Friday, July 3, 2009

Reports from the East Precinct
June 22 - June 30

Bank robber caught red handed: There seemed to be something suspicious about a man who walked out of the Chase branch on Capitol Hill (1204 Broadway) one afternoon last week. He was covered in red dye, and his jacket seemed to be spewing a red powder of some sort. The man, obviously upset by this state of affairs, threw his jacket onto the ground and proceeded down the street, but not before being seen in the act by a very observant witness. A police parking enforcement officer just happened to be in the area and was approached by the witness, who explained what he had seen and then took the officer to where the jacket had been discarded. The officer broadcast the description of the suspect on her police radio a few moments before another broadcast was heard stating that Chase had been robbed by a man fitting the description.

Coincidentally, the captain of the East Precinct, Paul McDonagh, happened to be in the area and noticed the suspect walking down the 800 block of Pike Street. He and another officer apprehended the dye-stained man, who then got a free ride to the King County Jail. Believe it or not, less than a year ago a bank branch on Broadway just one block from of Chase was robbed by a different man who suffered the same bad timing. In that case, Sgt. Jay Shin was walking down the street when he noticed a man carrying what seemed to be smoking incense. On a closer observation, however, Sgt. Shin realized that it was an exploding red-dye pack, often slipped into the cash given to unwitting bank robbers by tellers. When Sgt. Shin apprehended the man, the suspect refused to let go of the money in spite of the fact that his hands were being burned by the smoking dye pack. At the time of the arrest, there were no reports of any bank having been robbed in the area. But shortly thereafter, the report came through—well after the police had their man. Incidentally, the last name of the suspect in last week’s robbery, Poor-Bear, was transposed as “Poor-Boy” in the police report, which pretty wells sums it up.

Red flagging leads to arrest: The Bank of America branch located on the 1300 block of E. Madison Street was the scene last week of a forgery arrest after a woman attempted to cash a stolen check. The teller was alerted to the possible fraud by the fact that the suspect had a “red flagged” account, one where suspicious activity had previously been detected by the bank. A little checking by the teller confirmed that the check was invalid, and 911 was called. The suspect claimed that it was all an innocent mistake. She stated that she was owed some money by a man (whose name she claimed not to know) who wrote her the check and then waited with a couple friends in his car for her to cash the check. Surprisingly, the men were nowhere to be found when the police went to investigate her story. The suspect was booked into the King County Jail.

Water tower rip off: The Parks department last week reported that someone had stolen an “exhibit” from its display case on the top floor of the Volunteer Park water tower. Although the value of the object was listed as $9,000, the police report was curiously deficient regarding what exactly the exhibit consisted of. Some copper piping, perhaps? Whatever he took, the perpetrator left no fingerprints at the scene.

Rooms with a view: Police were called to the 400 block of Belmont Avenue E. last week to investigate a chainsaw-wielding crew that was cutting the top branches of several trees which appeared to be on City property. The tree cutters had no permit to cut and no business license, but they claimed to have been hired by the owner of an apartment building at that location. When contacted, the building owner reportedly told the officer that he had hired the men to cut the lower tree branches because they had been hitting him on the head. He also claimed to have a letter from the City stating that the trees were on his property. The officer noted that the trees his crew was cutting did not have low-hanging branches, that it was the tree “crowns” that had been removed, and that all of the tress clearly appeared to be on City property. Additionally, the removal of the trees' branches had a beneficial effect on the apartment building since it appeared to create a view and sunny conditions for the top floor. The case was turned over to the City Arborist for review and possible action.

Do I know you?: On June 25 a man came into the precinct station to report that he had been at a downtown club when a stranger came up to him, embraced him, and began hugging him. When the man told the stranger that he did not know him, the guy backed off, apologized and walked away. Only later did the victim notice that his cash and driver’s license were both missing from his pocket. Unfortunately, the perpetrator was nowhere to be found once the theft was discovered.

Patient discharged directly to jail : The police were called to Harborview on Monday to deal with a female patient named Misty who got testy when denied some juice and crackers by the discharging nurse. After calling the nurse a choice name or two she spit in the nurse’s face, according to the victim and a witness. The police did not buy Misty’s story, however, that she may have accidentally spit some blood on the nurse while simply talking to her. They helped Misty complete her hospital discharge as well as her admission to the ”KCJ” (King County Jail).

There were several armed robberies in the central area during this period, including one where the suspects were apprehended by East Precinct officers. Madison Park itself was quiet, with only a car prowl and a petty theft reported during the period.

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