There were 69 Madison Valley incidents reported to the police in November, substantially higher than monthly average for the year so far. Car prowl and vehicle thefts were once again the most numerous kind of incident and increased a bit compared to previous months, but burglaries, with twelve reports during November, showed the biggest jump in prevalence.
1. During the night of Nov. 9–10 someone smashed in the glass front door of a business on Union near 20th and stole approximately $600 in cash and computer equipment. Although there are surveillance cameras on the building, the business owner did not know whether they were functioning at the time of the burglary. No fingerprints were found at the scene.
2. While investigating the above burglary during the morning of Nov. 10, police discovered that there had been another forcible-entry burglary during the previous night at a specialty store on Union near 24th. The burglar apparently took only a tablet computer, and no fingerprints were found.
3. Police were called on Nov. 10th to investigate a burglary on 29th Ave. E. near Denny that occurred during the late afternoon of that day. The burglar apparently broke into the house via a window or door in the basement and then stole $400 worth of items, including jewelry and a watch.
4. Also on Nov. 10, and at about the same time, a burglar entered a residence on 24th near Union by forcing open a rear window. The burglar stole $500 worth of digital devices, tip money and 1/8 oz. of marijuana, but left no fingerprints.
5. On Nov. 13 police were called to a residence in the 2900 block of E. Madison to investigate a burglary that occurred sometime between 11 AM and 11:45 PM that day. The burglar apparently entered through an unlocked kitchen window and then stole approximately $1700 worth of property. Police found no fingerprints at the scene.
6. Sometime between 7PM and 9PM on Nov. 14 a burglar gained entry to a home on Roy St. near 26th by unfastening the screws holding the mail slot in place and then reaching inside to unlock the deadbolt of the adjacent door. The police report does not list the items stolen, which had an approximate value of $500, but does report that several stolen purses were recovered in a neighbor’s driveway, and that the neighbor also found a screwdriver and knife that the burglar apparently used in gaining access to the home. The police have submitted these tools to the Police Department’s Evidence Unit to search for possible fingerprints.
7. On Nov. 16 police were called to a townhouse on 24th near Union to investigate a possible burglary. The owner, who was out of the country, had asked a friend to periodically check the residence, and on the 16th the friend called the police when he found the home in disarray. The police found that an intruder had entered the home by smashing a sliding glass door in the rear of the building and also found evidence that the intruder had been living in the home for a while. Although the friend believed that the burglar had taken a flat screen TV from the home, he and the police were unable to determine if any thing else was missing, or indeed whether some of the items in the house belonged to the intruder. Police found fingerprints in the home and also interviewed neighbors, one of whom reported seeing an unfamiliar man leaving the area with a blue plastic bag earlier in the day.
8. On Nov. 17 two residents of a building on 21st near Denny reported that between Nov. 15 and 17 someone had broken into their storage closet at the front of the unit and stolen approximately $600 worth of camping equipment. The police found no fingerprints.
9. Also on Nov. 17 a burglar attempted to enter the same residence on 24th near Union that was burglarized on Nov. 10. The burglar attempted to pry open the same window used in the previous burglary, but failed to get it open. Although the burglar failed to gain entry, the police were able to find fingerprints and believe that the same person was involved in both incidents.
10. Sometime during the day on Nov. 17, a burglar pried open a bedroom window at the back of a residence on 32nd Ave. near Thomas and stole camera equipment and a gaming console. Although the home was occupied by a large dog, the burglar succeeded in confining the dog in the kitchen during the burglary.
11. On Nov. 23 residents who had been out of town over the weekend returned to their home on 27th near Howell around 11 PM to find the front door unlocked, kitchen cabinets open, and other signs that someone had been present while they were away. After calling the police and waiting until they determined that one else was present, the residents found that various items, including computer and entertainment equipment, liquor, cash, passports and cameras were missing. They also determined that the burglar had entered by forcing open a sliding glass door at the rear of the residence. Police found fingerprints at the scene.
12. There was a non-forcible entry burglary on Nov. 25 at a business on Madison near 31st St., but the police have not posted a detailed description of this event.
There was also one robbery and one attempted robbery during November.
1. On Nov. 9, at approximately 9:30 PM, a woman and two men approached a customer at a gas station at the corner of 23rd and Union and told him to hand over his car keys. After threatening the victim with a knife, one of the males punched the him in the shoulder, ripped his keys from his hand, and then used the keys to hit him in the eye. After they left with his keys, the victim tried to call 911 from a public phone at the gas station, but it was out of order. According to the victim, a clerk from the gas station then came outside but refused to call 911 and told him to leave the premises. After being taken home by an acquaintance, the victim went to Harborview Hospital the next morning because his eye was swollen shut. Unfortunately, the victim could not give a detailed description of his assailants. The manager of the gas station told the police that the station was monitored by a video camera, but was unable to give the police the video record. (It would seem that there is more to this incident than the information contained in the police report.)
2. On Nov. 14 an employee at the Safeway store at 22nd and Madison noticed a man, whom she had seen a few minutes earlier filling his shopping cart with laundry supplies, pass by the cash registers without paying and carrying a full backpack. When she followed and tried to grab his backpack, the man shoved her away and then attempted to punch her. Seeing the altercation, another employee rushed over and grabbed the backpack, which tore open and spilled out six bottles of laundry supplies. The shoplifter/robber then fled without the backpack and was last seen heading north on 19th Ave. Store surveillance cameras recorded the incident and on the basis of the camera footage and a name in a Bible that was also contained in the backpack, police have tentatively identified a suspect.
Additional information can be found at the SPD’s police reports website.
Lowell Hargens is a Madison Valley resident and former University of Washington professor of sociology specializing in the statistical analysis of data.