Category Archives: Crime

$75,000 Camaro stolen, crashed through showroom windows at Lake City auto dealership

IMG_7701.JPG

A rather dramatic theft took place at a Lake City auto dealer early Tuesday morning in the 11300 block of Lake City Way. A thief made off with a Chevrolet Camaro Z28 after crashing the car through the locked showroom doors.

From the Seattle Police Department:

At the scene, police found tire tracks on the dealership’s tile floor, and evidence that a burglar had smashed their way into the business, grabbed a set of car keys, and then crashed the $75,000 Camaro through the locked front doors of the building. Both the brand new Camaro and the dealership were badly damaged during the suspect’s hasty retreat.

The suspect ditched the car just half a mile from the dealership in the driveway of a home. After recovering the car, officers called for evidence specialists to search the vehicle for any evidence that might lead police to this lead-footed larcenist.

IMG_7698.JPG

KIRO/7: Post office box holders say they were never notified by USPS about break-ins

Coming just on the heels of the breakup of a major mail theft ring in north Seattle, it has been revealed that mailboxes at the Lake City Post Office have been targets of thieves. The problem has become significant enough that the U.S. Postal Service has changed the hours the lobby and mailboxes are available to the public, inconveniencing some that pay for boxes there.

From the KIRO report:

“It makes me consider whether or not I want to continue to have my mail delivered to the post office,” said Chris Rich, who rents a post office box at that location.

She and other neighbors say they rented the boxes because of an increase in mailbox thefts in the area over the past few years.

“We pay for post office boxes so there ought to be some level of service to folks to have their mail delivered there,” said Rich.

kiroThe U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office told KIRO/7 that breaking into post office boxes is both a state and federal offense that could carry a 15 year prison sentence.

Seattle Police: Major Crimes Unit Unravels Prolific North Seattle Crime Ring

IMG_7578.PNG

Items recovered by Seattle police are shown. (SPD photo)

After a bit of controversy over an internal memo saying that Seattle Police may not fully investigate all home burglaries because of a lack of detectives to work cases, the Seattle Police Department released the following story on their Blotter Wednesday afternoon.

Although the story doesn’t specifically mention Lake City, it does give a glimpse of how a major crime operation can work and may help people here be more alert and aware. And often theft rings like this are not necessarily limited geographically to a specific neighborhood, so chances are this ring has operated a bit farther north in Lake City. You can read the SPD post below.

A stolen car, a wanted woman, and her diary detailing “what I stole today” has led SPD’s Major Crimes Task Force to unravel a prolific crime ring, which detectives believe is responsible for hundreds of break-ins, car prowls, thefts and identity fraud in North Seattle.

In all, police arrested four suspects and seized hundreds of pieces of stolen mail, IDs, and boxes of packages, stolen right off of victims’ porches, with one of the suspects telling police that unwrapping stolen packages was “like opening Christmas presents.”

Detectives got their first major break in the case on September 11th when Seattle police and Department of Corrections officers went to a University District townhouse near NE 50th Street and 11th Avenue NE to arrest a 26-year-old woman wanted on a felony warrant. After officers took the woman into custody, they discovered a stolen car parked outside the two-bedroom townhome. Officers called detectives in SPD’s Major Crimes Task Force—who had been working a complex auto theft case around the city—to come to the townhouse and interview the woman. Detectives found a trove of around 100 stolen packages when they arrived, containing everything from ceiling fans to strollers, all in their original packaging. “When we left her house,” says MCTF Det. Todd Jakobsen “we had four SUVs and two cars stuffed full of packages she’d stolen off people’s porches.”

Detectives found duffel bags filled with stolen mail, more than 70 IDs, credit cards and passports, $37,000 in fraudulent checks, and mail stolen from at least 180 victims. They also found books and ledgers tracking thefts and tallying sales on online sites, as well as pages and pages of victims’ birthdates, social security numbers and credit card numbers. Detectives say the woman had created “profiles,” compiling personal information from pieces of stolen mail. With that info in hand, she and other thieves had everything they needed to open credit accounts in their victims’ names.

Police later learned the townhome, much like the mail and stolen items inside it, did not belong to the woman either. “She never even rented this place,” says Major Crimes Task Force detective Todd Jakobsen. “The people that lived there moved out and she just moved in. She never paid rent.”

Detectives say the 26-year-old woman and her 34-year-old boyfriend been burglarizing and stealing from victims all over the University District and Greenlake. She said they had been working with a 31-year-old-woman she’d met in prison and another man, who she described as the ringleader of the group of thieves, although she claimed to only know by his nickname. The group, the woman said, had made crime a full-time job, stealing mail or breaking into homes seven days a week over the last two or three months.

After arresting the 34-year-old boyfriend for auto and mail theft, detectives began searching for the other two accomplices.

Four days later, police found the third member of the crew of thieves—the 31-year-old woman—in a tent at an encampment along Interstate 5 near NE 50th St., about half a mile from the University District townhome.

In the encampment, police found more stolen mail and about 200 pounds of copper wire, which police believe was stolen from the Museum of History and Industry’s Montlake building after the museum relocated in 2013.

After searching through the encampment and arresting the 31-year-old woman, detectives had tracked down three of the four members of the theft ring, but were still searching for their alleged ringleader.

Police finally got their man on September 22nd after West Precinct patrol officers pulled over a 25-year-old man in a stolen car near 6th Ave and Weller St. in the International District. Once again, patrol officers called MCTF detectives to come check out the stolen car and talk to the driver, who just so happened to have a name closely matching the nickname of the alleged theft and fraud ringleader.

The man in the stolen car was elusive during an interview with detectives—“things just weren’t adding up with what he was saying” Det. Jakobsen says—and police quickly discovered he was wanted for more than a dozen cases of auto theft and fraud in Pierce County. When police searched the suspect’s stolen car, they found documents and evidence connected to several cases of bank fraud in Seattle.

With the evidence found in the 25-year-old man’s car and information they’d received from other suspects about their ringleader, detectives were now certain they had found the man leading the North Seattle crime ring. “Once I started interviewing him everything started falling into place,” Det. Jakobsen says.

Detectives arrested the man and turned him over to authorities in Pierce County, and the MCTF is now working with Pierce and King County officials to bring charges against the man. Police are also investigating him in connection with a number of recent burglaries along the University of Washington’s Greek Row.

“These arrests should drastically reduce property crimes” in the North Precinct, says Coordinated Criminal Investigations Captain Eric Sano.

Detectives are still combing through all of the stolen items recovered during their investigation, and will also look at where the suspects were selling their stolen items, and whether they were trading pieces of stolen mail with other criminals.

Seattle Mayor, local leaders participate in Lake City ‘Find it, fix it’ walk

Mayor Ed Murray and community members at the Lake City Mini-Park before the walk. (LCL photo)

Mayor Ed Murray and community members at the Lake City Mini-Park before the walk. (LCL photo)

Local leaders came to Lake City Monday night for Mayor Ed Murray’s sixth “Find it, Fix it” community walk. Previous walks have visited other Seattle neighborhoods and crime hotspots.

Murray, along with Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean, Sen. David Frockt, and other officials and City of Seattle department representatives, toured the neighborhood with about 50 local residents. The tour highlighted troubled areas and elements of the community that are in need of improvement.

The walks, as described in a press release, allow community residents, police, and city officials to “walk together to identify physical disorder and solve it.” The goal of the walks is to help Seattle City Light, the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Department of Planning and Development, and Seattle Public Utilities to make improvements in Seattle’s neighborhoods.

As noted during the walk, city departments often rely on reports from residents about transportation problems, crime, derelict properties and other issues in a community. One speaker said that if a problem area is not continually reported by the community, it is more difficult to deal with because it has to then be noticed by a department employee. And that can take much longer.

Community members gather near the intersection of 30th Avenue NE and NE 130th Street. (LCL photo)

Community members gather near the intersection of 30th Avenue NE and NE 130th Street. (LCL photo)

Reporting a safety or crime concern is easy to do with the City of Seattle’s Find it, Fix it mobile app (the app can be downloaded by clicking here for iOS and Android.) The app allows users to easily report graffiti, potholes, illegal dumping, abandoned vehicles, and other issues. You can also use the City’s website to report problems by clicking here.

During the Monday walk, plenty of those reportable items were found, and eight large trash bags of litter were gathered by volunteers from the North Seattle Family Center and Hunger Intervention Program.

Mayor Murray watches as young volunteers gather piles of trash from a lot at NE 130th and Lake City Way. (LCL photo)

Mayor Murray watches as young volunteers gather piles of trash from a dump site on a lot at NE 130th and Lake City Way. (LCL photo)

The walk with community members —and an earlier walk with members of the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance and city leaders— gave people a chance to air concerns about the community.

When a speaker from the City stood in front of the dilapidated Aqua Dive site to talk about graffiti removal, the structure provided a strong backdrop for the way some property owners have allowed their buildings to become eyesores and contributors to behaviors that negatively impact the community. The Aqua Dive and neighboring structures are know to be popular places for drug users and others that have been kicked out of homeless housing projects in the neighborhood. At one point, one of the leading advocates for Lake City’s homeless community shouted out that the structure needs to be torn down.

The dilapadeted Aqua Dive provides a backdrop for a talk about graffiti removal. (LCL photo)

The dilapadeted Aqua Dive provides a backdrop for a talk about graffiti removal. (LCL photo)

The walk also meandered over to the old Fire Station 39 and the Lake City Community Center —both city-owned properties in the core of Lake City that debate has swirled around their future use.

The City has proposed leasing the old fire station to the Pierre Auto Centers for two years, delaying development of the property. A previous proposal was to build transitional housing for formerly homeless people on the site. That proposal generated significant opposition and some would say was a catalyst for the formation of some of Lake City’s current active community groups.

City leaders and Lake City residents gather at the old Fire Station 39. (LCL photo)

City leaders and Lake City residents gather at the old Fire Station 39. (LCL photo)

The walk ended at the Lake City Community Center, where Mayor Ed Murray thanked community members for taking the time to walk around the neighborhood. Earlier discussion with the Mayor and Lake City leaders centered around the future of the building, its lack of amenities, and spaces that are not ADA accessible. The Lake City Neighborhood Alliance earlier sent a letter to the Mayor’s office advocating for a new, full-service Lake City Community Center to support the youth, families, and seniors in the Lake City Hub Urban Village.

People gather at the Lake City Community Center during the walk. (LCL photo)

People gather at the Lake City Community Center during the walk. (LCL photo)

The walk gave community members a brief moment to point out issues in the core of Lake City, a likely more effective way than trying to explain a problem in a meeting environment. General topics such as our overall lack of sidewalks —a topic that historically dominates community meetings here— was only discussed a few times as other specific problem areas prompted residents to enter discussions with representatives from the City of Seattle Departments.

Residents speak to the Mayor. (LCL photo)

Residents speak to the Mayor. (LCL photo)

The walk was led by Seattle Police officers and roads were shut down by officers for the group of pedestrians to safely walk on the streets —something that one resident pointed out is not available to pedestrians that regularly have to walk in Lake City streets.

As city officials and residents dispersed after the evening walk, another crowd started to fill in the Lake City Mini Park. The usual suspects were out there drinking tallboys, with one man pacing back and forth yelling at passing motorists. Officials from the walk watched the scene unfold as they returned to their cars near the Mini Park.

Armed, masked man robs Rick’s at DreamGirls strip club

20140707-191014-69014930.jpg
The Seattle Police Department reported on their Blotter website that a masked gunman robbed Rick’s on Lake City Way on Friday. From the Blotter:

Just before 10:30 AM on July 4th, the suspect approached the manager of Dreamgirls club as he was standing outside the business—which had not yet opened—in the 11300 block of Lake City Way.

The suspect pulled out a handgun and forced the manager to let him inside the business, where the suspect ordered the manager and a custodian to lay on the floor as he ripped phone lines out of the club’s walls and stole a large amount of cash.

The suspect—described as a white male wearing all black clothing, gloves, sunglasses and a bandanna over his face—then fled the scene in a blue or gray SUV.

If you have any information about this case, please call the SPD Robbery Unit at (206) 684-5535

Woman pushing stoller hit by car in Olympic Hills, driver flees

Seattle Police investigators look over the scene where a dark sedan hit a woman pushing a baby stroller on 19th Avenue Northeast in the Olypmic Hills neighborhood of Seattle. The driver fled the scene. The neighborhood is one of many areas in north and south Seattle that does not have sidewalks and pedestrians are forced to walk in the street. Photographed on Friday, May 23, 2014. (Joshua Trujillo, seattlepi.com)

Seattle Police investigators look over the scene where a dark sedan hit a woman pushing a baby stroller on 19th Avenue Northeast in the Olypmic Hills neighborhood of Seattle. The driver fled the scene. The neighborhood is one of many areas in north and south Seattle that does not have sidewalks and pedestrians are forced to walk in the street. Photographed on Friday, May 23, 2014. (Joshua Trujillo, seattlepi.com used with permission)

The driver of what was reported as a dark sedan hit a woman pushing a stroller on 19th Avenue Northeast near Northeast 140th Street. Seattle police were searching for the driver after the vehicle and occupant(s) fled the scene.

Like much of Lake City, the street lacks sidewalks and pedestrians are forced to walk in the street.

From Seattle Police:

Around 1:20 PM, the 32-year-old woman and young child, who was in the stroller, were walking on (19th Avenue Northeast) when the driver of a sedan struck the woman and then sped away.

Witnesses provided different descriptions of the suspect’s vehicle—either a maroon Acura or a dark brown Mercedes—but all said it had a cracked windshield. Witnesses also described the driver as an Asian male with spiked black hair.

The woman sustained a lower leg injury in the incident. The child in the stroller was not injured.

Traffic Collision investigators responded to the scene and are handling the case.

PHOTOS: Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project kickoff

The Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project sign is unveiled. (LCL photo)

The Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project sign is unveiled. (LCL photo)

The Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project kicked off on Friday, March 28 with a safety walk and sign unveiling at the intersection of NE 125th Street and Lake City Way.

The Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project is a joint effort between agencies and citizens to improve safety along Lake City Way from Northeast 78th Street to NE 145th Street. The team is comprised of three teams —engineering, enforcement and education— that will identify problems and develop action plans using short term, low cost solutions to reduce serious injuries and deaths.

The Friday event featured officials from the Seattle Department of Transportation, Washington State Department of Transportation, Seattle Police Department, Washington State Patrol, and Seattle City Councilmember Sally Clark.

Community members marched with signs, socialized and unveiled a large street sign that will inform drivers of the project and enhanced traffic enforcement. Probably the most exciting moment was when two dozen motorcycle cops and officers in cruisers launched form the event to begin a blanket of traffic enforcement. You can see photos of the event below.

Marchers are pushed to the edge of the crosswalk by a car. (LCL photo)

Pedestrians are pushed to the edge of the crosswalk by a car during the event. (LCL photo)

Members of the Free Wheelers participate. (LCL photo)

Members of the Free Wheelers participate. (LCL photo)

Students from Nathan Hale High School participate. (LCL photo)

Students from Nathan Hale High School participate. (LCL photo)

Washington State Patrol Troopers pose for a photo at the event. (LCL photo)

Washington State Patrol Troopers pose for a photo at the event. (LCL photo)

Nathan Hale students and other community members participate. (LCL photo)

Nathan Hale students and other community members participate. (LCL photo)

A sign written in Arabic is held up. (LCL photo)

A sign written in Arabic is held up. (LCL photo)

A sign in Spanish is held up. (LCL photo)

A sign in Spanish is held up. (LCL photo)

Nathan Hale students and other community members participate. (LCL photo)

Nathan Hale students and other community members participate. (LCL photo)

City Councilmember Sally Clark speaks. (LCL photo)

City Councilmember Sally Clark speaks. (LCL photo)

Washington State Patrol troopers and Seattle Police officers begin enhanced traffic enforcement. (LCL photo)

Washington State Patrol troopers and Seattle Police officers begin enhanced traffic enforcement. (LCL photo)

Seattle Police: Vandals enter church, smash equipment, light candles

Update: KIRO/7 reported on Monday that a cemetery on 35th Avenue NE was also desecrated Friday night when about 10 headstones were knocked over. See their report below:

Original report here:

Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church. (Google)

Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church. (Google)

The Seattle Police Department reported that they were called to Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Wedgwood Saturday morning (March 15) after employees there discovered smashed and missing church equipment, an open door and trash thrown around the building. But before leaving the house of worship, and maybe in an attempt to make amends from above, the vandal lit several candles in the church.

From the Seattle Police:

Sometime between 7:30 PM Friday and 10:15 AM Saturday, someone broke into the church—located in the 8900 block of 35th Ave NE—smashed a 60″ flatscreen TV and a candle holder, knocked over trash bins and a flag, stolen a microphone from a podium, and left several candles burning.

After police were unable to find any smashed locks or broken windows in the church—indicating a possible break-in—church staff said it was possible someone had hidden in the church following services and waited to come out until everyone else had left the building.

Seattle Police said the case will be referred to detectives for investigation. If you have any information on the vandalism please contact police.

 

Police: Explosion Monday night on NE 135th caused by marijuana operation

The Seattle Police Department reported that an explosion Monday night in Lake City was caused by an operation to extract THC from marijuana in the 3000 block of NE 135th Street. The explosion moved a wall of the home back 3 inches.

Butane can be used to extract THC, the mind-altering element in marijuana, which then creates a highly concentrated substance used to vaporize or ingest. If the Monday explosion was caused by the process, it would be one of at least two explosions in recent weeks caused by the process. The other that made headlines was in South Seattle.

Seattle police said the man’s Lake City house “will definitely need some repair work” after the refrigerator exploded in the house. There were no injuries.

From SPD:

Seattle Police and Seattle Fire responded to a report of an explosion in the 3000 Block of NE 135th Street last night around 9:30 pm. When officers arrived, they contacted the 37-year-old resident, who told investigators that his refrigerator had exploded. Officers suspected that this occurred while he had been extracting the THC from marijuana, and the man confirmed that. The explosion broke four windows and moved the back wall of the house three inches. Detectives from the Arson/Bomb Squad (ABS) responded and took over the investigation. This remains an active investigation.

Update: Below is a report from KING/5:

Lake City Fred Meyer, KOMO/4 step up after decorations stolen from Lake City House low-income housing facility

komoThere is definitely a Grinch out there.

According to KOMO/4, holiday decorations at Lake City House, a low-income housing facility, were recently discovered to have been stolen from a storage room. Christmas trees and ornaments were among the missing items.

From the KOMO story:

“It’s depressing,” said resident Ellie Rhoades “It’s like not to have Christmas.”

The building houses the elderly, disabled, and residents who can’t afford to replace the missing decorations that lit up their lobby. In the past they pooled together money they raised in yard sales and at coffee hour.

“If I can’t make these people happy, if I can’t show holiday spirit, it hurts me,” Rhoades said with tears in her eyes.

But just as there are Grinches, there are also elves.

Rhoades contacted KOMO/4′s Problem Solvers, who then contacted the Lake City Fred Meyer. The neighborhood Fred Meyer store, just a block from the facility, stepped up and donated a pair of 7-foot-tall artificial Christmas trees.

You can see the KOMO/4 video report below.