WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Fake-crash carjacking attempts

3:24 PM: A trend that police warned about earlier this month has suddenly shown up in West Seattle today. Right now police are investigating two reported carjacking attempts involving the would-be carjackers rear-ending (or otherwise bumping) someone, and then trying to carjack the unsuspected victim. One attempt is reported to have happened at Spokane/Harbor, one at Harbor/California. Both are reported to have involved a white Lexus LS 450 sedan with three or four people inside described only as male and black or Hispanic, at least one with a gun. If you have any tips, call 911.

3:33 PM: The Guardian One helicopter is expected to join the search, so if you see/hear it, that’s why. One victim said the armed would-be carjacker was in a tan sweatsuit and had a light streak in his hair.

5:24 PM: No further incidents reported so far.

49 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Fake-crash carjacking attempts"

  • Brooke September 19, 2023 (3:37 pm)

    Thank you for the heads up. I’d seen stories about this on Social Media, but didn’t know it was happening here now. Frightening.

  • Midi September 19, 2023 (4:00 pm)

    This is terrifying. With the increase of this trend – is there any advice for someone who gets in a minor accident? I’m sure my insurance company wouldn’t be happy if I just drive off without getting the info of the person who hit me, but what should we do?

    • sam-c September 19, 2023 (4:12 pm)

      From another local news source that reported on this trend over the weekend: “He added if someone feels uneasy about a collision, they should go to a well-lit area.“Go to a well-lit area maybe somewhere they know there might be cameras out. If they’re feeling at all unease they can call 911 and have an officer respond or they can start driving to the police station and we can help facilitate an information exchange if they’re worried about it at all,” Tarantino said.”

    • WSRez September 19, 2023 (4:29 pm)

      If you get into a “minor accident” and you feel threatened, pull over in a safe, well lit area. Try to get the details of the other car (license plate, year, make, model, color) or take a picture if possible. Stay in your car and call 911. Wait for police to arrive. The precautions are similar to when people impersonate cops. https://www.aol.com/fake-cops-attempt-pull-people-213713600.html

    • Rhonda September 19, 2023 (5:00 pm)

      You can get (or already may have) “uninsured motorist” coverage fairly cheaply on your insurance. It’s better to pay that small deductible than to lose your entire car….or life. If they steal your vehicle it’ll almost certainly be used in other regional crimes and your insurance company will hate that.

  • Rhonda September 19, 2023 (4:08 pm)

    If someone gently or moderately rear-ends your vehicle and it’s not a real crash (severe, loud skidding, breaking glass) do NOT exit the vehicle. Drive away as fast as possible  and try to get a quick glance of the vehicle type and color and the driver in your mirrors. Call 911 while still moving and/or try to get to the Southwest SPD precinct or flag-down an SPD unit. There’s often an SPD SUV at Westwood Village these days and near Don Armeni Park. Even if you see a solitary young woman in the car that hits you there could be an accomplice vehicle full of men.

    • Brandon September 19, 2023 (5:00 pm)

      So change entirely how we operate to accommodate for some thugs? No thanks. They can carjack at their own risk. They’re gonna try the wrong person one day and it will make national news.

    • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy September 19, 2023 (5:24 pm)

      As described here this sounds like fleeing the scene of an accident and can also be considered a crime? I get that it’s complicated but this game plan seems incorrect as a generic plan. 

      • Rhonda September 19, 2023 (6:22 pm)

        Reporting a minor fender-bender/bumper accident immediately to 911 that you didn’t cause from a safe location is perfectly acceptable. Those who hit from behind are always at fault, anyway. We’re talking multiple armed suspects and life and death here.

        • heartless September 20, 2023 (10:18 am)

          Good advice, but small correction–those who hit from behind are not “always at fault,” although that’s a common misconception.

      • April September 19, 2023 (7:48 pm)

        Per PSA put out a few days ago… if you are bumped/rear ended and do not feel safe getting out , you may leave and head straight to a police department while calling the police to let them know. You won’t get in trouble. 

  • Lyn September 19, 2023 (4:10 pm)

    WSB yall are so quick with it-  hear it, check the blog and you already have an answer up. Thanks for always being so on top of our news. 

  • D-Mom September 19, 2023 (4:12 pm)

    I’m curious as to how these people averted the crime. I’d appreciate some tips in how to stay safe. 

  • wsres September 19, 2023 (4:12 pm)

    So if I get bumped into by a car, what am I supposed to do? Just keep driving? We need to vote people in that will be tough on crimes like this. It’s ridiculous.

    • Amy September 19, 2023 (4:41 pm)

      This response is wild. Harrell is in office, supposedly the ‘law and order’ candidate. What does tough on crimes look like? More people in jail? The war on drugs didn’t help that.

      • Yup September 19, 2023 (5:18 pm)

        Part of the problem is the King County Jail is packed, they don’t have room for some offenders. It is also up to the prosecutor to actually file charges. The police are frustrated in trying to put people in jail and watch them get out right away. Harrell is doing too good job with what was left to him by the previous administration. 

        • Jailer September 19, 2023 (6:55 pm)

          I can tell you with 100% confidence that the jail is not “packed.” We are operating on covid guidelines still and not taking any bookings on misdemeanors and some low level felonies.

          • Danimal September 19, 2023 (9:29 pm)

            Jailer: whose decision is it to still run under Covid strictures? Which elected or appointed official or office should we write to protest this ridiculous violation of public safety? Covid is not killing people anymore. We have effective treatments for it if a person gets sick. This is unacceptable – trading the well-being of criminals for the life and safety of the non-criminal public?! Absolutely outrageous!!

      • McGruff September 19, 2023 (5:19 pm)

        Mayor Harrell is hardly what anyone would call ‘tough on crime’. He is only thought to be that guy by default, since the last couple of mayors and most of the City Council are pretty much in the ‘hug a thug’ camp.

        • DavidWS September 19, 2023 (8:34 pm)

          Your spot on with the last few mayors and the council situation. We have to remember where Mayor Harrell is starting from.  He has to work with a pro-defund sector of the council, along with “advocates” who are waiting to cause a ruckus.  Harrell has some great programs in the works and I think we’ll see some major (positive) changes after the new council comes in next year. Hang in there and let’s give Bruce a chance, he’s definitely more focused on these issues than the last few mayors.

          • Pelicans September 20, 2023 (3:07 am)

            I sure hope you’re right.

      • WSDUDEMAN September 19, 2023 (5:25 pm)

        We are talking about young adults committing armed carjackings….not somebody with a bag of weed.

      • Mike September 19, 2023 (5:28 pm)

        There’s a substantial difference in using lethal force to commit crime and the occasional pot head.  When society doesn’t enforce laws, you get more violent crime.

      • Westy1 September 20, 2023 (10:00 am)

        Geezzz…. don’t complain about Mayor Harrell ! He is working his tail off daily in all levels. Yes it would help to build more jails to house. These hoodlum losers that are let right back out onto the streets because we have no place to put them, and we have a ridiculously lenient judicial system.  But don’t talk down mayor Harrell.!!!!

  • Pigeon Point September 19, 2023 (4:16 pm)

    This is really terrifying. 

  • Lucy September 19, 2023 (4:44 pm)

    Keep bear spray handy.  

    • wsres September 19, 2023 (10:00 pm)

      And hope they don’t shoot while they have a gun in their hand and are in agony??

    • norsegirl September 20, 2023 (5:06 am)

      Bear spray or other noxious aerosols are not the answer. If there is air movement, the spray could easily be carried back to your face and eyes and not the attackers. 

    • Admiral2 September 20, 2023 (10:04 am)

      That is naïve and dangerous to think that any kind of spray is going to protect you against a large group of loser teenagers.  Stay in your vehicle ….call 911 and stay on the phone with them so they can GPS your location… never stop till you’ve got somewhere around the police and keep honking your horn, and maybe even yell for help outside the window of the car. When you get around other people, ask them to call 911 and keep driving.  

  • DRW September 19, 2023 (4:45 pm)

    I feel like West Seattle is a big target for these kind of crimes. Once they get to the bridge they’re gone. Same for West Marginal all the way to I-5 and so quick to get to 509 south too. Back to Kent. 

  • West Seattle Resident September 19, 2023 (4:46 pm)

    WSB, can we get some advice from public defenders, prosecutors, and/or police for what the public is expected to do if they are rear-ended. Realistically, if we call 911 for this, will Seattle police send someone? Does Seattle police want people to call 911 for this (or are we using non-emergency numbers now)?If we drive off from getting rear-ended, will the police and/or prosecutors charge us with hit and run? (RCW 46.52.020). 

    • WSB September 19, 2023 (5:05 pm)

      Separate from what the situation is, police say over and over – we report this from almost every public meeting we cover – call 911. The same people answer as answer (when they can) the non-emergency numbers, so call 911 and let them route you. The law enforcement rep quoted in this story seems to have valid advice – call 911 while going to someplace safe.

      Know where police/fire stations are:
      SW Precinct is at Delridge/Webster
      Fire Station 11 is at 16th/Holden
      Fire Station 29 is at 2139 Ferry SW
      Fire Station 32 is at 37th/Alaska
      Fire Station 36 is at 3600 23rd SW
      Fire Station 37 is at 35th/Holden

  • DeeJay September 19, 2023 (5:36 pm)

    thank you, WSB – though the description is limited, KOMO News would not give any details due to their own bias —– color of skin

    • WSB September 19, 2023 (5:59 pm)

      That’s not “bias.” Different news organizations have different policies. As a manager and producer, I worked in newsrooms with a “limited description is worse than no description” policy. But particularly here at the neighborhood level, I believe that whatever descriptive information is available – and sometimes, as I’ve written, none is available – should be public. You do have to keep a lot of caveats in mind, though – among other things, the description is only as good as the witness or victim can provide; especially for victims, they can be so traumatized that they don’t remember much. – TR

  • SSB September 19, 2023 (5:36 pm)

    Thank you WSB. I was one of the people that was nearly car jacked.  It was scary for me but terrifying for my 10 year old that was with me. The police did what they could and were able to get finger prints so hopefully these criminals get caught soon. Going to fire station is a good suggestion. The only thing i recommend is do not get out of your car and keep your windows up and engine on. 

    • Me September 19, 2023 (9:48 pm)

      Thank you for speaking up here and so sorry you had this happen to you.  I read that they did not succeed with their attempt with you and I see what you wrote about staying in the car. Can you provide sone more info on how it ended so that you and your daughter were safe? Did they just drive away when you didn’t get out of your car? Interested in learning for my own safety.  

  • Shocked September 19, 2023 (5:46 pm)

    This is so scary. It happened to a young woman with her 5 year old in the car. The car jacker put a gun to her head while her child watched. Thankfully she was able to speed away. Please be on the lookout for these people before they hurt anyone else.

  • DavidWS September 19, 2023 (8:29 pm)

    The council taking action to curb drug use is the first step in reducing crime. Please people, let’s continue the trend of putting clear-thinking moderates on the council. We all have empathy for the homeless, those struggling with addiction, and those dealing with life issues; but there are responsible ways to address these issues without going to the extremes that have put us in this situation.  We can start addressing these problems, and the council make a little progress today.  Still, we need more common sense on the council. Plainly speaking, let’s put Rob Saka in the Council seat.

  • Millie September 19, 2023 (9:39 pm)

    This is extremely disconcerting!  We’ve become a “third world city” where people are afraid to venture out due to increased lawlessness.  I, personally, blame City elected officials (current and past two administrations).   Are there any legal avenues available to hold them accountable?

    • heartless September 20, 2023 (9:03 am)

      “I, personally, blame City elected officials (current and past two
      administrations).   Are there any legal avenues available to hold them
      accountable?”  I mean, yes, it’s called voting…

    • Rezwest September 20, 2023 (10:09 am)

      Yes, we have had a city Council that has not protected Seattle and let it deteriorate into crime that we now have to deal with.  But I want to add to that that you need to really watch the state legislature as well and the governor.:  they have sold out our safety

  • Karen B September 19, 2023 (9:45 pm)

    WSB, I really appreciate the heads-up about
    this in real time while seeing Guardian One flying above!


    I wish we as a community had many more
    options than driving to one of the fire stations or the police precinct. My
    thought is that we might create something more visible for our community –
    maybe a partnership with local businesses that is similar to the Safe Place
    program that offers help to the LGBTQ community and those who are targeted by
    hate crimes. I well know the locations of our police precinct and the fire
    stations, but sometimes they seem closed or are closed.


    I was rear-ended in traffic from West Seattle
    to Magnolia in 2018, and was lucky that there were others nearby and police on
    the scene soon after it happened. Still, I was blindsided by the attitude and
    the aggression of the person who hit my car. He instantly showed up next to my
    car and began talking and yelling at me, telling me what he thought I needed to
    do, and presenting his version of what he said happened (said he’d “fallen
    asleep” rather than that he had been distracted and was texting).


    Although he wasn’t an armed car-jacker,
    nothing prepared me for that driver’s attitude and the aggressive posture and
    yelling. Fortunately, the officers who showed up could tell that he was at
    fault and was not telling the truth. If this had happened in a different
    setting, or today, he might have metaphorically bulldozed me and won the day .


    So sorry for those who were involved today! 



  • Tired of the BS September 19, 2023 (10:14 pm)

    Using bear spray on a car jacker (these guys have guns) is like bringing a knife to a gun fight.  Something to think about when driving and coming to a stop, don’t pull right up on the rear end of the car in front of you.  Give yourself some space, a way out of a bad situation.  That being said, the right lane generally gives you escape route in the right turn lane or bike lane…

  • WSN September 20, 2023 (12:09 am)

    This alternative might not be for everybody but I installed a two-way rear dash cam, that way if I am involved in a fake-crash, I wouldn’t get out of my car nor stop my car, I would keep driving and I would check my car when it is safe to do so. In case there is any damage the camera would capture all the information needed for the insurance and I can also share the information with the police. This also works in case my car is broken into. Stay safe West Seattle

  • Mary September 20, 2023 (4:24 am)

    I saw a white lexus at admiral safeway yesterday around 12:45pm. I let the police know.

  • florida September 20, 2023 (7:33 am)

    Where does harbor Ave intersect with Calif.? 

    • WSB September 20, 2023 (7:51 am)

      California Way:

    • Lola September 20, 2023 (8:11 am)

      Just after the Water Taxi and before Don Armeni.  If you take California Ave. heading North all the way to the end it winds down to Harbor Ave. where you can go left to Don Armeni or Right over to the Water Taxi. 

  • Seattlite September 20, 2023 (3:47 pm)

    Lola….California Ave SW northbound turns into California Way SW which takes a driver down the hill to the California Way SW and Harbor Ave SW intersection.

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