Sunday, June 26, 2011
Police Blotter 6/20/11
The Seattle Police continue to give special attention to the public drug-use problem in Madison Park. As we reported last month, stepped-up police patrols are now occurring in the neighborhood, especially at the waterfront road ends of E. Lee, E. Prospect, and E. Highland Streets. It appears, at least anecdotally, that area residents are receiving fairly immediate police response to calls about suspicious behavior at these locations, and the congregation of youths at the road ends in the evenings and at night seems to be leveling off.
Separately, however, there was a report to the police this month about suspicious activity, probably drug-related, further inland at the southern end of Madison Park (the location identified by a yellow needle icon on the map above). The police narrative concerning the situation makes interesting reading. Our copy of the police report has been redacted, so we will refer to the area resident who reported the suspicious activity as "Concerned Citizen" (CC).
To quote directly from the officer's report: "On 5/18/11 at about 1600 hours, Concerned Citizen states that suspect vehicle [license plate number redacted], driven by a black male in his 20's, parked in the 1700 block of E. Mercer Street. She has seen the vehicle on the block at least four times and does not recognize it as belonging to someone who lives in the neighborhood. CC states that the driver meets various vehicles in the block for a few minutes at a time and stores suspected narcotics in the trunk and transfers suspected narcotics into the trunks of the contacted vehicles.
On this date, [the suspect] linked up with with a tan-colored 1990's Toyota Camry...driven by a black male in his 20's, and CC saw what appeared to be a hand-to-hand exchange, with the contents of what was changing hands being concealed in McDonald's paper bags. After previous appearances by [the suspect] on this block, residents have located apparent drug pipes made of tin foil and small zip lock baggies of the type used to package narcotics deposited on the street pavement after vehicles depart. After the hand-to-hand exchange, CC took a photo of the [license] plate with her cell phone. The drivers...may have noticed they were being watched and the vehicles left via the North-South alley while CC called 911 to report the suspected narcotics activity at 1629 hours. The vehicles had loitered in the block for about 30 minutes and the Camry had its hood up in what CC believed to be a ruse to justify the loitering. The vehicles were gone when I arrived at 1635 hours."
At the suggestion of the Concerned Citizen, the responding officer then interviewed a neighbor, who said she had been seeing suspicious loitering in the area for about 18 months. She said she had also seen McDonald's bags being transferred, and both vehicle and on-foot contacts lasting from a few minutes to an hour. She said that the suspect car was often occupied by three "clean cut" black males in their 20's, and she had previously seen the occupants contact suspected purchasers and walk with them into a nearby alley. She said she had sometimes smelled marijuana after these incidents.
The officer ran the suspect license plate and discovered that the owner was a previous offender, arrested twice in 2010 on marijuana possession charges, both times while seated in the suspect vehicle. The suspect was not at home, nor was the suspect car visible, when the officer checked out the suspect's residence. The police report ends on this note: "Based on the past narcotics arrests and the driver's actions as described by Concerned Citizen [and the neighbor], it is likely that their suspicions of narcotic activity are founded."
No duh. However, the case is now officially "inactive" on the SPD books.
This Police Blotter, which covers the period from May 17 through June 20, would not be complete without mention of the typical kinds of criminal activity that occur each month. This includes a rash of auto thefts (highlighted as solid-car icons on the above map). Cars were stolen on the 2500 block of Canterbury Lane E. on May 25, on the 2000 block of 43rd Avenue E. on May 26, on the 2200 block of 43rd Avenue E. on June 6, at the intersection of 38th Avenue E. and E. Lee that same day, and on the 1800 block of 40th Avenue E. on June 16. Car break-ins occurred on the 600 block of 32nd Avenue E. on May 18 and on the 800 block of Hillside Drive E. on June 14.
There were also three home break-ins reported. Two happened sometime over Memorial Day weekend or shortly thereafter. One homeowner on the 1400 block of 41st Avenue E. reported that upon returning home she discovered that her house's backdoor was unlocked and open and that a bike and laptop had been stolen. It was a similar story for a resident of the 2400 block of E. Mercer Street, who reported that during the same period someone had broken into his house through the downstairs door by smashing the glass and making entry. It was unclear what might have been stolen from the house. The day before Memorial Day Weekend began, another Madison Park resident, this one living on the 1500 block of 38th Avenue E., reported that four bikes had been stolen from his detached garage.
Finally, there was also a break-in at a commercial business on the 4000 block of E. Madison St. on June 14. The manager arrived at the business that morning and discovered that the glass entrance door had been shattered and that a large wall-mounted television was on the floor, though still plugged into the wall. It was apparent that the perpetrator had tried to take the TV but could not get it disconnected. By the front counter, the cash register till drawer was sitting on the floor. The cash register had ben pried open and destroyed and a fax machine was lying upside down on the ground next to the security alarm box, which had been ripped from the wall. Coins were scattered on the floor behind the counter. The manager also found that the store's safe (which, he said, was probably too heavy to be moved by one person) was missing. The store's telephone lines had been cut, and it was apparent, according to the police report, that the suspects had attempted to enter an adjoining business by prying open its door but had failed to do so.