Another burglary reported in Upper Queen Anne

We just got this note about a burglary at the top of the hill around 1 p.m. Thursday from a Queen Anne resident who wishes to remain anonymous:

Just wanted to give you heads up that I just drove past a forced entry, house robbery on 5th Ave W. by the cemetery. Police were on the scene and there was a broken window and a flat screen TV in the driveway. I thought they caught the QA robber last week? Apparently not? Or a copycat.

SPD: Was your house broken into this morning?

We just got this email from Queen Anne resident Luann, asking if anyone in the Queen Anne area, particularly around West Highland Dr., had their house broken into this morning? SPD is holding a burglary suspect in custody, but needs to know if any homes were burgled before they can proceed. Luann writes:

Has anyone on the Hill found their home broken into this morning?  Just got this email message from a neighbor:

If anyone had their house broken into this morning, please call the Seattle Police ASAP. They have a suspect in custody who was seen entering properties along West Highland, but cannot continue to hold him unless they find that he actually did something.

Queen Anne man sentenced to 25 years in prison for possession of child pornography

Queen Anne resident John Richard Cothern, 44,was sentenced to 25 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release last week for the distribution of child pornography, according to a Department of Justice new release. Cothern was living at 23 W. Galer St. at the time of his arrest in July 2010.

“Law enforcement identified COTHERN during an investigation of peer-to-peer file sharing of child pornography. COTHERN contacted undercover FBI agents over the internet offering to trade child pornography. Analysis of COTHERN’s computer revealed he was sharing more than 136,000 files,” according to the Department of Justice report.

Cothern had a history of offenses against children prior to his arrest last summer. In 1996 he was convicted of child molestation by the Yakima County Superior Court, and in 2001 he was convicted of possessing child pornography in the Eastern District of Washington federal court. From the DOJ release:

U.S. District Judge James L. Robart imposed the 25 year sentence saying this was a “very serious case to the Court because of [the defendant’s] prior child molestation conviction.”

According to records filed in the case, in 2009 undercover agents became aware of COTHERN’s activity. He had just completed supervised release for his earlier conviction. COTHERN was indicted in September 2010, and pleaded guilty in April 2011. COTHERN admitted to law enforcement that he had victimized several children. In the past he had sought employment as a teacher and camp counselor – positions that give him access to children.

Prosecutors requested the 25 year sentence writing to the court: “These child pornography images and videos that Mr. Cothern distributed depict real children being raped. Every time these images are viewed, and every time these images are traded, further abuse inflicted to the victim…Mr. Cothern’s conduct, and the conduct of others like him, contributes to the demand for more child pornography images. The trading of child pornography creates a network of offenders and opens up avenues for further child abuse.”

Read the rest of the Department of Justice news release here.

* Photo courtesy of the King County Sheriff’s Office.

SPD update on recent Queen Anne burglaries

The Seattle Police Department West Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Francisco Tello sent the following note out to block watch captains in Queen Anne and Magnolia yesterday regarding the arrest of a suspect believed to be connected to a number of recent burglaries in both neighborhoods:

Good news! A suspect that is believed to be responsible for recent burglaries in Queen Anne and Magnolia has been arrested.

On July 18, 2011 at about 11:00 PM, officers responded to the area of Thorndyke Ave N and West Blaine Street to investigate a recklessly driven vehicle. With good vehicle description and direction of travel by the caller, the responding officers were able to locate the vehicle that crashed a few blocks away. The officers located the driver who was taken into custody. Further investigation by the officers revealed that the vehicle was reported stolen. West Precinct detectives processed the vehicle and found suspected stolen items taken from a previous burglary. Because of great work by alert citizens, responding officers and detectives, the suspect is in custody and facing multiple charges, including auto theft. The property found in the vehicle has been returned to the rightful owner, and no additional property has been recovered at this time. West Precinct detectives are still analyzing evidence to link the suspect to additional burglaries in the area and will contact victims once such evidence is received.

Notification of the arrest could not be sent earlier until West Precinct detectives collected sufficient evidence to file charges.

We would like to thank you and your Block Watch members for your collaboration during this latest burglary spree. We encourage you to keep your Block Watches active, and help your neighbors secure their residences if they need assistance.

Night Out is Tuesday, August 2. If you have not registered and wish to, visit our Seattle Police website. While visiting our website look at the Seasonal Safety link for tips on securing your residence.

Tourist robbed at knifepoint after leaving Kerry Park

At approximately 12:40 a.m. on Wednesday, July 6 a tourist was walking back to his rental car (on the NW corner of 5th Ave W and W Comstock) from Kerry Park when he was approached by two unidentified men who robbed him at knifepoint, according to a Seattle Police Department incident report. The two suspects had been loitering at SE corner of 4th Ave W and W Comstock when the victim arrived. According to the police report, the victim told police that he felt an “innate fear” when he first saw the suspects, and almost didn’t turn onto W Comstock.

Despite his gut instincts, the suspect continued toward his rental car, crossing Comstock so that he was on the north side of the street opposite the suspects. The victim then heard both suspects cross the street behind him, shouting at him. The victim ignored them and continued on, when one of the suspects (Suspect #2) ran up behind him and grabbed his shoulder, turning him around. From the police report:

Suspect #2 shouted, ‘Give me your bag,’ (camera bag with sling). [The victim] said, ‘No I’m not giving you anything-there’s nothing in the bag’. Suspect #2 pulled a knife (fixed blade 3 inch, black handle, stab knife) and said, ‘You don’t want to risk it man’. [The victim] then gave the bag to suspect #2. Suspect #1 was standing there behind Suspect #2.

Both suspects ran off eastbound and continued northbound up 4 Av W, according to the report. The victim walked to his vehicle and drove around the area looking for the suspects, with no success. The suspects made off with the victim’s Canon 5 D mark 2 camera, camera bag and iPad. The victim flew back home later that day.

String of car prowls hits 5th Ave N & Galer

One of our readers posted the following in our forum this morning:

Just noticed on my way to work that 4 or 5 cars had their windows smashed in along 5th Ave. N and Galer Ave. Looks like someone was looking for iPods and anything in the glove compartment….please contact the police if you know of anything that happened last night.

This is just another reminder of how frequent and popular a neighborhood Queen Anne is for the quick smash and grab car prowl. Watch out for suspicious activity and remember to never leave anything of value (or items that may only look valuable) in your car.

Police hope GPS device provides clues leading to suspects in hit & run that injured a 9-year-old girl

Police are still searching for two suspects in a hit and run collision over Memorial Day weekend that left a 9-year-old girl with severe but non-life-threatening injuries. The stolen vehicle involved in the incident on Monday, May 30, a 1997 green Toyota Land Cruiser, was found abandoned at Mercer and Yale shortly after the collision. While no information connecting the car to possible suspects was immediately apparent, police recovered a GPS device in the vehicle, which they have confirmed did not belong to the car’s owner, according to a report by the Seattle PI crime blog. From the PI:

Police obtained a search warrant for the device and transferred the data to a DVD, which remains at the evidence unit. Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said Monday only that the investigation is “active and ongoing.”

While investigators are hoping this device will provide clues in the search for the suspects, they are still pursuing new leads and ask anyone with information about the driver, passenger or incident to call in and relay the information, even with an anonymous tip.

Witnesses say the car hit the girl and drove over the back of her legs, according the report. The victim was immediately transported to a hospital and is currently recuperating from a crushed ankle, the Seattle PI story reports. Read the full story here.

Hit and run at 6th Ave N and Highland

One of our readers, Katy, just informed us of another hit and run that’s happened in Queen Anne in the last couple of days. At 10:35 p.m. on Monday, June 20, Katy says she heard a loud noise outside (on 6th Ave N between Highland and Comstock) and immediately peered out her window to find the drivers-side mirror of her car bent backwards.

“I ran outside as quickly as I could and confronted two young men in their early 20s,” she says. They were driving a blue-green four-door car, which matched the damage to her car. “There is blue-green paint on the side of my car and when I was talking with them, they claimed a black car hit me and they needed to drive off to look for it. In the middle of us talking, they drove off quickly.”

Katy did manage to get a license plate number, which she reported to police. (We cannot publish the plate number here since no charges have yet been filed). Still, Katy is hoping that neighbors or passersby may have information that will help her track down the hit and run vehicle.

“They hit my car and my boyfriend’s car and we both have damage. The deductible will cost us $600 out of pocket,” she says, adding that any tips or information will be much appreciated. “I would really love it if we did not have to pay $600 out of pocket for parking on the street and being victim to this.”

Anyone with information on this hit and run is encouraged to contact the police directly and reference report # 11-199098.

Two women robbed at gunpoint by Seattle Center

Two women were robbed at gunpoint while walking near Seattle Center last week. Just after 2 a.m. on Tuesday, May 31, two women were reportedly walking to their car, in the 2700 block of 4th Ave, where they had turned from Cedar Street, when one of two suspects walking behind them moved in front of them and demanded they give him their money, according to the police report.

At first the two victims didn’t believe the suspects were actually robbing them, the report states, asking “Are you serious?” At this point the second suspect responded “Yes, give me your money. He has a gun,” and the first suspect displayed a handgun. Both women then gave their purses to the suspects, who ran off to the north toward Seattle Center.

The victims immediately left the area and called police. Neither victim were able to describe the first suspect in much detail. The second suspect was described as a “light skin male” wearing a dark hoody. SPD officers conducted an area check with little success. Officers checked the block for potential security cameras – none appeared at surrounding apartment buildings, and those from the Fisher Interactive Network building across the street appeared to have a blocked view.

Stolen car involved in hit & run with 9-year-old girl

Two suspects driving a stolen vehicle hit a 9-year-old girl on Dexter Avenue and Denny Way in a hit and run collision yesterday, Monday, May 30.

At approximately 5:08 p.m. Monday a Seattle Police Department officer on patrol near 5th Avenue and Broad Street observed a green 1997 Toyota Land Cruiser speeding through the area, according to the SPD Blotter report.

The officer began following the suspect while running the vehicle’s license plate, verifying that the suspect vehicle had in fact been stolen. The officer then called in for additional backup to help him conduct a high-risk traffic stop. The officer attempted to pull over the suspect in the 200 block of Blanchard Street, at which point the suspect failed to yield and began disregarding traffic control signals. At this point a SPD supervisor ordered the pursuit to be terminated. From the SPD Blotter:

Some time later the officer called out over his police radio that the suspect had run over a child near the intersection of Dexter Avenue and Denny Way.

The officer stopped to render assistance to the nine-year-old girl and called for medics. SFD medics responded to the scene and subsequently transported the victim to Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

Preliminary investigation indicates that the suspect entered the intersection of Dexter Avenue and Denny Way at speed from the south. The suspect attempted to turn east onto Denny Way however, he drove across the double-yellow centerline and both westbound traffic lanes of Denny Way and onto the north side sidewalk of Denny Way. The suspect struck a tree and then struck a nine-year-old girl who was walking down the sidewalk with her mother.

The suspect failed to stop and render aid and continued driving into Denny Park. The suspect drove through a grassy area of the park and back out onto the street at the east end of the park, continuing in an unknown direction.

SPD officers conducted an area search, locating the suspect vehicle, which was unoccupied at the time, near Mercer Street and Yale Avenue. The vehicle was impounded and taken in for examination by SPD Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) detectives. Neither the suspect nor front-seat passenger, both believed to be males, were found. No other people or vehicles were involved in the collision.

SPD’s Traffic Collision Investigation Squad detectives are continuing an active investigation and are asking anyone with information about this incident, or knowledge of the identity or whereabouts of the suspect and/or passenger, to call into SPD and refer to this incident. SPD says anonymous tips are welcome.