CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Westwood Village burglary suspects charged

(WSB photo, February 17)

The two men arrested after a multiple-business break-in at Westwood Village almost two weeks ago are now charged. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed second-degree burglary charges against Rafael S. Meyers and Jerry S. Plute Jr., both 34 years old. Both have been out of custody since the day after their arrests; as we reported that night, a judge declined prosecutors’ request to set bail.

Charging documents say both have substantial criminal records – three felony theft convictions for Meyers and “seven pending cases, all reflective of similar behavior, including three pending Burglary 2 charges.” We covered one of those cases last May, in which Meyers was charged with burglarizing Peel & Press in Morgan Junction. Plute has no felony convictions but court documents list eight criminal misdemeanors including vehicle prowling, possession of stolen property, and drug possession. The charging documents for the Westwood Village break-in detail what we’ve previously reported – the two are alleged to have broken into the empty ex-Fresh Vitamins space, then smashed through walls to get into Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor) and Sport Clips. An alarm was triggered, and police got there in time to arrest Meyers quickly; Plute was found on the roof a few hours later, with SWAT on hand because a handgun had been stolen from one of the businesses so police believed he might be armed. The charging documents say that after the arrests, police found the handgun in the vacant store space along with items taken from Wyatt’s, plus handgun and shotgun ammunition and burglary tools. The two are due in court for arraignment March 10th.

35 Replies to "CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Westwood Village burglary suspects charged"

  • Peel and Press March 1, 2021 (9:26 pm)

    So glad to see our good buddy Rafael out victimizing other businesses.  If he would have been locked up for either of the two burglaries he was charged with, but has yet to stand trial for, We wouldn’t  be out a bunch of money.  If he would have been held after being charged with the burglary of our restaurant, these 3 businesses wouldn’t be victims. Also, they wouldn’t had risked an encounter with SPD SWAT.  This is dangerous behavior and leaving a trail of victims in his wake. 

  • Sue March 1, 2021 (9:32 pm)

    I agree, Peel & Press. I know you have contributed a lot to the community (plus you make damn good pizza), and it sucks that Rafael and other sleazebags commit these crimes and are free to commit more.

  • 1994 March 1, 2021 (9:33 pm)

    The two are due in court for arraignment March 10th.” If they fail to appear, what then, are warrants  issued for their arrest? These 2 deserve their day in court but they sure are costing us all a LOT of money with their poor behaviors and poor choices.  Caught in the act, by SWAT no less, but released….

    • WSB March 1, 2021 (9:39 pm)

      Theoretically warrants would be issued. That, I believe, is also up to the judge.

  • Mj March 1, 2021 (10:31 pm)

    And the sad sagga continues, catch and release, catch and release.  Maybe some old fashioned jail time with work details so they can pay restitution to the victims.  

    • Derek March 2, 2021 (8:02 am)

      It worries me how many west Seattle residents are just okay with people being put in cages over petty crimes. You think this guy’s life is all fun and games? Probably isn’t. I know stealing is wrong but there has to be a better way than jail otherwise no one would commit crimes after being in jail. We know that’s not the case. It doesn’t work. 

      • WScitizen March 2, 2021 (11:39 am)

        Derek, continuous arrests for burglary aren’t ‘petty crimes’.  I think it’s outrageous that these career criminals are out on their own recognizance.  Willing to place a bet that they never show for their hearing.  Who’s the judge that didn’t lock them up before trial?  They won’t be getting my vote.

      • Sam March 2, 2021 (2:07 pm)

        It does work. It keeps them off the streets, not committing other crimes.

      • Alex S. March 2, 2021 (3:58 pm)

        Derek, petty crimes do not involve handguns and (apparently) shotguns.   Please stop enabling dangerous, repeat criminals.  By excusing their actions, you are doing just as much damage to them as they are doing to society.  Furthermore, the money and items these guys are taking from others is being used to buy drugs from violent local street gangs, and hyper-violent international cartels.  The mass killings they carry out are about as far from “petty crimes” as you get. 

  • Calm Down March 2, 2021 (4:25 am)

    Is everyone here suggesting that we do away with the presumption of innocence that exists in our legal system?  The alternative to what you’re calling “catch and release” is to lock up everyone suspected of crimes until their cases are resolved.  This would include people who really are innocent, or were acting in self-defense, or a number of mitigating circumstances that shouldn’t cost someone their freedom (and probably also their jobs, and housing, and custody of kids) for months on end.  Not to mention how that would disproportionately affect minorities who the police have a long history of accusing of crimes they had no involvement.  Instead of just complaining, maybe try explaining how you would rebuild the justice system to fix the issue, that doesn’t require mass incarceration of a bunch of people who didn’t do anything wrong.

    • John March 2, 2021 (6:56 am)

      Calm down, Calm Down.These comments are directed at these career criminals. 

    • Pete March 2, 2021 (7:06 am)

      I agree completely Calm Down. But in this case one of the individuals in question has 7, yes count then SEVEN, pending cases and three of them for the exact same thing. Seems to be a pattern here of not so innocent behavior. Or could they all be mistaken identity or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I think a situation like this is not the sort of thing you are referring to in your comment. 

    • Tyr1001 March 2, 2021 (7:17 am)

      I believe what these people are angry about are criminals, caught red handed, with a history of similar destructive behavior they have been convicted for, of being released nearly immediately with little or no consequences. I doubt they smashed through a wall and burglarized a jewelry store in self defense or any other defensible reason, and they have proven that if allowed to go free they will continue to victimize others. Seems like a reasonable thing to be upset about. . . 

    • T3 March 2, 2021 (7:32 am)

      Caught in the act. This is a prime example of system that is broken. They stole from Peel and Press and they are out stealing from business after business until they await trial. I understand your point, but do see the damage being done to our community while we wait for our system to work when they have been caught in the act several times now?

    • Will S. March 2, 2021 (7:39 am)

      Calm Down, I’m inclined to agree with your sentiments about pretrial detention, and I’ve posted similar blog comments before. But I find it impossible in this case to muster any sort of defense of the system. One does not need to rebuild the justice system to believe that (1) it shouldn’t have taken 2 weeks just to charge two guys caught in the act of straightforwardly committing crimes, and (2) one of these guys should have stood trial by now for the offenses he was caught committing ten months ago. People who commit serious crimes (and these break-down-the-walls burglaries are serious) should be punished.

      • wscommuter March 2, 2021 (3:33 pm)

        Will S. – actually, it does take 2 weeks to charge cases like this precisely because there are so many cases that are created daily by arrests in King County.  Police do their job – make arrests and send case files to the King County Prosecutor’s Office for filing charges and KCPO has half a dozen or so prosecutors who do nothing but file these kinds of cases every day – there is simply a backlog of cases to be reviewed and have filing decisions made.  Candidly, I’m a bit surprised they got to this particular case within just two weeks.  Like other aspects of County government, KCPO has seen its budget cut in recent years and fewer prosecutors available to do this work.   Its just math.   

        • Will S. March 2, 2021 (10:12 pm)

          Thanks, Commuter. It turns out that the defendant has to be arraigned within 14 days the filing of the information. I haven’t seen the charging document, but I sure hope this was one of the easier charging decisions KCPO had on whatever day they got to it: Burglary 2, Malicious Mischief 1, move on to the next one.

    • WSneighbor March 2, 2021 (7:42 am)

      Ok, I’ll give it a try. How about if you are caught in the act literally, your presumption of innocence is waived until the trial, to protect the rest of society from your building-smashing, thieving, gun toting self. And if you don’t like it, don’t break into buildings and steal stuff and you won’t have to go to jail. How about if YOU  quit making excuses for scumbags like these.

      • here comes the sun March 2, 2021 (10:25 am)

        That’s still problematic though. I know this is a highly unlikely scenario, but just for the sake of argument, imagine if this person had been forced into these actions by threat to his life, and he felt he didn’t have another choice but to break into these stores and steal. For example, the other person involved insisted he help him or he would shoot him. Would you feel the same? Also, would you assume the police response and reporting be relied upon in every situation, without any question?

        There is a difference of measure when it comes to crime. Things like business break ins, and stealing mail, while definitely impactful and not okay, is not the same as violent crime. Would you treat them as the same?

        I feel for the businesses and individuals who are impacted by these crimes. And, I also feel for these mens souls. Look at this mans face, I see a lot of pain.

    • Mike V March 2, 2021 (7:54 am)

      I feel like these two have actually done a lot of wrong. I can only imagine the cost in damage and lost revenue to these already hurting businesses. Factor in the graffiti vandalism, a few stolen cars to get from crime to crime, the cost and danger to surrounding citizens of bringing the swat team in to deal with the arrest. Lets also remember that they are both 34, way too old to be doing this. Probably what we would refer to as career criminals at this point. And one of them lives in Fauntlee Hills and was able to come up with 15,000 in bail for the Peel and Press robbery. I for one would very much like for these two to be off the streets and for our prosecutors to start doing their jobs.

    • Eldorado March 2, 2021 (2:12 pm)

      He just happened to be on the roof?  PuhLeaze. If he actually shows up for trial, he’ll get a fair one, and the facts will be presented. I won’t say he’s ‘guilty’ but it sure seems very likely. 

  • Mj March 2, 2021 (7:14 am)

    Calm Down – these perps were caught red handed by the SPD in the act, thus in this case what innocence?

  • wsresident March 2, 2021 (7:30 am)

    Calm down – seriously? Multiple time felon, burglar of many other business’ and NO BAIL set? Just let go, this is a felony crime. What gives with our city – no wonder these MF’s keep vandalizing business’ because they know they can get away with it.  These people are NOT innocent, they are KNOWN robbers – when you own a business and lose half your inventory and almost have to close and lose your revenue and can’t feed your family anymore – then get on here and cry me a river about innocence. My business was badly burglarized in January – and I found the people and the police did NOTHING. I had to pick up the pieces, be closed for almost a month and came close to losing many of my own freedoms which I worked HARD to keep. (Housing, job, etc) NO one was saying to keep them in jail until the case settles, that’s just stupid and would never happen. But as a multiple time felon, they should have had to post bail and stay until an arraignment. 

  • RT March 2, 2021 (8:16 am)

    I’ll go one step further…..with the history described, they  should have been held without bail pending trial.  As others noted, “caught in the act”, history of priors, and little likelihood of changing their pattern.  Really feel for all the businesses and individuals adversely affected by the actions of thieves who search and destroy and help themselves to whatever they can.  If addiction is their issue get them in to treatment….behind bars.

  • shotinthefoot March 2, 2021 (8:42 am)

    LOL at “presumption of innocence” when you’re literally caught in the act. Both these guys will be out committing more, similar crimes before you know it. So, if you’re a business that adjoins another business that might have something good inside, take a good long look at the walls where this fool will eventually tunnel through, costing you a ton of money. But by all means, defend these career criminals with your “presumption of innocence” bs and see what happens next time, and next time, and next time, and…

  • WSNative March 2, 2021 (8:44 am)

    Do we know who the judge is who denied the prosecutors s request to set bail?  These judges refusing to set bail and releasing the career criminals on their own person recognizance are a big part of the problem. I am keeping a list of them which I will refer to at election time.

    • WSB March 2, 2021 (11:29 am)

      Yes, we reported all that in our previous coverage, which is linked in this story.

      • WScitizen March 2, 2021 (11:42 am)

        Judge Lisa Paglisotti….we’ll remember that name when she’s up for re-election.

        • Lagartija Nick March 2, 2021 (3:57 pm)

          And when she runs unopposed like 90% of judgeships in this state? What then?

  • Anne Higuera March 2, 2021 (9:41 am)

    When I saw the story about the Westwood break-in, I immediately thought about Peel & Press, since we helped them put their walls back together again after they were damaged during the break-in almost a year ago, and this seemed to be the same MO. It was also top of mind because I just reviewed our expenses from last year, so I just saw again the materials and labor we donated to help P&P make repairs. @calmdown seems to be suggesting that people accused with compelling evidence in not just one, but multiple crimes, should continue to be released and not held, even when that decision leads again and again to new charges. I do think that @calmdown might want to consider if they would have a different perspective on this if it was their business that was broken into, damaged and vandalized. We have had our job sites broken into several times over the years, and each time it costs us thousands of dollars in lost productivity, staff time spent documenting and filing claims, and deductibles despite having good insurance. The impact on businesses this happens to is substantial, and to know the likely perpetrators have been arrested and released, only to be accused of the same thing again repeatedly is demoralizing and disappointing. 

  • JohnW March 2, 2021 (10:44 am)

    I hope the business owner who left a handgun in the shop, gives more thought regarding the weapon’s secure storage when  leaving it in a closed business. 

    Makes one wonder if there are regulations regarding businesses with weapons, as opposed to business people with their weapons as ‘protected’?

  • Rick March 2, 2021 (2:33 pm)

    I remember when Westwood Village was a swamp. It’s apparently spread to the rest of Seattle. Unless you live in a “special” neighborhood.

  • Alex S. March 2, 2021 (3:47 pm)

    The vast majority of these crimes are driven by recreational drug use and the inevitable addiction that follows.  Since this city and state continue moving towards complete legalization, we will only see more property crimes which are wreaking havoc on small, local businesses.  These criminals’ activist & family enablers always come back with the same excuse that “insurance will pay for it.”  Well, many insurers are now dropping coverage for businesses that are targeted multiple times.  And the insurance premiums for those who can find coverage are going through the roof – no problem for big corporate chain stores.  Big problem for little mom & pop operations.  

    • 1994 March 3, 2021 (9:40 pm)

      You are so spot on. My auto insurance is with PEMCO who sent me a special notice about one of my vehicles — advising I should consider purchasing and installing one of the cat clamps to protect the catalytic converter……So my worry is what if I don’t have a cat clamp installed and the thieves rip out the converter — is PEMCO not going to cover the cost to have it replaced? The salt of the earth honest person ends up losing over and over again with these creepers who damage and steal from others, be it a business or an individual.  

  • anonyme March 3, 2021 (5:59 am)

    Excellent points, Alex S.  This city places all emphasis on the perp’s needs and ‘rights’.  They are treated as if they are the victims of society, instead of individuals making bad choices – choices they should be held accountable for.  Addiction may be a medical condition, but it was still a choice at one point.  Meanwhile, the real victims are left to clean up the mess and pick up the tab.  It’s time to balance the equation.

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