West Seattle Crime Watch: Hit-and-run ‘tree trimmer’; plus, twice-prowled truck

Two West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports today. The first one, a tale of hit-and run from Tim McConnell:


Last night around 12:40, on the corner of Hanford and Belvidere, someone decided to remove the speed limit sign that was in the parking strip in front of our house. They also decided to trim our trees and some of our shrubs. The problem is, we didn’t ask them to, and they did it with their car.

After I picked up a bunch of the car parts they left behind, obviously as a way to pay us for our damaged landscaping, I did some research on those parts, and learned they used a dark blue 1999-2002 Land Rover. Now, me personally, would have just used a regular shovel and hedge trimmers, but I guess they were pressed for time and figured one quick pass through our yard at high speed should do they trick. It was effective, as the sign was taken completely out of the ground, concrete post and all. The tree trimming was less than professional, as they removed the top of one tree and just pushed over the other. The second tree had already been trimmed that way by a previous “auto landscaper” and somehow survived. This time, I am not so sure I can revive it.

As my wife and I work every day (yes, every day – our last day off was Jan 1st, our next will be Easter – small business owners), we do not have the time, nor the resources, to replace our damaged plants. We would really like it if the vehicles owner (or the person they let drive it) would come fix the damage they caused. If they could come replant what they destroyed and pick up all the plastic and glad they left, we would really appreciate it. We love our yard, but we don’t have the time to spend on it like we used to.

We would also like to find out of anyone has a few big rocks they would like to get rid of. We have a couple of spots in our yard where trees used to be that could use a more sturdy landscape material. One that can’t be “trimmed or moved” by late night, high speed, amateur yard maintenance.

The car should be easy to spot – it’s most likely a 1999-2002 dark blue Land Rover Discovery, or possibly a Range Rover, with massive damage to the passenger side front end. It is definitely missing a headlamp and fog light, and the trim for the fog light, as well as the plastic quarter panel around the wheel well, and a mud guard. If you are the owner or know the owner, please contact us through the Blog.

The “small business” he mentioned is West Seattle Runner, a longtime WSB sponsor, owned by Tim and wife Lori McConnell.

Also today:

HIT BY CAR PROWLER(S) TWICE: Sheryl reports, “In the last two weeks, my husband’s Chevrolet Silverado has been broken into twice. He typically parks on California Ave between Manning & Spokane streets (3600 block). While nothing of value has been taken, and they were kind enough not to break the windows, I wanted to let others in the neighborhood know so they could be vigilant and not leave valuables in their cars. ” Car prowling remains a top West Seattle crime issue, as reiterated at last night’s WS Crime Prevention Council meeting.

26 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Hit-and-run 'tree trimmer'; plus, twice-prowled truck"

  • jkp March 16, 2016 (5:21 pm)

    on my way to wshs this morning, i was driving up hanford and noticed the downed sign. i appreciate your humor in dealing with an obnoxious event that clearly has impact to your private property. i hope that you’ve impressed upon the blog’s readership to help you ferret out the culprit.

    thanks for all you guys do for the community. no one, small business owner, or property owner, should have to deal with things like this, but what helps us to stomach it easier is people who help to right other people’s wrongs.

  • anothervictimofautolandscaping March 16, 2016 (5:35 pm)

    Well my older (95) Range Rover, dark metallic blue,  most certainly _wasn’t_ the Land Rover performing the landscaping, it has squarer panels and plastic.    Living on a corner also in the Admiral District, I’ve witnessed so many auto landscaping attempts before I added trees and rocks.   So….rocks rock for vehicle, sign and property protection.

  • Matt S. March 16, 2016 (5:50 pm)

    I feel bad for Tim and appreciate his reporting style.

  • Tim McConnell March 16, 2016 (5:54 pm)

    Got to work today and the car we narrowed it down to is parked across the street! A blue Land Rover missing a head lamp and parking light, as well as a piece of the quarter panel. Called SPD to let them know, I assume someone will want their car back.
    Weird how things work out!

    Tim and Lori.

    • KM March 16, 2016 (6:16 pm)

      Keep us posted! Hope this gets squared away.

    • JanS March 17, 2016 (12:18 am)

      Hallelujah….sometimes good Karma does it’s work ! Now…any future incidents? Tomorrow being Mar.17th, I offer you this…

      The Traveler’s Curse After Misdirection

      from the Welsh)

      May they stumble, stage by stage
      On an endless Pilgrimage
      Dawn and dusk, mile after mile
      At each and every step a stile
      At each and every step withal
      May they catch their feet and fall
      At each and every fall they take
      May a bone within them break
      And may the bone that breaks within
      Not be, for variations sake
      Now rib, now thigh, now arm, now shin
      but always, without fail, the NECK 

  • anothervictimofautolandscaping March 16, 2016 (6:10 pm)

    btw all the rocks I obtained for my landscaping on the planting strip came from what is now calportland.com on west marginal way just south of spokane street on the left hand side.   The rocks came very cheap and they lift them directly into a pickup.   

  • Kravitz March 16, 2016 (6:14 pm)

    Keep us posted, Tim! Would love to know how this pans out since it was a hit and run, if indeed that is the suspect vehicle you spotted. They should be held accountable for the damage they’ve done.

  • Brenda March 16, 2016 (6:37 pm)

    That’s so awesome you found those jerks! We are selling big rocks soon and were your neighbors/customers. 

  • Hey it's nice out toda! March 16, 2016 (7:32 pm)

    There’s also a downed pedestrian crossing sign off on Fairmount and Hanford. Related? 

    • Tim March 16, 2016 (7:56 pm)

      No, that was down earlier in the week. Not sure how that came down.

  • chemist March 16, 2016 (7:36 pm)

    I’m sorry to hear about the damage and glad to hear you’ve got some good leads being worked.  You should be careful about adding boulders, though, as there’s a reason that mail boxes next to a roadway are required to be break-away and a large boulder could run afoul of placing a fixed object in the right of way (there are setback requirements and permits for many planting strip activities  http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/cams/CAM2304.pdf ).

    • chemist March 16, 2016 (7:58 pm)

      It was in CAM2305 that I learned that I couldn’t plant trees within 30 ft of the intersection on my corner lot  (2′ height maximum) and there’s even codes about planting strip plantings within 10′ of your own driveway.  Kind of aggravating, but WSB gets plenty of comments about street trees blocking views of stop signs, etc and so I leave my planting strip as it is, for now.

  • Eric1 March 16, 2016 (8:11 pm)

    I am assuming leaving the scene is a DUI avoidance tactic.  Probably walked home after wondering why the car was acting funny (well different than a normal Land Rover).  Good to hear that it will probably work out for you.  You have all the evidence that an insurance company requires for a claim.  Just make sure you file a police report since they usually have to reference an accident report.   

  • Ducky March 16, 2016 (8:25 pm)

    Love the reporting style Tim, and the karma that brought the Land Rover to park across the street from your business. Oopsy!

  • Kay K March 16, 2016 (9:45 pm)

    Tim you made our evening. Thank you for your terrific perspective on life. We are not athletic in any way, but if we were we would be sure to patronize your small business! :)

  • Tim March 16, 2016 (11:08 pm)

    Thanks for all the support and great advice about adding rocks. Makes me rethink all the ideas I came up with last night after the indecent. They got more creative and elaborate as the night wore on. I can cancel the steel and concrete I thought I was going to need.

    We are waiting for SPD to contact the owner of the car we think was involved. They seem to think it is the vehicle parked by our store. 

    We will keep you posted as we get more info.

    Thanks,  Tim and Lori. 

  • WSince86 March 17, 2016 (7:13 am)

    Excellent detective work, Tim!

    Kay K, I am not a runner, do walk a lot, they let me in the store!  Truly, they have a great selection of foot wear for us non-athletic types, too. Check them out some time.  

  • John March 17, 2016 (7:52 am)

    @Tim….  Did the police even bother to show up?  Unless someone is hurt you may never hear from them.


    I agree with Chemist.  Placing large rocks for the purpose of stopping/damaging a vehicle can get you in trouble, specially if you hurt someone.  

  • Katherine March 17, 2016 (8:09 am)

    Tim and Lori, you do so much awesome good for WS, let us return the favor by giving you a hand with the clean-up.  My garden gloves and I are ready to go…


  • anothervictimofautolandscaping March 17, 2016 (1:53 pm)

    @chemist, @tim, @john 

    Thanks for all the concerns, which are valid, but, almost hinting at breaking Seattle laws, so…to clarify.

    I worked with the city directly to get permits for planting trees in the correct locations and to be of the correct species for approval per the city arborist and also for the rocks to be placed with appropriate setback.   Nothing I did breaks any of the city laws.     Note that trees can be installed that are of any age; I purchased 7 year old Newport plums (from a tree farm) at the time with approx 3 inch diameter which never grow above a certain height conforming to the city rules.  No-one has hit those trees yet directly, except box trucks brushing against them.

    I had another friend who also lived on an arterial, downhill on a corner who had cars come off the road out of control, destroy his fences and eventually his entire garage, and had multiple of his vehicles destroyed, which prompted me to institute some minimal level of protection against the drunks and idiots.   I’ve also had many vehicles of my own totalled by drunks regardless of the other planting strip work I’ve done, so, you know, living on the arterial has it’s good and bad aspects.  

    To the original victims, my truck is available if you need help making repairs, I feel for you guys and sympathize completely.

  • chemist March 17, 2016 (2:25 pm)

    Anothervictim, the first step to not breaking Seattle codes is to know they exist in the first place (how I wish sidewalks were cleared to 6 ft, let alone the 8 ft height required).  Codes also change over time, so what may have been OK 8 years ago might be against the codes currently.  The form of the story was amusing, for sure, but it’s also an opportunity to remind the community what’s currently in the code books, particularly before people start ordering boulders they’d have trouble moving later.

  • Eric1 March 17, 2016 (3:44 pm)

    Honestly sir, those glacial erratics were  always there. I think that the original contractor didn’t want to pay for removal. I have these digital pictures from 1928 and see, there they are:) 


    To be totally honest, current barrier technology uses movable heavy objects that dissipate energy. Thus multiple large clay/plastic pots (Costco+ size) filled with soil can make a good barrier. It is also not “fixed” so no imperial entanglements. Of course you could claim the large bathtub sized planter is technically “movable” with a forklift.

  • valvashon March 17, 2016 (7:27 pm)

    Noticed that the Range Rover in question was still parked across the street from West Seattle Runner this afternoon.  Clearly fresh damage, clearly the offending vehicle.  Doors are locked, ignition doesn’t look broken.  Driver’s side door lock does look a bit bent up.  This could be a stolen and dumped vehicle.  However, the Range Rover is a close cousin to the new MINIs that we have in our family; MINIs have an anti-theft device in the key so even if you get in and break the lock cylinder or turn it with a key of some sort they will not start unless the anti-theft device is detected.  There’s really no way of quickly hotwiring these vehicles so they can’t really steal them unless you have a key.  The Range Rovers may be the same way; if so it means that somebody who had access to a real key (and not car theft tools) was driving this vehicle when it did the damage.  If you find out the exact model and year of this vehicle it should not be hard to determine if there is an anti-theft device in the key.

    • WSB March 17, 2016 (7:39 pm)

      I thought maybe Tim would comment here but since he hasn’t – he has made contact with the driver, he said, and they’re going to fix the damage.

  • Ben March 17, 2016 (10:43 pm)

    I’ve got a bunch of large landscaping rocks you are welcome to have. Reply with contact info.

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