WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Noontime catalytic-converter theft; abandoned bicycle

Two reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch:


I witnessed a catalytic converter theft on Alki this afternoon.

At approximately 12:00 PM, I was jogging down the hill at California Way SW leading to Harbor Ave SW (near Marination Ma Kai) when I saw a man underneath a parked silver Toyota Prius. Another man was standing next to the car. They were both white, in their late 20s or early 30s, and wearing backward baseball caps and undershirts. A woman in a parked silver Nissan Pathfinder without rear or front plates was looking back from the driver’s seat at the 2 men. After a few seconds, they had retrieved the Prius’s catalytic converter and ran toward the parked SUV, and then all 3 drove off. I took a picture of the Nissan and attached it.

Hopefully I got the make/model of the getaway car correct, would appreciate input from anyone who might be better at identifying cars from suboptimal pictures. I filed a police report and am awaiting a case number.

Jeff also left a note for the Prius’s owner and has connected with them.

ABANDONED BICYCLE: Mason saw this abandoned bicycle both days this weekend:

There was a bike left on the side of street on Holgate & 44th … (Sunday) it was still around, maybe someone stole it, then left it? Any reports of a missing old blue road bike?

29 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Noontime catalytic-converter theft; abandoned bicycle"

  • Vinnian July 12, 2021 (9:13 pm)

    Any chance you noticed any bumper stickers.  I had been burglarized by a similar silver Nissan a year and a half ago.  With an inappropriate sticker on the back windshield.    An arrest was made in that case.

    • Jeff July 12, 2021 (10:02 pm)

      Vinnian, there were no bumper stickers and there was nothing on the back windshield.

  • StopCuttingDownTrees July 12, 2021 (9:18 pm)

    This is an example of why State Senator Joe Nguyen’s plan to prevent police from conducting minor traffic stops for things like missing plates is so dangerous. Criminals like to use stolen vehicles (as this likely is) or stolen plates as getaway vehicles. Routine traffic stops for minor offenses catch some of the most dangerous criminals one can imagine. It’s likely this getaway driver reinstalled plates stolen from another legally-registered Nissan Pathfinder after they left the area.

  • Bill July 12, 2021 (10:57 pm)

    They’re also used to harass — and in some cases — murder people. How do you propose stopping that? When you say “ Routine traffic stops for minor offenses catch some of the most dangerous criminals one can imagine” what are your source(s) for this statement? I’d like to read the details rather than imagine.

    • StopCuttingDownTrees July 12, 2021 (11:48 pm)

      Oklahoma City bomber and terrorist Timothy McVeigh was caught when a trooper stopped him for not having a license tag….a routine stop. Tens of thousands of suspects with criminal warrants are arrested each year via routine traffic stops. Countless DUIs, drug traffickers, human traffickers, and stolen vehicles are also encountered via failing to signal, no tabs, broken taillights, etc.

      • Bill July 13, 2021 (5:42 am)

        Missed/ignored my questions. Tens of thousands in Washington state? Is that per year or per lifetime?”suspects” … “Countless” … why not provide some actual data?Doesn’t your agency or union provide records and data to back up your statements? 

        • StopCuttingDownTrees July 13, 2021 (11:51 am)

          It’s the height of institutional, systemic racism to assume/declare that us minorities somehow can’t manage to pay for our car tabs, keep our tail lights illuminated, use our turn signals, etc. 

          • Uh duh July 13, 2021 (9:58 pm)

            You could have made an eloquent comment here, but instead jumped onto the triggered by racism trope. The above poster literally referenced a white guy bombing a building killing hundreds of people and all you you could muster was, “why are you pointing a finger at minorities?” You’re either self-conscious of behavior or too deep into the woods to see the forest. Smh…

    • My two cents … July 13, 2021 (8:13 am)

      @bill. IMO, driving around with missing or stolen plates does not indicate someone with good intentions.

      • Bill July 13, 2021 (9:20 am)

        You’re missing the point about Nguyen’s bill. For example, Sandra Bland “declared dead” today in 2015 had both license plates and if you review the footage should not have been pulled over whatsoever. Driving while black isn’t a crime unless the folks in uniform with very little accountability think it is. If you’re looking for WA specific info on ways to clean that up, here you go:https://crosscut.com/news/2021/04/nearly-200-cops-credibility-issues-still-working-washington-state

      • S.A. July 13, 2021 (1:40 pm)

        I’ve driven without plates when my plates were… wait for it… STOLEN. How else was I going to go replace them?

        • Legally correct July 13, 2021 (10:02 pm)

          You get new plates the same way you’re directed to when you purchase a vehicle. You go to the department of licensing and get a temporary permit. Then you can legally drive anywhere you want or need. Including the department of licensing. While it may be inconvenient, driving without plates is illegal and there is a proper way to remedy the situation. 

  • Bill July 13, 2021 (5:47 am)

    For anyone wanting to read for themselves about Sen. Joe Nguyen’s proposed bill: https://southseattleemerald.com/2021/04/20/last-minute-bill-in-legislature-would-limit-police-traffic-stops/Thanks for the tip – I wasn’t aware until your free blog comment. 

  • Eddie July 13, 2021 (7:18 am)

    If they stopped people for no front license plate, about 85% of all Teslas would be pulled over. What is it with Tesla owners not following the rules like everyone else is expected too?

    • Robocall July 13, 2021 (6:32 pm)

      Teslas aren’t drilled from the factory with front plate holes. Most owners don’t bother getting the dealerships to drill them. I’ve been driving my (gasoline) car without a front plate for years with no problems. The following states do not require a front plate and the list is growing:Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

      • Eddie July 13, 2021 (9:17 pm)

        We live in Washington, where they are required.

        • Robocall July 13, 2021 (9:34 pm)

          It’s obviously not enforced, therefore, the requirement should be scrapped. It serves no purpose. That’s why we only receive one car tab for the rear plate each year.

  • Bill July 13, 2021 (8:31 am)

    Imagine if racist neo nazi militia values weren’t allowed to proliferate in the military and police organizations. 168 lives could’ve been saved that day alone. No “lucky” traffic stop needed. There was plenty of opportunities to shut him down before he murdered and maimed – no one did. —In May 1988, at the age of 20, McVeigh enlisted in the United States Army and attended Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at the U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia.[17] While in the military, McVeigh used much of his spare time to read about firearms, sniper tactics, and explosives.[18] McVeigh was reprimanded by the military for purchasing a “White Power” T-shirt at a Ku Klux Klan protest where they were objecting to black servicemen who wore “Black Power” T-shirts around a military installation (primarily Army).[19]McVeigh was a top-scoring gunner with the 25mm cannon of the Bradley Fighting Vehicles used by the 1st Infantry Division and was promoted to sergeant. After being promoted, McVeigh earned a reputation of assigning undesirable work to black servicemen and using racial slurs.[1] 

    • shutBillup July 13, 2021 (12:21 pm)

      “racist neo nazi militia values weren’t allowed to proliferate in the military and police organizations.”  This is not allowed to proliferate in military and police organizations….

    • StopCuttingDownTrees July 13, 2021 (1:40 pm)

      And if Oklahoma had a law against routine traffic stops like Senator Nguyen has proposed, Timothy McVeigh would have gotten away instead of stopped for no tag and arrested. Thank you for making my point.

      • Bill July 14, 2021 (6:41 am)

        Read the case and his bio. Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people. He got away with it all. He wasn’t prevented despite NUMEROUS Red flags. Odd your only response is to SHUT BILL UP. That’s what they tried to do to Ms. Bland, too. Rest in Power. 

  • 420master July 13, 2021 (8:55 am)

    Easy solution, crack down on the companies buying these stolen converters. 

  • 1WS Resident July 13, 2021 (11:29 am)

    There is a good report issued by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration that seems to show a very strong correlation between “routine traffic stops” and significant reductions in crime.  It is a data driven report with lot’s of numbers to support the position that traffic stops work and are very beneficial to catching criminals, preventing other crimes and keeping communities safer.

  • WS Resident July 13, 2021 (11:44 am)

    420 Master – cracking down on the businesses that buy stolen catalytic converters won’t necessarily work in our case.  Just a short bit ago police came across 800 stolen converters.  Guessing they were getting ready for shipment to an unscrupulous buyer out of state.Our local recyclers are already proactive and taking reasonable measures to curb this criminal activity.https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/catalytic-converter-thefts-skyrocket-western-washington/281-860a495f-c158-42ed-a65b-34e0d766cbce

  • Just wondering July 13, 2021 (12:06 pm)

    Again how much do they get for catalytic converters?  Must be a lot if they are so brazen in a busy area with people.

  • drahcir July 13, 2021 (12:08 pm)

    If I owned a Prius, Honda Element or any other vehicle that seems ripe for these types of crimes I would do one (or all) of the following:

    1) get a dash cam (& rear view cam) that includes the “24-hour parked car” feature. If someone screws with your car the video will capture it. You can find these cams for $100-$200.

    2) buy (or print off) a few large signs that read, “SMILE YOU’RE ON CAMERA” or “YOU ARE UNDER SURVEILLANCE” … you can buy these bright yellow signs online, under $10.  It might not work, but for $10 it might scare someone away.

    3) as the experts have recommended, etch your vehicle id on your cat converter &/or paint with a highly fluorescent high-heat paint which might deter them (they won’t get nearly as much money for the metal in that condition).

    • westwood July 13, 2021 (2:38 pm)

      or spend about as much to have a catalytic converter shield installed

  • Alex S. July 13, 2021 (1:35 pm)

    It wasn’t that long ago that you needed a license plate or temporary trip permit to operate your car on Seattle roads.  Thanks to some very misguided efforts (pretending SPD is the same as racist Texas State Police) the region’s criminals are already running rampant in broad daylight, unencumbered by law enforcement.  These serial thieves wouldn’t make it 10 blocks without tabs or plates in Redmond, Bellevue, Edmonds etc. – which is why they all come here. 

  • WestSeattleDad July 13, 2021 (2:31 pm)

    Maybe we should have a catalytic converter stand at the farmers market. We can sell them for $5.00. When they pay the money we cuff them and take them to jail. Problem solved.

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