CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Repeat burglar gets alternative sentence for Westwood Village, Peel & Press break-ins

Last night’s Westwood Village standoff began just as we were starting to write this story about the sentencing hearing Friday for someoone involved in another one there almost one year ago. So we’re reporting this a day later than planned.

(WSB photo, February 2021)

What happened in February 2021 was a different type of standoff: It started with two burglars breaking into shops in the heart of the center. Police arrived and arrested one of them relatively quickly; the other one was considered possibly armed, so the SWAT team was called, and a three-hour standoff ensued, ending with the second arrest. Back in September, we reported on the plea bargain of one of the burglars, Jerry Plute Jr., and noted that one was in the works for the other, Rafael Meyers.

On Friday, Meyers was sentenced for a plea bargain that included two other burglaries in which he’d been charged, May 2020 at the Peel & Press restaurant in Morgan Junction, and August 2019 at a business in Auburn. As part of the agreement, a fourth charge, for a September 2020 burglary at a KFC in Shoreline, was dismissed. For all three of the burglaries to which he pleaded guilty, Meyers got an alternative sentence from King County Superior Court Judge Josephine Wiggs-Martin, as recommended by prosecutors and defense – residential drug treatment for up to six months, as part of DOSA (Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative). He’ll also be on two years of probation (community custody) provided he stays out of trouble. His lawyer’s report to the judge said that Meyers, who is 35, has “struggled with an opioid addiction for many years (and) has recently come to terms with his need for treatment after a long period of resistance to acknowledging the depth of his chemical dependency.” His treatment was to begin immediately, with a progress hearing set in April. (Plute’s sentence, as ordered back in September, was a year in jail, suspended providing he stays out of trouble.)

21 Replies to "CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Repeat burglar gets alternative sentence for Westwood Village, Peel & Press break-ins"

  • Eric1 January 22, 2022 (9:43 am)

    LOL.. Classic Catch and Release.  They don’t even have to pay back the damages.  The only “alternative sentencing” I’d like to see banishment to a deserted island where they can do no harm to society.

    • WSB January 22, 2022 (12:56 pm)

      There is a small amount of restitution noted in the paperwork. Does not appear to be anywhere near the thousands of dollars that the damages/thefts cost the victims.

  • WW Resident January 22, 2022 (10:35 am)

    Yeah, cause every story I’ve seen on the WSB where the criminal gets alternative sentencing has worked out *sarcasm*

    • CC January 22, 2022 (9:07 pm)

      Hi! I’m curious what you’re referring to. I can do a search, of course, but I wanted to know if there were particular ones you’re referencing as particularly ill-fated? Thanks!

    • August January 25, 2022 (8:23 am)

      DOSA, It’s really attractive deal to take because it halves your sentence.  Everyone is eligible for one Dosa, YES only one ever. If it’s not a violent serious crime committed. It definitely not on some special alternative sentencing and it’s really easy to mess up and have it revoked. Your assuming they just walk free. When actually after jail, they’ll have to go to in patient rehab for 8-12 months. Along with being on DOC probation for another couple years right after, which is another thing that’s easily extended for few more years over simple violations. Also remember this was recommended on both ends, prosecutor, defense and then granted by the judge which doesn’t have to follow the recommend. So stop spreading the narrative that people just get away with everything.

  • JW January 22, 2022 (11:09 am)

    This plea bargain must be frustrating for Peel and Press people and others whose lives were unnecessarily affected by Mr. Plute.  Does anyone have faith that our current system, including incarceration,  will address Mr. Plute’s issues?We can all look inward to see how we got to this point and how we might address these now chronic problems of the unwell, addicted and unhoused.

    • WSB January 22, 2022 (12:22 pm)

      Plute was not involved in the Peel & Press burglary. Meyers, main subject of this story, was.

    • August January 25, 2022 (8:32 am)

      It’ll be covered by insurance and the other end will have it sitting in collections.As an example, your in a car accident. You definitely wouldn’t be going after the driver  personally to work out some payment system after car accident. Now would you? 

  • Alki resident January 22, 2022 (11:42 am)

    What a crock. I’m tired of these druggies trying to beat the system. You do the crime, you do the time. 

  • flimflam January 22, 2022 (1:03 pm)

    Wow. I’m assuming the judges that continue to release these guys truly believe their methods are working but do they ever follow up and notice the repeat repeat offenses? This is really strange and disconcerting.

    • WS Res January 22, 2022 (4:37 pm)

      They don’t believe this “works.” However they’re aware that the jails are in total crisis right now due to the PANDEMIC, and there’s just no capacity for non-violent offenders to be held before trial right now.

      • flimflam January 22, 2022 (6:17 pm)

        This isn’t new or simply because of covid.

  • Ant January 22, 2022 (1:34 pm)

    While I can’t even imagine the frustration of the victims I welcome the change in approach to better address the root cause. Repeating the same sentencing philosophy and expecting a different outcome is well, you know the saying. Because we all know folks who go to jail never commit another crime ever.The reality is a drug treatment plan is likely not enough. I wish they could combine treatment, with housing and employment that also took into consideration a meaningful restitution to the victim.  It’s long and resource heavy but what else has worked?

  • CarDriver January 22, 2022 (2:32 pm)

     Hate to be the bearer of bad news but elected judges/prosecutors/politicians aren’t basing their decisions on what they read in the blog. If you’re packing council chambers every day and calling and writing elected officials every day they will actually listen. Yelling at the tv and computer screen only accomplishes one thing: a sore throat.

  • Smoosh January 22, 2022 (4:55 pm)

    I don’t think it’s hard to figure out that 6 months of jail would not be more likely to slow down this guys antisocial behavior than 6 months of residential (as in kind like jail) treatment  for the behavior driving his crimes. I don’t live in Shangri la either and know how this story is likely to end but you all need to think through things you have a strong opinion about.  Not to mention the current crisis going on in the Kent jail.

  • Karen January 22, 2022 (5:13 pm)

    So, $$$thousands in drug treatment, housing, food, medical , whatever else he requires over the next six months at taxpayers expense will solve his addictions and lack of conscience?   I sure hope so for the sweet people at Peel N Press and every one of his victims.  Repeat.  Repeat. 

    • RDD January 22, 2022 (7:14 pm)

      Jail is also funded by taxpayers, and is more likely to exacerbate existing issues leading to more costs down the line.  No one is saying treatment is a silver bullet; there are no easy answers.  I think it’s worth the effort to try to prevent future crime for the future Peel ‘n Presses rather than just throw taxpayer money at short-term punishment with no eye toward a long-term solution, just because it appeals to your emotions.

      • GoodSpaceGal January 22, 2022 (9:14 pm)

        Offenders cannot use drugs or commit burglaries while in prison. This guy can use drugs and commit burglaries while in residential treatment. He got away with it, again, because this region protects dangerous crooks.

    • New WS guy January 22, 2022 (9:58 pm)

      none of the treatments work. our culture/society is fu**ed up. we are all to blame. Capitalism works, though there are many many people left behind, and will never catch up. 

  • NewWSguy January 22, 2022 (9:21 pm)

    our culture/society is totally messed up. No one is taught responsibility for their actions.  Our Capitalistic mode, does nothing for the people left behind. All the effort is making as much money as possible, fu** anyone in the way. we buy sh** products from Amazon (all made in China), going around the world, trying to shove Democracy down everyone’s throats. None of it works. We spent Trillions of dollars in Afghanistan, in the end we helped the tribal leaders sell their opium to us. No wonder we have addicts committing crimes. then we let big Pharma, sell us synthetic opioids, which cause thousands of deaths. We have a dysfunctional government, with congress cannot agree on anything. we have a former President still saying the election was rigged.We are like Rome, we are ripe for the barbarians to run us over.And you blame the addict. remember most homeless are veterans, who never received proper treatment for what they went thru in the middle wonder we have issues

    • GoodSpaceGal January 22, 2022 (10:31 pm)

      Call 911 if you think you may harm yourself or others.

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