West Seattle Crime Watch: Art theft; missing math homework; package prowlers

In West Seattle Crime Watch today:

ART THEFT: Artist Rebecca Woodhouse is asking you to be on the lookout for her stolen artwork. It’s an unusual theft case: She shipped 4 boxes containing 6 linocut-paintings to Ventura, California, for an art show and included the return shipping labels. The gallery didn’t tell her the work had been shipped back, and when it arrived at a mailing center here, it had someone else’s name on the labels. She says the center called that person, who then picked up the items and signed for them. She has been trying to reach that person for more than a week and since the messages have not been returned, it’s now being treated as a theft. “I was trying to give the guy the benefit of the doubt; he didn’t know what they were, took them home, works a lot, and didn’t prioritize calling the mailing center or the people who sent the boxes, but enough time went by, and with all the phone calls, it’s crossed the line to theft. The officer said it himself.” She says her name is on all of the art. We couldn’t post all the photos here so she has collected them on this page of her website as a gallery of stolen art. Let her and SPD know if you have information.

SEEN THIS MATH HOMEWORK? From another Rebecca, a car break-in report, with missing math homework:

Sometime between 5 pm Sunday and 6:45 this morning our car was broken into, and a blanket and 2 backpacks were taken from the back. One had school books, one had basic medical supplies in it (icy-hot spray and bandages for sports injuries). I am sure we left a back window open too far (it was hot!! we were tired). How they didn’t set off an alarm interests me, but so it goes.

Learning lesson, but also wishing there was a collection point for “oops, we stole some stuff that is of no use to us, so we can drop it here judgment free, since a semester of math homework probably means more to somone else than it sells for on the street.”

A police report is on file.

PACKAGE PROWLERS: The photo and report are from Patrick:

This is a photo of a package prowler I saw entering my neighbor’s yard as I was returning from work on Friday around 5:30 PM. This was on 34th between Webster and Holden in the Sunrise Heights neighborhood. The neighbor had packages and my wife had seen them driving slowly, stopping, and reversing back to the house. African American female driver, white tank top, African American male companion. Both late twenties to early forties. Car was a ’90s Chrysler or Dodge. Suspension completely blown, loud distinct rattle. Trunk appeared unlatched. Moments after posting this photo to the neighborhood FB page, another neighbor reported seeing the same car attempting to take a package before being confronted. It should be noted these people were doing this at 530, when most people are returning from work, with witnesses outside. Very brazen and most likely desperate. … Call 911 if you see suspicious behavior.

13 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Art theft; missing math homework; package prowlers"

  • Chemist June 6, 2016 (1:16 pm)

    It would be nice if the artwork were somehow located, but receiving something you didn’t order in the mail unsolicited might not constitute theft in the eyes of the postal service. I’d be interested in how prepaid return labels ended up with an incorrect name matching someone contactable by the mail service though.

  • Martina June 6, 2016 (1:47 pm)

    Rebecca –

     A “no judgment” drop off for stolen items is a GREAT idea!  Not sure how that could be implemented, though… Would it be something like a lockbox?  Where?  How do you advertise it to the thieves?

    On a personal note  -and I’m not proud of it-  if I was still in college I probably would pay top dollar for a semester’s worth of math homework.  Never did like the math arts, ugh.  :(

     Hope your items, and especially the homework, find their way back to you! 


  • Double Dub Resident June 6, 2016 (2:58 pm)

    I can’t stand these POS who feel entitled to take other people’s stuff. Worthless people in my opinion. 

  • Stan June 6, 2016 (3:13 pm)

    Chemist is right.  I’m a little troubled at the artist, SPD and WSB calling the recipient a “thief” for a package that was send to their attention.  The shipper bears the blame here.      

    • colleen June 6, 2016 (5:33 pm)

      The shipper or the shipper’s insurer will probably bear the liability if the property is not recovered. But you can’t steal someone else’s art  because a third party made a clerical error.  

  • aRF June 6, 2016 (4:48 pm)

    I too have always read that packages addressed to you are your property. Would like to know what the law actually is.

  • Kravitz June 6, 2016 (5:30 pm)

    Regarding the art case, was the work insured for the shipping? I would hope that the person who wrongfully received it would do the right thing and try to return it to you, and hopefully they’re just out of town on vacation or something… you know, the power of positive thinking here. But in any case, there should be an insured value on these works if lost, stolen, or damaged during shipment – to cover yourself in case something like this occurs. I’m crossing my fingers for you that this will end positively. 

  • Jissy June 6, 2016 (5:57 pm)

    I realize you’ve left a couple messages but perhaps the person thinks it is a gift and trying to track down the giver.  As the artist I would be pursuing it as well but people are busy and what if they haven’t even opened it yet.  Hopefully a little more time will help resolve it all.

  • Sillygoose June 7, 2016 (8:02 am)

    So I’m wondering what shipping company was used?  As there is a scam going on right now with a major delivery company that fits this criteria. 

    • WSB June 7, 2016 (8:20 am)

      Rebecca mentioned FedEx. I do not know at exactly which point along the chain the contact info was mixed up – she and I corresponded over the course of several days before I was finally able to get something up in a short window yesterday, and there were many additional details I didn’t shoehorn into this brief item, such as that it’s been three weeks now since the items were delivered/picked up, two weeks that the mailing center and Rebecca have tried to reach the person who signed for them. She was mostly hoping that reporting this publicly would help if any of her art has since been posted for sale somewhere – TR

  • Naive Much? June 8, 2016 (10:55 pm)

    I am amused by the idea that the bottom-feeders who break into cars are actually thoughtful entrepreneurs who carefully sort through the items they steal, ascertain that perhaps some of the paperwork has intrinsic personal, if not financial, value and would be motivated to travel to a location to return the items, particularly if they know they won’t be judged.  It takes a little mental effort to actually understand that other people do not think or behave like you do.  Instead of imagining a middle class mom thief, try imagining a drug addicted thief who hated school (never did math homework), has contempt for the suckers who work and have stuff,and has no concept of taking the feelings of others into account.  If they were capable of recognizing and returning math homework they would not be stealing. 

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