During December Madison Valley burglaries (14) and car prowl thefts (14) remained close to their November levels. There were three crimes against persons, including an armed robbery committed by a person with a concealed-carry gun permit. Other crimes declined a bit however, so that the overall number for December was approximately 50, similar to November’s total.
The Police Department has markedly improved its posting of reports major crimes, and this month we have details for 13 of the 14 burglaries.
1. On Dec. 4 at 5:15 PM a resident of a home on 26th near Denny called the police to report that upon returning home he had seen a light on and a male, described as about 5′11″ with dark hair and a backpack, inside his front door. When the police arrived shortly thereafter, they found the burglar gone and a glass door in the basement smashed open. The burglar took items worth approximately $12,000, including watches and a laptop. The police found fingerprints in the home.
2. Sometime during Dec. 5 or 6 someone removed the screens to three windows of a home on 32nd near Howell. The would-be burglar failed to get the windows open, however, and was unable to take anything from the home. Police found that fingerprints at the scene were too smeared to be useful.
3. In the early afternoon of Dec. 6 a would-be burglar attempted to enter a home on Republican near 30th by smashing a window pane in the back door. Smashing the glass, however, set off an alarm system that apparently scared the burglar away. A neighbor reported seeing three suspicious-looking young males in the neighborhood at the time, but police found no evidence that they were involved.
4. On Dec. 7 at 1:30 PM police were called to a residence on Olive near 27th to investigate a burglary in progress. On entering the house, the resident saw a burglar in the kitchen, yelled at him, and then left the house to call the police. The burglar, described as a young black male about 5′10″ tall and wearing a black hoodie and a white shirt, ran from the back of the home when confronted by the resident. When the police arrived they searched the house and concluded that the burglar had probably entered via an unlocked window. The burglar stole jewelry, but was apparently frightened away just as he was about to take a laptop and an iPad. The police found fingerprints at the scene.
5. On Dec. 12 around 1 PM four males wearing hoodies and covering their faces entered the back yard behind a business on Union near 24th from an alleyway. After they moved to the front of the business, one of them threw a rock at the door in an attempt to smash its pane. When the rock damaged, but failed to break the pane, three of the intruders fled back to the alley, but the fourth threw another rock at the door. When that rock also failed to break the pane he fled east on Union. All of this was recorded by security cameras on the building, and the tapes have been turned over to the police. The business owner believes that local youth are involved. The rocks caused about $2000 in damage to the front door.
6. During the night of Dec. 13 – 14 someone tried to enter a coffee shop on Madison near 29th by prying locks on a door to the shop. The burglar was unsuccessful, however, and police found no fingerprints.
7. Sometime between 11 PM on Dec. 16 and 8 AM on the 17th, a burglar unsuccessfully tried to force open the front door of a business on Madison near 29th but then found an unlocked window at the northeast corner of the building. Once in, the burglar forced open a safe and took approximately $840. Police found fingerprints at the scene.
8. Police were called to a home on 21st near Aloha on Dec. 17 to investigate a burglary that had occurred sometime in the afternoon or early evening of that day. An employee of the home’s owner reported that when she arrived at the home at about 8:30 PM the back door was unlocked and things appeared to have been moved around. The employee also determined that a person who was taking care of cats in the home had locked the back door when she left the home at about 2:30 that day. Police found that the burglar had disturbed several rooms in the house, and that a bathroom window on the main floor was open. Because the owner was out of town police were unable to determine what, if anything, the burglar took. The police found no fingerprints in the home.
9. On Dec. 18 police tracking a vehicle that had been stolen from a Renton address were directed to a house on Pine near 26th. There they saw a man and woman remove items from the stolen car and walk into the back yard behind the house. When police knocked at the house’s front door no one answered. Shortly afterward, the current resident of the house, which is owned by her grandmother, arrived and suggested that the female suspect was probably another of the owner’s granddaughters. The other granddaughter has a history of car theft and also has been forbidden to be in the grandmother’s house. After obtaining permission to search the basement of the house, the police eventually found both the man and woman hiding behind a mound of dirt in a crawl space. Both were read their Miranda rights and taken into custody. When the police talked to the house’s owner, she confirmed that her granddaughter was banned from her home and asked that she be charged with burglary.
10. Sometime between Dec. 24 and Dec. 28 while the residents were away, a burglar entered a home on 22nd near John through an unlocked window and stole items worth approximately $3000. Although there were marks around the window that the burglar entered, police infer that the burglar wore gloves because they found no usable fingerprints.
11. Sometime between Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 a burglar broke into a residence on 22nd near Madison by removing a screen and opening an unlocked window. The residence, which is currently occupied by eight renters, was unoccupied during that period because of the holidays. The burglar took a camera and jewelry worth approximately $1800 from the room of the renter who contacted the police, but the total amount taken was unknown when the police report was written. The police found no usable fingerprints.
12. At around noon on Dec. 25 there was a non-forced entry burglary at a home on 30th near Pine, but police have not posted a more detailed description of it.
13. Sometime between noon on Dec. 26 and 5:30 PM on the 27th, someone entered an apartment on 23rd near John and stole $15,000 worth of clothing, digital equipment, and cash. Police could find no signs of a forced entry into the apartment, and also found no fingerprints. However, there is a possibility that security cameras recorded the burglar(s) entrance.
14. On Dec. 29 residents who returned to their home on 24th near Howell after spending the afternoon and early evening downtown found that someone had used unsecured windows next to their back door to unlock the door and enter the residence. The burglar(s) took cash and digital equipment worth approximately $1700. Police found fingerprints on the windows by the back door.
Finally, it appears that arrests have or will be made in all of December’s crimes against persons.
1. On Dec. 15 a man used a credit card to buy a beer at the gas station at 23rd and Union but left before the transaction had been electronically approved. When the purchase was denied, an employee followed the man and asked that he pay for the beer or return it. At that point the man opened the beer and drank some of it. When the employee tried to grab the beer, the man punched him in the face and fled. The employee hailed a passing police car to report the incident and shortly afterward the police took the robber into custody. At the police station the police determined that the robber was highly intoxicated and recommended that he spend the night at a sobering center. Because the employee did not want to press charges, the robber was released after spending the night at the center.
2. On Dec. 22 at about 1:45 PM a rider on a southbound bus had his iPhone snatched from his hand by another rider who was getting off the bus at the 23rd and Aloha bus stop. The victim and a witness followed the robber off the bus, and when the robber slipped and fell, the victim grabbed his left hand and asked him to return the iPhone. Instead of doing so the robber showed the victim and the witness that he had a handgun, causing them to back away. As the robber fled east on Valley, the other rider photographed him and then called 911. Shortly after the police arrived they were informed that another police unit had apprehended a suspect at 29th and Valley, and when the victim and witness were taken to that location they identified him as the robber. After the police arrested the suspect, they searched him and found the victim’s iPhone and the robber’s handgun. Shortly afterward the police learned that the robber has a concealed carry weapons permit that is valid through 2019. The police report expresses concern that the robber continues to have a valid permit because (1) he has been arrested for a strong arm robbery at 25th and Madison and (2) on 9/26/2015 he had had a handgun confiscated for public safety concerns after he passed out while intoxicated at 10th and Pine. He later retrieved this weapon from the police, and it was the same handgun that he used in the armed robbery in December.
3. On Dec. 14 at around 5:30 PM a bicyclist commuting south on 19th near Madison was threatened by a woman driving a yellow Chevrolet Spark. The driver, who was unknown to the bicyclist, yelled angrily at him and tried to force him off the street. The driver continued to harass the bicyclist until they approached Union, at which point the bicyclist was able to squeeze past several cars waiting to cross the street. The driver, however, passed the cars on the left and caught up with the bicyclist in the intersection. The bicyclist then yelled at the driver to leave him alone and tried to leave the scene. The driver then drove into the back of the bicycle knocking the bicyclist to the ground. After the driver sped away south on 19th the bicyclist contacted the police, and after they arrived witnesses corroborated the bicyclist’s story and gave the police the car’s license plate number.
Lowell Hargens is a Madison Valley resident and former University of Washington professor of sociology specializing in the statistical analysis of data.