The first four months of 2016 saw relatively high numbers of Madison Valley incidents being reported to the police; nearly 70 per month. After that, however, the monthly numbers fell to around 45 per month. December continued along this pattern, with 47 incidents. As usual, reports of car prowls and vehicle theft constituted the largest category, and although car prowls were down a bit from November, vehicle thefts were up. Five burglaries were reported in December.
1. On Dec. 1 between 4 and 7 PM a burglar entered the garage of a home on 28th near Mercer and stole a bicycle worth approximately $2000. There was no evidence of forced entry to either the garage or the home, and although the burglar left a small flashlight at the scene, the police found no fingerprints on it or on other surfaces in the garage.
2. Shortly after 5 AM on Dec. 2 police responded to an alarm at a convenience market near E. Madison and 29th. When they arrived, they found that the doors of the market had been broken down and that there were marks on the floor indicating that something had been dragged from the store. Further examination of the premises showed that the cash registers in the store had not been tampered with, but that it appeared that an ATM had been torn from its moorings on the floor and dragged from the building. At 5:25 AM the police at the scene learned that an ATM had just been found in an alley in the 2800 block of E. Harvard Ave. Around 7 AM police returned to the store at the owner’s request and viewed a video of the burglary that had been recorded by a security camera. The video showed that at 5 AM a white van had pulled up in front of the store and that two men then unsuccessfully tried to force the doors open. At this point the van rammed the doors open and the two men entered, pushed over the ATM, and dragged it into the van. The van, apparently driven by a third person, then drove away. The owner of the store identified the ATM found in the Harvard Ave. alley as the one that had been in the store and opened it with a key he had been using for that ATM. The burglars apparently were unable to open the ATM because the police report indicates a loss of only one dollar as a result of the burglary whereas the ATM contained a substantial sum.
3. Sometime during Dec. 11–12 a burglar broke into the basement of a home on E. 24th near Ward. The home is being remodeled and the resident was ill and bedridden during the time of the break in. The burglar rummaged through the basement, which was being used as a storage area during the remodeling, and stole a custom bicycle.
4. On Dec. 15 between 8 AM and 10 PM a burglar broke into a home on Washington Place E. near Ward by smashing a back-door window and reaching through and unlocking the door. The burglar then ransacked the house and stole jewelry of undisclosed value, $2000 in cash, and spare keys to the owner’s car. Police found no fingerprints at the scene.
5. On Dec. 16 sometime between noon and 4 PM someone took a package containing personal documents from the secure lobby of an apartment complex on 23rd near Howell. There was no evidence that the burglar forcibly entered the lobby, but video footage of the incident was not available at the time of the police report.
Finally, there was a robbery in December.
On Dec. 20 at about 6:30 PM a robber, described as a white male around 25 years old and 5′11″ tall, grabbed a backpack and a wallet from a woman exiting the Safeway store at 22nd and Madison. The woman snatched the backpack back, and in doing so spilled its contents on to the floor of the store, but the robber retained the wallet and ran out of the store heading east on Madison. Two other people at the scene chased the robber, but were unable to catch him. The victim was injured when she fell while attempting to grab the backpack from the robber. The incident was recorded on the store’s security cameras.
Lowell Hargens is a Madison Valley resident and former University of Washington professor of sociology specializing in the statistical analysis of data.