A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods

 

Top Ten Toys targeted by LEGO thieves

August 23rd, 2016 by Doree

Top Ten Toys, at 120 N. 85th St., has been hit recently by at least two shoplifters who have stolen high-end LEGO sets. Staffing Manager Aries J. Galindo said two men visited the store separately last week, and another man and woman appeared to be casing the store previous to that.

Security camera footage shows the man in the image below went straight to the back of the store, placed his large backpack on the floor, picked up several small LEGO sets, then walked out with one of the large LEGO Mindstorms sets worth more than $300.

Shoplifter-backpacker-8-17-16

Later in the week, the man in the white shirt pictured below entered the store carrying an empty gift bag. About 10 minutes later as he was leaving the store, a staff member approached him because she saw that he had a LEGO Mindstorms set in the bag. The man said he had just purchased it at Fred Meyer. Galindo said that man had a number of tattoos on both arms and a tattoo behind his left ear.

Shoplifter-giftbag

Galindo said the store is missing at least four of these expensive LEGO sets. Because of the thefts, Top Ten Toys has instituted a bag check when customers enter the store. Customers who refuse a staff member’s request to look in their bag will be asked to put their bag in their vehicle or come back later without the bag.

The store also will not accept any returns for LEGO Mindstorms sets without a receipt. “We maintain the right to retain the item until said receipt is presented and the sales database is cross referenced,” he told me by email. “There will not be any refunds and/or store credits for LEGO sets that are clearly showing as ‘no sale’ in our system.”

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Bike found in Phinney Ridge

August 22nd, 2016 by Doree

Nancy found a blue bike on her property near North 68th Street and Greenwood Avenue North. If you think it’s yours, call her at 206-604-2570 to identify it.

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UPDATE: SUSPECT ARRESTED — SPD looking for shooting suspect who crashed car near Green Lake

July 15th, 2016 by Doree

Update: SPD arrested the suspect Friday afternoon.

Earlier: If you heard the helicopters overhead this afternoon, Seattle Police are searching for a shooting suspect.

From the SPD Blotter:

Officers responded to multiple reports of shots fired near 5th Avenue NE and NE Northgate Way. Police arrived quickly and located the suspect, but when he saw the officers, he sped off in his green Volvo, with police in pursuit.

The suspect lost control of his car and crashed in the 100 block of NE 80th, so he took off running.
Multiple police resources and a police K9 are in the area looking for him now.

Officers have not located any victims or any received additional reports at this time.

Officers believe that the man pictured here (picture removed, the man is in custody) may be the shooting suspect due to fact the he left his driver’s license in the car.

Anyone with information about this man or this incident should call 911.

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Greenwood and Phinney business owners should be on lookout for possible book selling scam

July 14th, 2016 by Doree

Dr. Jason Hooyman from Hooyman Chiropractic at NW 85th Street and 3rd Avenue NW says a man came to his office on Wednesday, claiming to be selling books to donate to Seattle Children’s Hospital, and was fairly aggressive in his sales pitch, although he didn’t have any books with him.

The man said he was an Iraq war veteran and that he was blind in one eye. He was about 6 feet tall with brown hair, and slightly overweight. He was dressed in shorts and a polo shirt.

KOMO had a story on Wednesday about Queen Anne businesses that were approached by a man with a similar description and the same sales pitch. Those business owners believed it to be a scam.

Did anyone else encounter this man?

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Car prowl victims looking for backpack and laptop

July 5th, 2016 by Doree

Kate tells us a man rode his bike by their friend’s car on Dayton Avenue and North 72nd Street on July 4, around 7 p.m., and smashed the car window, stealing a green backpack and a laptop, among other items.

If anyone sees a large, green Sealine brand rolltop backpack or an old white Mac laptop, please email Kate at theveatchfam@gmail.com.

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UPDATE: FOUND — White Trek bike stolen from in front of Starbucks/Red Mill last night

July 1st, 2016 by Doree

Update: The bike was found by Louie Zamora in the bushes behind the Phinney Neighborhood Center. Max’s family says they’re extremely grateful to Louie since Max’s brother will be riding that bike in the Seattle to Portland ride on July 16.

Earlier: A White Trek Fx bike was stolen from in front of Starbucks and Red Mill sometime last night.

White-Trek-stolen-6-30-16-resized

If you find it, please call Max at 206-661-4109.

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SPD Chief O’Toole meets with Greenwood business owners, residents to talk about neighborhood crime

June 28th, 2016 by Doree

About three dozen Greenwood business owners and residents met with Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole on June 20 to express their concerns about rising crime in the neighborhood.

Chief O’Toole began the meeting with a statistic that has dismayed Seattle residents since she took the helm two years ago: Boston, where she previously worked, has 800-1,000 more officers for a similarly-sized city.

“Policing in Seattle is a work in progress,” Chief O’Toole said while acknowledging neighbors’ frustrations. “We are working very hard on reform. We are trying to use the resources that we have more effectively and efficiently.”

She said when she first arrived, she was surprised that Seattle didn’t have more visible police officers patrolling on foot, instead of in their cars simply racing from one 911 call to another.

One of the biggest concerns expressed by residents and business owners is the proliferation of RV camping, where derelict campers park on side streets or by parks and stay for weeks or months. Neighbors have long complained that people in some of those RVs are causing crime.

“We all agree that homelessness is not a crime, but if there are people committing crimes and terrorizing the neighborhood we need to address that,” Chief O’Toole said.

She said the North Precinct compiled a list of 207 RV and car campers and had offered services to nearly all of them, but many did not take them up on those offers of help. In the week prior to the Greenwood meeting, the North Precinct spent about 130 hours on the issue. Officers posted 86 72-hour notices to move and had impounded 26 vehicles since April. Unfortunately, with a 72-hour notice, cars can simply move down the street and start the process again.

“We’re finding a lot of people facing issues of mental health crisis,” she said of not only car campers but others committing crimes. “The property crime we see in the North Precinct, probably 95 percent of it is directly related to addiction issues.”

North Precinct Capt. Sean O’Donnell said there’s an undercover buy-bust drug operation in Greenwood every two weeks, with most of those arrested being from out of the area.

Elizabeth Chayer, owner of American Dance Institute on the corner of 80th and Greenwood, said her studio had been burglarized five times in the last few months (one of those was an employee’s car parked behind the studio). “My employees are totally wigged out,” she said.

Capt. O’Donnell said he had already directed additional patrols in that area, including officers in cars, on bike and on foot. He’s told officers on bikes to ride down alleys and those on foot to look into every doorway. Chief O’Toole said they could also ask the Major Crimes Task Force to get involved.

“It feels like we’re not safe or secure,” Naked City Brewery Co-owner Bryan Miller said, adding that his business hasn’t been hit yet but he feels like it’s just a matter of time. “It seems most of the crimes happen in the early morning hours before dawn. We just need more protection right now.”

Chief O’Toole said one offender admitted to 300 property crimes in the North Precinct. SPD is now working more closely with the King County Prosecutors Office and the City Attorney’s Office to help people get the services they need and not just go through a revolving door of arrest and then back on the street.

She said King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg recently assigned a prosecutor to work full time with the property crimes task force on prolific offenders. Two officers from the North Precinct are now assigned to work with that task force.

Marnee Chua, owner of Works Progress, a co-working space at 115 N. 85th St., Suite 202, that’s open to members 24-7, has its main entrance in the alley. She said her staff and members are increasingly worried for their safety, and a staff member recently was assaulted on their property. She said the suspects were not arrested and come by all the time and just stare at them through the window until they call the police again.

“I don’t know what else we can do. We have video surveillance, we’re doing the lighting, we warn our members,” Chua said in frustration.

Another issue that residents brought up is the number of vacant houses that appear to house squatters and possibly other criminal activity. Two vacant houses recently caught on fire, including one at 79th and Dayton Avenue on June 6, and another in the 7100 block of Aurora Avenue about a week later.

Officer Joe Bender said SPD has a Vacant Trespass Program, where they work with owners of vacant properties to get blanket authority for officers to go onto the property at any time. That way they don’t have to look up the property owner or registered agent when someone complains of squatters or other issues. So, if any neighbors know of a vacant house with issues, call Officer Bender at 206-233-3984 and he’ll contact the property owner. If an owner won’t work with the Vacant Trespass Program and the home isn’t being kept secure, the city’s Department of Construction and Inspections can be called in.

In the case of the vacant house at Aurora and 71st, Officer Bender said the owner had joined the Vacant Trespass Program a few months ago and officers had been on the property a few times before the fire.

SPD also has a graffiti detective who can link graffiti to a suspect. So it’s important to report any graffiti right away. Take a picture and send it to SPD online before the graffiti is painted over.

Click here for a list of contact information for the North Precinct Community Police Team.

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SPD arrests two men for early morning burglary in Phinney Ridge

June 16th, 2016 by Doree

From the SPD Blotter:

Two men are in custody following an early morning burglary on Phinney Ridge.

Shortly after 3:00 am this morning, neighbors in the 6500 block of 1st Avenue NW called 911 and reported hearing shattering glass and a possible burglary at an unoccupied home. Patrol officers and a K-9 Officer Mark Wong and Ziva arrived quickly and began checking the block.

Two men took off running from the home and were quickly arrested after a brief foot chase.

Upon further inspection officers discovered a broken basement window where the suspects had entered the burglarized house.

Police found one of the suspects was carrying a large quantity of prescription pills in his backpack, as well as probable stolen items. Detectives interviewed the suspects before the two men, ages 23 and 24, were booked into the King County Jail for burglary. The suspect with the pills could also face felony drug charges.

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SPD arrests suspected car thief in Lower Phinney/Ballard

June 15th, 2016 by Doree

From the SPD Blotter:

Police found a car thief asleep at the wheel Monday night after tracking a stolen Honda from Queen Anne to the West Woodland neighborhood.

A Queen Anne resident called SPD around 9 PM Monday from the 3200 block of Conkling Place West and reported someone had stolen his Honda Prelude in the last 24 hours. Fortunately, his car was equipped with a GPS system, which showed the vehicle was parked in the 6500 block of 5th Avenue Northwest.

Officers quickly found the car and discovered there was a 21-year-old man asleep in the driver’s seat. After arresting the man, police found he was carrying a collection of filed-down keys—a tool commonly used by prolific car thieves—along with a tool for breaking windows, a can of lubricant spray, and two passports belonging to other people. Police also recovered a backpack, a briefcase, a box of wrenches, car and stereo parts from the car, none of which belonged the the car’s owner.

Officers booked the 21-year-old–who has previous convictions for auto theft property crimes—into the King County Jail for investigation of auto theft and returned the car to its owner.

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