There were 48 incidents in Madison Valley reported to the police during January, one more than in December and on par with recent monthly totals. Although there were no robberies or aggravated assaults, attempted and completed burglaries increased to a total of eleven. However, apparently only four of the eleven burglaries resulted in property being stolen.
1. Sometime between Dec. 12 2016 and Jan. 12 2017 someone broke into a storage room at an apartment building on Denny Way near 24th and stole a bicycle and sleeping bags worth approximately $2500. The owner called the police after discovering the burglary, and although they found no fingerprints they did take into evidence a pocket knife that had apparently been used to remove the hinges from the door of the storage room.
2. Police were called to an apartment building on 20th near John on Jan. 4 to investigate an attempted burglary that occurred at approximately 3 AM that morning. When they arrived, a resident showed them a video recording of a white male wearing black clothing prying open the front door of the building and attempting, but failing, to pry open the mailboxes in the lobby. The man then fled the building, apparently without taking anything. The police found no usable fingerprints at the scene.
3. On Jan. 9 police were called to an apartment building on Union near 24th by a resident who reported that her laptop had been stolen. She told the police that during the afternoon of Jan. 8 someone must have entered her apartment and taken the laptop, worth approximately $1000, during a time when she was moving her possessions between apartments on different floors of the building.
4. Also on Jan. 9 someone stole a valuable raincoat from an atrium in an apartment building on 20th near Mercer. Because a work crew had temporarily removed an access door to the building, the police speculate that a burglar may have entered while the work was going on. The apartment building does not have a video surveillance system.
5. At approximately 1:15 PM on Jan. 12 an alarm was tripped by someone who was exiting an apartment on John near 21st. When the resident returned home to investigate he found that a burglar had thrown a rock through the kitchen window and climbed upon a recycling bin to enter through the window. The burglar ransacked the apartment but apparently took nothing except a plastic bag containing the ashes of the resident's deceased wife, which were stored in a container in the bedroom closet. The resident speculated that perhaps the burglar mistook the ashes for a narcotic in powder form. Police found no usable fingerprints at the scene but did forward objects that the burglar handled to the police lab for further study.
6. On Jan. 13 at around 1 AM police were called to a restaurant on 19th near Mercer to investigate a possible burglary in process. When they arrived, they found that someone had smashed the glass portion of the restaurant's front door but they found no one present when they searched the building. After being called to the scene and doing a search of the restaurant, the manager reported that nothing seemed to be missing. The police found no fingerprints at the scene.
7. On Jan. 16 police were called to a residential treatment center on Madison near 28th in connection with an attempted burglary. When they arrived, they learned that a witness had found one of the residents in another resident's room with the apparent object of stealing something. Further inquiry revealed that the offender has a history of entering other residents’ rooms even though she has been warned to stop doing it. A manager of the facility told police that although the offender would not be evicted on the basis of this incident, the police had been called so that the attempted burglary could be officially documented.
8. On Jan. 19 police were called to an apartment building, apparently the same building as in incident 2 above, to investigate another attempted burglary. Once again someone had pried open the front door and this time the mailboxes had also been pried open. At the time of the police report it was unknown if the burglar had taken anything from the mailboxes, and there is no mention of video footage in the police report.
9. Police were called to a nightclub on Union near 23rd around midnight on Jan. 17 to investigate a possible assault. When they arrived, an employee reported that a customer who had earlier been asked to leave the premises had returned and threatened him with a beer bottle. The employee also told the police that he feared for his safety because he had had a physical altercation with the customer in the past. The would-be assailant is being charged with both harassment and burglary.
10. On January 20 at 4 PM police were called to a home on 24th Ave. E. near Highland to investigate a burglary that occurred earlier that day. A resident told police that he had left the home locked and secure at 7:55 AM that day and that when he returned he found that it had been ransacked. The burglar broke in through the front door of the house and a surveillance camera recorded an unknown male knocking at the door around noon that day. Police found fingerprints on the front door and on a laptop inside of the home. The police report does not list any stolen objects and places a value of only one dollar on the loss due to the burglary.
11. On Jan. 31 at 4 AM police responded to an alarm at a specialty store on Union near 23rd. When they arrived, they found that the front door of the business had been pried open and that although it appeared that burglars had entered the store, there was no one present when the police arrived. Nothing appeared to have been taken during the burglary and a later examination of video footage of the incident showed that four masked people had entered, frantically searched the store, and then had left after about two minutes, apparently without taking anything. No fingerprints were found in the store and damage to the front door was estimated at $1500.
Lowell Hargens is a Madison Valley resident and former University of Washington professor of sociology specializing in the statistical analysis of data.