Category Archives: Crime

Robberies Down Near Transit Lines

The SPD is reporting that extra efforts near light rail stations have been effective:

After Emphasis Effort, Robberies Down Near South Seattle Transit Lines

When robbers began targeting transit riders along South Seattle train and bus lines late this summer, commanders in the South PrecpbFHEufvtTPDQtx-556x313-noPadinct took action, putting more officers on bikes and foot beats to combat thieves stealing cellphones and jewelry.

Those efforts are apparently paying off. “Since we’ve started the emphasis, our street robberies have dropped about 50 percent over what they were in August,” South Precinct commander David Proudfoot said Wednesday.

Using precinct crime data and information gathered through SPD’s SeaStat program, analysts established specific days of the week and hours for most effective deployment and then increased high-visibility emphasis patrols in the Rainier Valley.

For example the precinct’s Community Police Team has been assigned to bike patrols in the neighborhood, Third Watch officers are deploying in extended evening shifts to work foot beats, SPD’s Traffic Unit officers are supplementing South Precinct’s patrols, and Gang and SWAT units will be deployed when available.

The South Precinct also is using its Mobile Command Center in the Rainier Valley emphasis areas to increase police visibility.

The department is focusing attention on suspects committing crimes in multiple precincts. The South Precinct’s Anti-Crime Team is working with the Department of Corrections to arrest known repeat-offenders in the Rainier Valley with active warrants.

In addition, the South Precinct is dedicating officers to visit Rainier Valley schools and build relationships with community groups. It’s also working with the city’s Joint Enforcement Team to ensure businesses—such as pawn and jewelry shops—believed to be buying stolen jewelry and electronics are properly permitted and are following state-required guidelines on all purchases.

Police Looking for Suspect in Columbia City Theater Burglary

Kiro has an update on last week’s burglary at the Columbia City Theater:

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Police are looking for a 55-year-old man suspected of breaking into a theater in Columbia City and stealing more than $1,500 last week. Police said Calvin E. Beaver is suspected of breaking into a theater in the 4900 block of Rainier Avenue South the night of Sept. 21.

Police are looking for a 55-year-old man suspected of breaking into a theater in Columbia City and stealing more than $1,500 last week.

Police said Calvin E. Beaver is suspected of breaking into a theater in the 4900 block of Rainier Avenue South the night of Sept. 21.

Beaver is believed to have entered the back of the theater.

When an employee confronted Beaver, Beaver fled theater and got into a vehicle that was waiting outside.

Police said witnesses wrote down the vehicle’s license plate and gave it to police. Authorities tracked down the vehicle, which led to Beaver as the suspect.

Anyone with information is urged to call robber detectives at 206-684-5355.

Columbia City Theater Theft

Komo’s Michael Harthorne reported on a recent theft at the Columbia City Theater. The intensely-cologned suspect is still at large:logo22-31

Staff and performers at the Columbia City Theater were able to identity a man suspected of stealing more than $2,000 from the venue Sunday night thanks to the cloud of intense cologne he left lingering at the scene of the crime, according to the Seattle Police Department.

According to the police report for the incident, the owner of the venue found someone had stolen the $2,328 collected from that night’s show from a file cabinet in the office. He also noticed there was a strong odor of cologne wafting about the office area.

The owner told police he realized it was the same cologne he smelled while standing near a man watching the bands earlier. The owner found the odoriferous man hanging out near the bathrooms and confronted him.

According to the report, the man denied stealing anything despite having pockets that appeared to be stuffed with paper. The man reportedly got away from attempts to detain him and ran out of the venue.

The owner came across $180 in cash in a neighboring yard as he followed the man, who crossed the street and got into a black Mercedes sedan parked in a lot, according to the report.

The owner closed the gate to the parking lot and tried to lock it but wasn’t quick enough, having to jump out of the way as the Mercedes sped up to the gate.

According to the report, a woman in a “nice black dress” got out of the passenger seat of the Mercedes, opened the gate and got back into the car. The owner was able to get the license plate number as the Mercedes drove off into the night.

While officers were investigating the incident, one of the musicians who was playing in a band on tour from Portugal came forward and told them he saw the man go into the office earlier and come out adjusting his shirt like he was hiding something. The musician said the man smelled of “intense perfume.”

Police were able to get a name for the suspect from the Mercedes’ license plate number but were unable to find him at any of his listed addresses.

Bikeworks Robbed

It’s been a tough week for Bikeworks. The story was a few days late in breaking, but last Friday, the beloved Columbia City nonprofit was robbed with the thieves stealing over 20 bikes that were designated for underprivileged families. Komo’s Lindsey Cohen has the story.

Yellow-testThieves broke into a South Seattle nonprofit Friday night that fixes donated bicycles for underpriveleged kids — but they didn’t stop there.

The staff at Bike Works, located at 3709 South Ferdinand Street, arrived at the shop Saturday morning to find someone had cut through large metal bars on the barbed wire fence. The thieves then sliced through cable locks and stole BMX bikes that had been donated by the community, fixed up by kids, and were meant for underpriveleged families in the community.

“It’s just wrong. We’ve spent so much time working on those bikes and someone just comes and cuts the fence and just steals them,” said Marcus Cline-Hill, a 13-year old who worked on some of the stolen bikes. “That’s messed up.”

“We’re a non-profit and with all of the good will we’re trying to spread in the community — this was really disheartening,” added Tina Bechler, Bike Works director. “It was pretty demoralizing, particularly when the youth started hearing about it, and knowing that all that hard work had gone to somebody taking the bikes.”

Adults who work at the Columbia City organization reported the theft to police and fixed the fence Saturday.

Staffers returned Sunday morning to find the thieves had broken in overnight — again.

“The repeat was a shocker for us. We definitely tried to seal everything back down,” added Bechler. “To be so brazen to return to the scene of the crime — we weren’t expecting that.”

“It’s really surprising that anybody would take away from this community something that’s trying to make the community better,” added Julian Hietter, a 12-year old who has participated in Bike Works for three years. “We’re not selling these bikes to make a ton of money. We’re just trying to give back.”

Workers have upgraded security at the South Seattle location, including installing motion-detected security lights. The nonprofit is also trying to figure out how it is going to replace the nearly 20 stolen BMX bicycles.

“Maybe we just need to put bigger signs in the yard that are like, ‘we give these bikes away,'” added Bechler. “Please don’t steal from us.”

To watch the Komo news clip, click here.

Update: Komo has also posted a follow-up regarding the donations that have been pouring in since the theft.

Violent Home Invasion/Robbery

Q13’s James Lynch reported on a violent home invasion and robbery that happened in Columbia City on Monday night. Watch the news coverage here:dang

It was a violent and brutal home invasion robbery in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood.

There were four to six intruders — two of them armed with handguns equipped with red lasers. No shots were fired but father of the family, Tam Dang, was pistol-whipped.

A gash in his head took six staples to close.

His daughter Ngan Dang said, “They hit me and my boyfriend a couple of times but not that bad compared to my dad.”

It happened just after 2 a.m. Monday.The family was awakened by the sound of the front door being kicked open.“Just one kick, then there come another one and they busted in,” Dang said.

Ngan and her dad tried to barricade themselves in a bedroom while the rest of the family hid upstairs,

“Me and my dad was just trying to push up against the door. We didn’t close it in time,” Ngan said.

The men forced the family all into one bedroom, and then started making demands.

“They say, ‘Get down, get down and give us what you have!’ And they were asking for cash, but we said we don’t have cash here,” Ngan said.

With no cash, the thieves settled for everyone’s jewelry — from the adults and from the babies, too.

When a car pulled up outside, the thieves took off.

“They pointed a gun at us and said get down and they ran out,” Dang said.

“You know this neighborhood, growing up here, it’s always been a little sketchy,” neighbor Dennis Lee said.

Longtime neighbors like Lee remember when Columbia City was a dangerous place.

But since the Light Rail station opened and new apartments built, things have been better. Clearly, Lee says, there is more work to be done.

“I thought that things like that would be over with, but, you know, I guess there are still things like that that go on,” Lee said.

Within hours of the invasion, the family increased their home security. They’ve installed a new steel door — and a new alarm system is next.

Police are asking anyone who knows anything about this crime to call 911.

Cross “Walk-In” for Safe Streets Tomorrow

In response to the recent accident on Rainier  and in an effort to bring more attention to the traffic and safety issues in the neighborhood, concerned neighbors have organized a Cross “Walk-In” for Safe Streets tomorrow at 4:30 at Rainier and Ferdinand. The official Facebook page for the event has all the details as well as an ongoing discussion about what steps should be taken:10678515_10152777971943974_9037886947869869228_n

Please join your friends, family, neighbors, customers,business owners, schoolmates, fellow community members of Rainier Ave. South for a lawful, public demonstration.

Our goal: To promote action from Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to slow traffic on Rainier and improve safety for all.

What will we do at 4:30pm on Friday?
Just cross the street together when the pedestrian light turns to the walking signal.
– We will all cross Rainier at the same time and we will continue crossing until everyone is on the other side.
– Then, we will wait for the next walking signal and cross Rainier in the same manner going the other way
– We will continue to cross the street at Rainier and Ferdinand until 5:30pm.

Please invite your friends and neighbors.

Crosscut on Columbia City, Density, and Traffic Risks

Crosscut’s Anthony B. Robinson has new piece up outlining his thoughts on how with greater density, comes greater risk. He uses Columbia City as his model neighborhood and gets into the specifics of last week’s accident at Ferdinand and Rainier (which he witnessed) as proof that Seattle needs to take proactive steps to make neighborhoods like ours safer. Read the whole piece by clicking here:

Columbia City has been one of the great success stories of urban renaissance in Seattle over the last two decades.

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Photo from the Seattle PI

Once known for gangs, drugs and violence, things began to change with the Friday Night Columbia City Beat Walks (art and music in various venues) in the early 1990’s and the Farmer’s Market later that decade. Both brought a positive new atmosphere and renewed civic pride.

A Landmark District status provided a important mandate to save historic buildings. This contributed to Columbia City’s character and appeal as new businesses moved into the area along Rainier Ave. south of Alaska Avenue. The nearby light rail station has provided further impetus for additional housing and renovation of existing housing. The historic Carnegie library at the corner of Alaska and Rainier anchors the neighborhood, surrounded by a modest but inviting park and greenspace. The library was one of twelve Seattle branch libraries remodeled in the last decade.

Signs of Columbia City’s success are everywhere today; its sidewalks are crowded with pedestrians and city life. People sit at sidewalk tables in front of Tutta Bella, the Columbia City Bakery, Lottie’s and other restaurants, pubs and coffee houses. There are several new live music venues.

But all of this comes with risk: the risk of being on a busy thoroughfare where cars often move too fast and where police patrols are often few and far between.

The piece goes on to explain how last week’s accident fits with this risk. Again, read the whole piece here.

Family from Crash Speak to Kiro

As you can probably tell from the news trucks that are still showing up in the neighborhood, there’s been a ton of local news coverage regarding last week’s accident at Rainier and Ferdinand. Kiro posted the details of an interview from the family that was in the Grecian Delight and was able to escape. As posted earlier, husband/father, Phillip Moore, is still facing the possibility of permanent eye-damage due to injuries suffered from burns:

Phillip Moore was eating lunch at a Columbia City restaurant Thursday with his wife and daughter when an SUV slammed through the wall.
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Only after he was dragged out of the burning building did he see his daughter.

He had been looking for her in the restaurant, which was full of flames.

“My eyes, I couldn’t open my eyes. The burning inside my eyelids was so horrific,” said Moore.

He couldn’t initially find his daughter, who says she ran from the chaos to a back room.

“I didn’t know it was a car, and it just came through the wall and it exploded,” said 7-year-old Meara Moore.

“It was scary,” she added.

Moore thought his daughter was trapped under the SUV.

“I really thought she was dead, and I thought this is it. My life’s finished. So, I wasn’t really bothered what happened to me, to be honest with you,” said Moore.

And so he put his face into the flames to search.

Read Nick McGurk’s entire piece for Kiro here. 

Injury Update: Man Possibly Blinded from Burns Inflicted Durring Yesterday’s Accident

Deborah Home at KiroTV has an update on Issquah resident Phillip Moore who was injured and may be facing permanent eye damage from burns suffered when trying to rescue his 7-year old daughter from the SUV that slammed into the Grecian Delight where his family was eating:

An Issaquah woman said her husband may have been blinded when he tried to rescue their 7-year-old daughter from a burning building after it was hit by an out-of-control SUV.

Kasandra Moore, 34, said they were eating lunch at the Grecian Delight at Rainier Avenue South and South Ferdinand Street Thursday afternoon.

She remembers hearing an explosion then blacking out.  When she came to, the room was filled with fire.

She made it out of the building then realized she didn’t know where her daughter was and tried to run back in.

“They told me I couldn’t go back in and I’m screaming, ‘My daughter’s in there, my daughter’s in  there!  Help, somebody please help my little girl,’ ” said Moore.  “I thought where the car was, was on top of where the table and chairs we sat on. And I thought she was under the car. My husband thought she was under the car.”

So 59-year-old Phillip Moore went back in, too, and tried to lift the burning vehicle.

“He was over there under the car with it on fire and the flames,” she said. “The chemicals and the flames, I guess, from the grease of the restaurant and the car’s gas and stuff coming out and anti-freeze,” said Kasandra Moore.

The toxic mix burned his eyes.

“He can’t see right now,” Kasandra Moore said.  “The doctors don’t know if he will ever see again, to be honest.”

The Moores were the only customers in the restaurant when the SUV struck the building.

Seattle police said the SUV that crashed revved up before it struck the building.  It crashed first through a hair salon, heavily damaging it, and then into the restaurant.

Kasandra Moore said the SUV struck her daughter and pushed her to a counter where there was an opening. The girl managed to crawl into the kitchen to safetyand only had bumps and bruises.

Phillip Moore wasn’t as lucky.

Doctors likely won’t know whether he can see until the bandages are removed.

Read the whole piece here.

More Details on Yesterday’s Accident

The Seattle Times‘ Sara Jean Green has the a new piece this morning outlining some of the specific events that occurred yesterday at the corner of Rainier and Edmunds. We’re all lucky to have such amazing and caring neighbors who jumped into help without hesitation:

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Alan Berner / Seattle Times

When an SUV crashed through a hair salon and Greek deli, pinning a family of three to a wall in Columbia City on Thursday afternoon, a group of witnesses grabbed fire extinguishers from nearby restaurants and raced to pull out furniture and debris to free the people trapped inside.

“God worked a miracle today,” said the Rev. Don Davis, pastor of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Columbia City, marveling that no one was killed.

“We didn’t hesitate at all,” said Davis, who was among those who ran into the historic building on the southwest corner of Rainier Avenue South and South Ferdinand Street to help.

“It was black, white, all of us, just pulling stuff out. That’s how we do it in Columbia City — we stick together.”

According to Seattle police, witnesses reported hearing the SUV’s engine revving just before it tore through the two businesses. Officers are investigating what caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

The SUV, driven by a woman in her 40s, was heading south on Rainier Avenue South just before 1:30 p.m. when it veered off the street and crashed into the Carol Cobb Salon and continued into The Grecian Delight deli next door, said Seattle Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore.

A father, mother and their 10-year-old daughter who were eating at the deli were pinned between the front of the SUV and a wall, he said. Firefighters were able to extricate the family within 12 minutes and all three were taken to Harborview Medical Center in stable condition with minor injuries, Moore said.

In the salon, a boy, about 6 to 8 years old, suffered burns to his head and a woman was injured by falling debris, according to Moore. The child and woman were also taken to Harborview, and another woman inside the salon suffered minor injuries but wasn’t taken to the hospital.

The driver did not have any apparent injuries but was taken to Harborview to get checked out, Moore said.

The impact of the crash, which shattered windows and demolished walls, caused at least two large cracks at the building’s crown, raising concerns that the one-story building could collapse, Moore said. Firefighters wedged temporary metal support posts between the sidewalk and the storefront window frames to shore up the exterior walls.

Officials kept people from entering the building and left the SUV inside until city engineers could assess the extent of the structural damage, Moore said…

The article goes on to discuss the history of the 1905 building as well as the customers and employees from around the area who rushed to the scene to put out fires and help those injured by the accident. Be sure to read the whole thing here .