Queen Anne burglaries and a reminder from SPD on crime prevention
Back in late October, a North Queen Anne reader’s home was not only burglarized, but she also came face-to-face with the burglar through her glass door. She was home alone at 7:15pm when her dog became agitated – turns out it was a burglar trying to open the door, which was locked. He walked away calmly, and she called 911.
This scary incident was magnified by three other burglaries at neighboring homes in the same time period. The reader who saw the burglar got a good look at him, thanks to a security light he triggered: a black male, possibly older, with knit hat and scarf pulled up to his nose.
SPD responded to the burglary on North Queen Anne, and a K-9 unit tracked the burglar to the bus stop at Rodgers Park, where he likely left the neighborhood. The map below shows all burglaries on Queen Anne since mid-October (numbers indicate multiple burglaries in close proximity):
While burglaries can’t always be prevented, these incidents are a sobering reminder of the upcoming holiday season, which is prime time for many criminals. Our Seattle Police Department Crime Prevention Coordinator has sent the following tips to help people and property safe during the holidays:
SPD Burglary Prevention:
Shipped packages and money/gift cards in the mail are popular targets for thieves. Being amongst crowds in shopping malls, downtown streets, the train station or airport provide would-be pickpockets a target-rich environment. Door-to-door solicitors may pick this time of year to collect for charities and yet we wonder if they are legitimate.
Travel light: take only what you need when you are out. Leave the heavy purse behind and clean out your wallet of unneeded credit cards, medical cards, etc.
Dress the part: It feels darker now without our sunny Seattle skies, so make sure you can be seen by motorists. Are your shoes comfortable enough to allow you to move, kick, run if you had to. Long billowing scarves, umbrellas, certain kinds of hats can reduce the ability to see around you, or might give a mugger something by which to grab you. Leave the bling behind or under layers of clothing if you’ll be out walking around much.
Cell phones: “apple picking” is what some are calling the grabbing of iPhones and other electronic devices. You may be asked by a stranger for the time, or if they can borrow your phone. Then boom, in a blink of an eye, they’re off and away with your device. While cell phones are a helpful safety device, street robbers love them so don’t flash them around. Be mindful when using them in public places.
“What’s your location?” means being able to relay your location such as house number, business or street names, hundred block; intersections, landmarks, or mile markers. Make it a habit to know your location! This is key when making calls to 9-1-1. Seconds matter in emergencies, help us get to you or the incident quicker. Stay on the line with the call taker until instructed to hang up.
If you will be out of town: please let your trusted neighbors know. Encourage them to keep an extra watch out for your home and let them know you want them to call 9-1-1 if something is suspicious. Enlist their help with picking up newspapers, checking for oversized mail, packages and those pesky flyers left on doorknobs. On our block, we pick up each others’ parcels that have been left on a porch for safekeeping. You want to make your home look occupied (lights and radio on timers; have someone park in your driveway, bring in your garbage can/recycling bins, etc.). Getting a house sitter can be helpful. Watchful neighbors truly are your best alarm!
Car prowls: Thieves target all makes and models of vehicles looking for GPS devices; cellular phones; cameras; purses; garbage remotes; jackets. I know some parents who keep their kids’ holiday gifts in the trunk. Not good! Also, I’ve read a few police reports where people pack up their car the night before heading out on a trip, only to find the car was prowled over night. Leave your car empty; disable internal trunk releases and be consistent with any theft-deterrent device like the “club” or audible alarm.
Warming up the car: Vehicles left running and unattended while the heater and defroster kick in may be just the opportunity the auto thief needed.
Stay safe during the holidays, as well as the rest of the year. Follow the above tips, and call 911 to report suspicious activity or crimes in progress.
Local pizzeria Domani hit by burglars over the weekend
On November 24th, both Menchie’s and Pizza Hut were hit by burglars the same night. This past Sunday night, we received an email from the owner of Domani Pizzeria, letting us know that the restaurant was burglarized on Saturday night around 3am.
The suspects entered through the front door after prying off the inset part of the deadbolt lock. Domani is at 1515 Queen Anne Ave N, and the front door is very visible from the street. According to the SPD report, the suspects “rummaged through much of the business and apparently spent quite some time doing so.”
Domani has surveillance cameras so SPD has the footage that shows two male suspects, each wearing hoodies with the hoods up, hiding any distinctive descriptive details. The footage also showed that one suspect had a flashlight and both suspects wore gloves.
The burglars took cash, blank checks, and both credit and debit cards. According to SPD, they went through two levels of the business, the main restaurant and the basement office – “the suspects went through many drawers and such, so it was unknown what else the suspects stole.”
A reminder that burglars are not just targeting residences, so if you see suspicious activity at local businesses, call 911.
June crime on Queen Anne: 29 burglaries, 46 car prowls, 36 car thefts, and more
We’ve had a lot of emails, Facebook messages, and tweets about crime on Queen Anne in June. The reader tips ranged from bold daytime home burglaries to small items stolen off porches and from yards. The weather’s been warm and it seems like criminals are taking advantage of it.
Provided below are June 2014 crime maps from Seattle Police Department (SPD), based on crimes reported to SPD. We’ve broken them out by the most popular crimes: burglaries, car prowls and car thefts – and included counts for June 2013 for comparison. This year, we’ve had more burglaries and car thefts, but fewer car prowls.
We also had one strong arm daytime robbery on Queen Anne, not shown on the maps below.
Reminder: report all crimes large and small to SPD. Something taken off your front porch? Car prowl? SPD has made it easy to report these small crimes online.
If you see a crime in progress or suspicious activity, call 911.
Burglaries: 29 in June 2014 compared to 18 in June 2013
In early June, two daytime robberies were reported to SPD with similar circumstances – 5 black males in their teens to early twenties, with backpacks. We do not have confirmation from SPD that these burglaries are related, but the circumstances are very similar. Plus, there was a third burglary two days later with a similar suspect description.
Below are June burglaries that have detailed SPD reports. Not all SPD reports include narrative descriptions, so the map will fill in the gaps on other reported instances.
June 4: 1800 block of 4th Ave N – this is the burglary we posted about on June 4. According to the SPD report, at 11:55am a neighbor reported seeing 5 young black males wearing backpacks on the porch of the house, then one inside the house throwing items down to the others. One suspect was also seen photographing a neighbor’s garage. The first floor of the house was locked when SPD arrived, but a second-story front window was wide open, where the suspects gained access. The victim reported to SPD that she left the window open only a few inches. The suspects fled the scene before SPD arrived.
June 4: 200 block of W Garfield – the same day as the 4th N burglary above. At 2:05pm a friend called 911 to report that the home had been ransacked and burglarized. Per the SPD report, she was arriving at the house with two children who live in the house. One of the children stated that “he was walking southbound down the alleyway from W Blaine St when he exited the alley and saw 5 black/hispanic males laughing and walking eastbound from the corner of W Garfield St and 1 Ave [He] recognized one of the male subjects.” He was able to identify the suspect from a school yearbook. SPD talked to the next-door neighbor, who stated that at 1pm she “noticed a group of four black males standing on the porch of residence… she thought they were friends because they entered the house through the front door – turns out that access was gained via breaking a basement window (not in the SPD report, but likely then opening the front door to let others in).
June 6: x block of W Raye St – victim called SPD to report that he heard someone knocking at the front door and the door bell ringing repeatedly. He did not immediately answer the door, but when he did, he saw “a black male with a backpack walking [northbound] along side the east of their house which is an alley then he turned [westbound] onto W. Raye Street.” Shortly afterward, the victim noticed that his laptop was missing and several dresser/cabinet doors were open. A kitchen window was unsecured and open. According to the SPD report, an officer contacted the victim earlier in the day about “a suspicious/prowler 911 call of several black males with backpacks at the front door of the victim’s residence.”
June 8: 1800 block of 1st Ave N – victim called SPD when she returned home at 3am from a party next door to find her garage open and bike stolen. The victim’s unlocked car was parked in the driveway and the suspect used the garage door opener to access the garage. Per the SPD report, a neighbor said she saw a man walk up the driveway and leave on a bike shortly afterward. She was unable to provide a description.
June 14: 2400 block of 4th Ave N – victim heard a loud noise at 11pm, turned on lights, but did not hear anything else. The next morning she noticed her kitchen window was partially open and called SPD. According to the SPD report, “the suspect had used a blunt device to pry the window in an upward position from the bottom wood frame… The suspect was able to move the window up but did not make entry.”
June 13-15: 1800 block of 4th Ave W – victims called 911 when they returned from out of town and discovered that someone had burglarized the house, after gaining entry from a 17” x 15” dog door.
June 17: 700 block of Crockett St – victim called 911 after waking to a noise at 4:30am and finding a female suspect through the window. Victim described her as white, 25 years old (+/- 5 years), brown hair. He yelled at her to get out and she responded “Oh I’m sorry I thought this was my [house] I was just trying to check on [redacted].” Per the SPD report, “There were observable signs of attempted entry to the bedroom window which included an opened security gate, a removed window screen, pry marks, and fingerprint smearing. The suspect(s) used a ladder to gain entry onto the balcony and attempted to gain entry through two other windows. The crank window had been damaged and left partially open. The sliding window had also been partially opened but stopped by the wooden dowel in place. No entry was made.”
June 17: 2400 block of 4th Ave N – victim called 911 to report that her bike had been stolen from her open garage during the day while she was working in her front yard.
- Do not leave windows open, even a few inches, when you are not home
- Do not leave garage door openers in unlocked/accessible cars
- Burglars can fit through dog doors
- Burglars will enter open garages even when you are home
- If you store a ladder outside, burglars will use it
- Be a vigilant neighbor and call 911 if you see suspicious activity
Car Prowls: 46 in June 2014 compared to 60+ in June 2013
Car Thefts: 36 in June 2014 compared to 14 in June 2013
Other property crime:
Reported property crime included multiple license plate thefts, and this list of reports to Queen Anne View:
June 5: Porch Items Theft – a reader just east of Queen Anne Ave N reported that between 10am and 2pm a large basket (18″ x 24″ x 16″) with garden shoes and umbrellas was stolen.
June 6: Garden Theft – a reader in the 2000 block of 1st Ave W reported that “someone came into our gated yard and clipped our day lilies. And helped themselves to our garden gloves too after coming onto our porch and looking through our shoe collection located in a rack close to our front door.”
June 6: Shoe Theft – neighbor of the reader above (garden theft) had 3 pairs of shoes stolen off their front porch in the 2000 block of 1st Ave W.
June 6-8: Package Theft – reader had 2 UPS boxes stolen from their porch near 1st Ave N and Lynn St. Packages contained 3 soap dispensers, reader found the open boxes, but not the soap dispensers. SPD report filed.
June 21 (estimated): Bike Theft – reader had a bike stolen from their garage near 4th Ave W and Blaine St. Bike lock cable was cut, bike stolen.
June 25 (estimated): Burglary – 4th Ave N and Newton St (note: no SPD report available). Reader reported that his neighbors were burglarized midday on a weekday. The thieves entered the house by pushing a window unit air-conditioner though the window. The burglary took place after the nanny left to take the baby to the park.
June 26: LFL Vandalism – Little Free Library at 2nd Ave W and Boston St was vandalized and the bird-bath planter near it was knocked over.
July 1: Paintball Vandalism – reader reported that her car and others near 3rd Ave W and Crockett St were vandalized with paintball guns.
If you see a crime in progress or suspicious activity, call 911.
From our 2013 meeting with SPD, here are tips directly from SPD officers:
If you see something that is suspicious or are a victim of a crime, call 911 or the non-emergency number (206.625.5011). Here are some tips from the officers, to give you their perspective:
- SPD officers gravitate to hot spots of activity – for example, repeated reports about suspicious activity at a park raises SPD’s awareness. A particular location can become a hot spot for proactive patrols.
- Response time – with the limited number of SPD officers, you may not get instant gratification from a call for something like suspicious activity – but if you call for every incident, the tracking data will show there’s an ongoing issue, and SPD can target it proactively
- Call a lot – to echo point #2, don’t stop calling just because the first call didn’t yield results. Tracking data is key, and calling repeatedly on criminal or suspicious activity does not make you a nuisance. Calls feed into the tracking database, which is key for identifying trends or hot-spots
- When to call – the officers emphasized that residents need to call for both large and small issues. Don’t let smaller crimes go unreported: Did your car get broken into but nothing taken? Report it. Did a strange person walk through your backyard? Report it.
Here are the key items of information that help SPD when you call 911:
- Good description of the person
- Location – street name, number or hundred block, or address
- Direction of travel
- Identifying features and/or items: race, gender, height, weight, age, clothing, and any distinguishing features. Are they carrying a backpack? What color is it?
Let’s hope that July will be a better month for Queen Anne residents. Keep an eye out for your neighbors, especially during the height of vacation season and warm weather.
Interrupted burglary at Queen Anne Square building
Early this morning, a custodial crew found a commercial burglary suspect in the Queen Anne Square building at 200 W Mercer St.
Queen Anne Square is a set of two 5-story commercial buildings at the corner of W Mercer and 2nd Ave W. Suspect is at large, custodians are safe, and investigation remains open. See the SPD Blotter report below for full details:
Burglar caught after jumping out of Queen Anne window
From the SPD Blotter, this happened on Sunday. No description of the accomplice is available.
Officers caught a daytime Queen Anne burglar after she jumped from an upstairs window. On September 8th at approximately 1:12 p.m. officers responded to a 911 complaint of two suspicious persons in an alley in the 100 block of West McGraw Street. At 1:14 p.m. a witness called 911 to report a female suspect breaking the window glass on the back of a residence in the 100 block of West McGraw Street. A short time later the homeowner arrived home to find his front door ajar and the female suspect upstairs. When the suspect saw the homeowner she jumped out the upstairs window and was promptly arrested by a uniformed patrol officer who had arrived moments earlier. Additional officers searched the exterior and interior of the house to include the surrounding neighborhood but were unable to located the suspect’s accomplice.
The 36-year-old female suspect was booked into the King County Jail for Burglary.
Targy’s Tavern broken into Sunday morning
This morning, the owners of Targy’s Tavern at 600 Crockett St, were notified by their alarm company of a break-in at 7:15am – just 15 minutes after the owner left the building.
According to witnesses, 2 men in a green 2 door car are the key suspects, and may have been seen at Kerry Park earlier. One suspect broke a window with a brick, entered the building and opened the front door. The two suspects then began to load liquor into the car, even breaking some bottles on the street in their haste.
Before they left the scene, the burglars turned on one of the beer taps, which could have done much more damage if the alarm company hadn’t been so quick with its notification.
Targy’s owner Dave says the mess is now cleaned up, and to put a fun spin on a nearly-ruined Father’s Day, Targy’s has placed the brick in its trophy case and will be serving the “Brick Toss” – a mix of vodka, cranberry juice, and orange juice.
Stop by Targy’s today or anytime this week to give the Brick Toss a try and check out the trophy brick mememto!
And remember: call 911 if you see suspicious activity or persons.