reading on FB. My middle schooler who goes to Maddison enjoys the decorations and we look forward to seeing some annual displays. I would have a broken heart if my son made these choices. And yet anything is possible…. So I think I’ll have a chat with my son before he heads out to a sleepover with his buddies tonight.

  • RockHill October 16, 2015 (7:17 am)

    While not wanting to wholly disregard the initial acts of destruction, I have to say I am proud of these kids for doing the right thing in the end.

    I am sure it is embarrassing and hard for them to approach strangers and own up to what they did. This is what you are supposed to do when your emotions, frustrations, or impulses get the best of you and you make a mistake. Own up to it, apologize, and learn.

    To the parents of these kids – sometimes kids are going to do what kids are going to do, despite best efforts. Great job on having them reflect on their actions and take positive, responsible steps to make amends. Good kids sometimes do less then stellar things, and we all need to be ready to forgive and help them learn, and then move on.

  • Karen October 16, 2015 (8:11 am)

    I realize this is not a huge part of this story but the boys who came to my door to apologize are high school students, not middle school students. They appeared incredibly ashamed and wanted to do what they could to make it right.

  • RT October 16, 2015 (8:25 am)

    I agree with RockHill. Impressed that these kids owned up, cleaned up, and felt remorse. Far more mature and responsible than the adults we’ve been watching on home video and reading about re:package thefts, etc. I know what it feels like to have your decorations disappear…even sadder to see them ruined. Glad there are some kids around who are trying to make amends..guessing positive parental pressure helped too!

  • sc October 16, 2015 (8:52 am)

    My husband and I are out of town but live near Charlestown hill. I’m guessing there is pumpkin puree all down Charlestown and tonight I will hear cars struggling to get up the hill!

  • lvbebe October 16, 2015 (9:04 am)

    Kudos to their parents for teaching their kids to do the right thing. I think we have all done things in our youth that we wish we hadn’t (sure I never came close to destroying holiday decorations but I think we can all get the point) having them own up, apologize, and clean up their mess teaches them a lesson for the future and that there are consequences. I agree, good kids can sometimes do dumb things, and this is a good lesson for them to learn.

  • West Mama 2 October 16, 2015 (9:42 am)

    I met the young men apologizing for the pumpkins mess on Andover and Dakota-
    Definitely high school students and quite embarrassed about their actions. Kudos to the parents who held their feet to the fire and had them own up. You all have my respect.

  • Sad October 16, 2015 (9:44 am)

    Hi SC. There was pumpkin puree on Charlestown Hill on Monday/Tuesday but it seems to have all worn away/eaten by crows :)
    I am impressed, as well, with those minors who have owned up to these acts.

  • cjptara October 16, 2015 (9:46 am)

    NBPII, The boys did clean up the pumpkins on Andover hill and the surrounding areas yesterday afternoon. If there are more pumpkins there today, I guarantee you that is due to an unrelated incident. (And every further smashed pumpkin for the rest of the season, for that matter!)

    sc- Actually, believe it or not, they did not throw them down Charlestown hill! (Although somebody does that every year, I know!)

    Thank you all for your understanding- this is absolutely a case of good kids making bad decisions. The boys will be out again later trying to connect with more of the people who might have been affected by this, people who were not home yesterday when they stopped by.

  • Neighbor October 16, 2015 (10:09 am)

    I don’t feel like commending these boys for coming forward. It is what they should do at a minimum to start to make amends for the property damage, vandalism, hurting families who worked hard to make something and decorate their homes.

  • Vicki October 16, 2015 (10:41 am)

    I appreciate the efforts by the boys and their families to set things right. Our block — 44th Ave SW, between Hanford and Stevens Streets — endured numerous pranks including having construction materials left on porches while having decorations stolen. If any of the boys would like to apologize to my little kids for taking their bales of straw and dumping them all over another neighbor’s porch, I know they would be all ears (and would learn from the boys’ example). I’d add that many of us pulled pranks as kids, but I will tell you, looking out the window to check on a noise and seeing people in dark hoodies running around houses and parked cars at 1 am is very unnerving, I hope kids will make good choices because no prank is worth getting mistaken for a prowler or thief. Be careful out there, neighbors. Happy Halloween.

  • Lindsey October 16, 2015 (11:03 am)

    SC, I live on the Charlestown hill and my husband was out yesterday trying to clean up as much as he could of the pumpkin mess, just for that very reason (in addition to the mess of pumpkin on my car). I was out picking up some pieces as well the day before. I get that it might be fun to roll the pumpkins down the hill, so perhaps there is an opportunity for an organized event instead.

    I have to say, these kids are darn lucky that they were not turned in to police for vandalism. It is great they are now taking responsibility, but how about just not being destructive citizens in the first place.

  • leslie October 16, 2015 (12:53 pm)

    We live very close to the Fiddlehead Cafe and our area has also experienced vandalism in the last week. Yesterday, I discovered that the realtor’s box holding the flyers for our condo had been smashed into pieces.

    Last weekend someone(s) also smashed in one of the front windows of Fiddlehead and tried to jimmy open the garage door at our condo building. Don’t know if this is the work of gang members or is related to the Halloween specific antics.

  • Jacob October 16, 2015 (1:11 pm)

    You neighbors seem to be a lot more forgiving of property damage than I would be.

  • NeighborMama October 16, 2015 (1:54 pm)

    The police should also be commended for their role in this situation. The three teenagers were caught in the act near Hanford and 44th around 12:30 that night. We watched as some pumpkins in the boys’ possession were returned to a nearby house and the boys were taken into a police vehicle.

  • Tom October 16, 2015 (2:08 pm)

    Those kids should have been reported to the police. Vandalism is crime and based on the comments, sounds as if it could be a class C felony based on the aggregate damages.

  • Neighbor October 16, 2015 (2:56 pm)

    Yes but these kids still apologized to everyone they could it seems like, and that’s a very hard thing to do. We all already know that they made a mistake and by the sound of it they won’t again. To keep saying how “bad” of an act they committed isn’t going to help anyone.

  • Cjptara October 16, 2015 (2:58 pm)

    And the boys only went out that one night. Nothing about a hay bale or construction sign were mentioned at all, that might have been another group of teens. (As we know there are many around here)

  • curtis October 16, 2015 (3:29 pm)

    Glad they apologized. Testosterone short circuits the brain. However, @cjptara – how do you know the boys only went out that one night? Of course that is what they would say. They might have been out again the next night, doing their smashing of pumpkins, etc. had it not been for the police catching them in the act. I doubt they would be out apologizing if they had not been caught. I agree with the comment by NeighborMama when she said that the police should also be commended for their role in this situation. The three teenagers were caught in the act near Hanford and 44th around 12:30 that night. We watched as some pumpkins in the boys’ possession were returned to a nearby house and the boys were taken into a police vehicle.

  • Neighbor October 16, 2015 (5:52 pm)

    I think to keep on saying that this was a bad act is the very thing they need to hear. If they get to hear how much they upset everyone they caused havoc and vandalism too perhaps they might get a clue. I’m thinking there should be some law enforcement results to make them think hard about what they did, community service and for deterrence. Btw, there are 2 “neighbor” commenting here and we don’t sound like we are on the same page.

  • Neighbor October 16, 2015 (5:53 pm)

    I don’t think embarrassment is enough of a punishment.

  • Not totally forthcoming October 16, 2015 (6:23 pm)

    Unfortunately we were the ones whose Seahawks wreath and flag were stolen. Obviously the wreath looks like trash now and the boys obviously did not tell their parents everything they did or took. A bit disconcerting to have heavy footsteps running up and down your porch at 12:30 at night as well as your kids disappointed that their favorite team’s flag was taken. Disappointed fellas. You can do better.

  • Not Totally Forthcoming October 16, 2015 (8:48 pm)

    I was just visited by two young men who were part of the group who stole from us. They discussed what they did, what they thought about afterward, and how they are trying to make it right. I appreciate your trying to explain, fellas. Despite what you and your group did you seem like articulate, thoughtful kids. Please do better. Please care about your actions. Please care about yourself and focus on positive goals for your future. Understand the impact you have on others from your intentions and actions. Good luck, fellas.

  • WS5 October 16, 2015 (9:06 pm)

    I know young good kids do bad things at times but really by high school, 14 to 18 year olds they knew these acts were wrong before they started or continued to vandalize more than one house. I know I live in fear everyday that someone might break in our home while we are away at work. Many home break ins are done by high school aged kids is it okay if they tear apart someones home then go bad when they get caught to apologize how does that make it better went the person who was victimized will never feel safe again?

  • watcher October 17, 2015 (10:58 am)

    I saw the boys around midnight. I yelled at them from my porch as i witnessed them steal a pumpkin and hurl it, along with another from the stroller, down Andover. I immediately called cops. I am not going to ignore or be scared by bad things. The boys were giggling as they ran off. Take back your nieghborhood, dont be afraid. Parents….dont let your kids run amuck late at night and teach them “do unto others as you would have then do unto you.” Thanks.

  • Lara October 17, 2015 (1:50 pm)

    @Not Totally Forthcoming
    If you’d like your wreath back, just let me know and we’ll drop it off.

  • Beth October 17, 2015 (5:09 pm)

    Wow Tracy. I have to say that’s good news you got your stroller back, but let’s hear for the kid who actually apologized and took accountability. I know a lot of adults who wouldn’t even do that. Hope it was a lesson learned!

  • christinimcb October 17, 2015 (8:46 pm)

    my 6 year old was in tears to discover her ‘most favorite pumpkins ever’ were missing from our porch AND then to see them smashed on the corner! she was very sad to think that someone(s) would do such a thing!

  • Dave October 19, 2015 (9:56 am)

    These boys have not yet knocked on our door, or offered to pay for the stolen pumpkins. They owe us $32 and an apology to our son and daughter.

  • Dave October 19, 2015 (10:11 am)

    In reading these comments, a large number of you are “proud” of these boys for doing the “right thing” by knocking on a few doors and saying sorry.

    This is BS. First of all, the only reason they are saying sorry is because they were caught. If they got away with it, they’d still be laughing. Secondly, they didn’t apologize or repay nearly everyone affected. We weren’t contacted, nor were our neighbors.

    Given that they were apprehended by the police, what were the legal consequences? This was easily over $1000 in damages. How much prison time are they looking at?

    • WSB October 19, 2015 (10:48 am)

      If any of the victims have a police incident #, I can ask for the report to find out if they were arrested, interviewed and released, or what. The only direct reports we ever got on this were the ones in the original story – all the other reports about apologies and police involvement have come via comments, and I haven’t been able to match anything on the police Tweets by Beat log to the vicinities that have been described. – TR

  • cjptara October 19, 2015 (11:10 am)

    Dave, the boys have tried several times to contact everyone; unfortunately they have not been able to reach everyone. You do not know that this is BS- you also do not know that they are only saying they are sorry because they were caught. They are actually not evil kids. If you give your general vicinity &/or describe your house (since I’m sure you don’t want to put your address on here) the boys will come talk to you and repay you damages ASAP. I seriously can’t believe your comment about wanting to see these boys in prison!

  • Nason October 19, 2015 (11:22 am)

    @Dave: I second the comment by cjptara. These boys are being held accountable by their families. They know they need to make restitution. They’ve been through the neighborhood at least three times trying to contact the homes which they know that they affected. Let the families know on this blog generally where your house is, and the families will ensure the boys make reparations for their deeds.

Sorry, comment time is over.