Incidents in Madison Valley reported to the police during February remained at the relatively low level we have experienced during the past several months. Of the 40 incidents reported only about one quarter were car prowls or vehicle thefts, but this decline was balanced by increases in theft and property damage/graffiti. Six burglaries were reported in February.
1. Sometime between 9:30 and noon on Feb. 2 a burglar gained entry to a third-floor apartment on E. Olive near 23rd and stole three rings valued at approximately $10,500. The police found no fingerprints and although the apartment was locked at the time, there was no evidence of a forced entry. The resident told police, however, that it is easy to open the locked door to his apartment with a credit card.
2. On Feb. 6 at 4:26 AM police responded to a report of a burglary at a restaurant on Madison near Lake Washington Blvd. When they arrived, an employee told them that someone had smashed a glass door leading to the restaurant's office. There was no evidence that anything had been taken, however, and two safes next to office door were intact. No fingerprints were found at the scene.
3. At around 9:20 AM on Feb. 9 neighbors across the alley from a residence on 21st Ave. E. near Mercer noticed a man who appeared to be disoriented and who was talking to himself in the alleyway. Because the man, described as a thin white male around 50 years old with brown hair and a beard, was wearing shorts during a heavy downpour, one of the neighbors called 911, but when units arrived he had left the scene, apparently heading west on Mercer. When the resident of the home on 21st learned of the incident, she found that her backyard storage unit, which was unlocked at the time, had been burglarized. When her neighbors described the man who had been in the alley, she realized that he was probably the same person who had been arrested for stealing her Yamaha scooter last August. The police report notes that that person was due to be sentenced for the previous offense on Feb. 24. It also notes that the scooter had been damaged in the present incident, possibly in retaliation for the earlier arrest.
4. During the morning of Feb. 18 there was a forced-entry burglary at a residence on Union near 30th Ave., but the police have not released a description of this incident.
5. Police were called to a building on Denny near 25th on Feb. 25 to investigate a burglary that had occurred sometime in the previous couple of days. The victim reported that someone had entered the building's secure storage area and taken two bicycles worth approximately $1200. The bikes’ front wheels had been locked to a bike rack in the storage area, but the burglar was able to take the bikes after removing their front wheels. No fingerprints were found at the scene.
6. On Feb. 26 police were called to a house on 26th near Denny to investigate a burglary. Once there they found that the house had recently been sold by its previous owner, who was in the process of moving to a new location. A neighbor had notified the previous owner on Feb. 23 that several people had been seen exiting the house that day. When the previous owner returned to the house on the 26th to remove the remainder of his possessions, he found that basement windows had been broken and that there were signs that someone else had occupied the house. However, the previous owner reported that nothing seemed to be missing from the house.
During February, there was also an incident that began as a shoplift but ended as a robbery.
Around 10 P.M. on Feb. 6 a clerk at the liquor store on Union near 23rd observed a man putting five liquor bottles inside his coat. After being confronted by the clerk, the man defied him and headed for the door. Three bottles fell out of the man's coat when he reached the door and when the clerk grabbed the man's coat outside the store he was able to recover the other two bottles. At that point, the man threatened to shoot the clerk and fled from the scene. Police found multiple fingerprints on the bottles and the store is well covered by security cameras.
Lowell Hargens is a Madison Valley resident and former University of Washington professor of sociology specializing in the statistical analysis of data.