Blotter | Thief wrestles purse from woman on E Howell, Seattle U warns on walking with phone

  • A woman walking on E Howell near 19th Ave was jumped by a purse snatcher late Saturday night, according to a report posted to the SPD Blotter blog. According to the report, the woman was walking westbound when a man grabbed her, threw her to the ground and stole her purse. Here’s the full report:

On 10/29/11, at approximately 11:40 p.m., officers responded to investigate a Strong Arm Robbery.  The victim explained that she had been walking W/B in the 100 block of E Howell Street when she heard someone coming up behind her. As she turned to see who was behind her, an unknown male suspect grabbed her and threw her to the ground.


The suspect then started trying to take her purse.  She struggled to keep it, but he was eventually successful in wresting it from her.  He ran to a nearby car and got in the passenger seat.  The vehicle then left E/B on Howell Street.

The 36-year-old victim did not report any injuries at the scene.

The suspect was described as a black male, mid to late 20′s, 5 feet 7 inches tall, approximately 200 pounds. The vehicle is described as 1980s to early 1990s 4- door sedan, silver in color, unknown Washington License Plate.

  • This map from our 911Seattle site shows reported street robberies — and one business robbery — around the Capitol Hill area over the past 30 days. Note that all items signify only reported robberies. You can review the report on the incidents at 911Seattle.
  • This bulletin passed on to us from the Seattle University security system note another phone robbery attempt near the campus — this time at 14th and E Alder on Thursday night around 7p:

This message to members of the Seattle University community is being sent via SU e-mail in the interest of public safety and the well-being of our campus and in compliance with federal law requiring timely warning notification of crimes committed on or near campus:
This afternoon Seattle University Department of Public Safety received a report of an attempted strong-arm robbery. A woman student reported the incident occurred at approximately 7 PM, on Thursday, October 27th, near 14th & E. Alder (approximately three blocks south of campus). The student said she was walking southbound towards E. Alder, while talking on her cell phone. As the student approached E. Alder, three unknown males, walking the opposite direction passed her, and one asked what time it was. As the student replied and turned around another male knocked her down and tried to take her cell phone. The student reported she screamed and neighbors came out of their house, yelling at the suspects. The suspects ran away, northbound on 14th Avenue. The incident was reported to Seattle Police officers. The victim described the suspects as late teens, dark complexions, wearing dark hooded sweatshirts. The suspect male that tried to take the cell phone was described as having a plaid orange shirt and short-cropped hair, with a mustache.
Special Note: Please be alert that this is the third incident reported to DPS, in the past two weeks, of an attempted cell phone theft while a victim is  talking on their cell phone, and walking on a public sidewalk.
This incident is being investigated by the Seattle Police Department detectives.   If you have any additional information regarding this criminal incident please call Seattle Police at 911 or the DPS office at 206-296-5990.

Prevention tips for incidents such as this:

·       Use your intuition—trust your feelings. If you feel that a situation is not right, move out of the area immediately. Be cautious to not use electronic devices while walking. If you need to use a cell phone stop and place yourself where your back is to a wall or structure, and you can observe anyone approaching you.
·       Use the 24-hour Seattle University Safety Escort program (provided in a marked security vehicle & on foot), especially if having consumed alcohol. If you are a distance away from the campus consider calling a friend for a ride, calling a cab, or calling SU Campus Public Safety to assist in a safe ride home. (SU-DPS 24 hour number 296-5990).
·       While walking keep a distance, don’t let people get too close, even to inquire the time. Use well-lit arterials and walkways with open businesses, and passing traffic, if available.
·         Be aware of your surroundings. In social situations, be alert to places and situations that make you vulnerable.
·       Walk confidently and alertly. Do not walk with headphones on and hoods covering your heads.  

  If you observe suspicious behavior on campus (e.g. persons loitering in or around buildings, vehicles and residences), contact Public Safety via any campus Blue Light phone, or by cell phone at 296-5911. If you are off campus, immediately contact 911.
Please don’t hesitate to contact the Seattle University Department of Public Safety Crime Prevention Unit at 206-296-5996 for additional crime prevention information.

11 thoughts on “Blotter | Thief wrestles purse from woman on E Howell, Seattle U warns on walking with phone

  1. …I seriously thought this was going to be about someone who was mugged while they were carrying takeout soup from a Vietnamese place.

    Good advice, though. I see so many people walking around town completely oblivious to their surroundings, whether it’s because they’re talking on the phone, have headphones on, or are just chatting with the person they’re with. Easy targets for muggers and for drivers who aren’t paying attention either.

  2. I was riding the #8 bus on MLK at about 645 on Saturday. The young man behind me was with a friend and they were doing something on his phone. As the bus came to a stop a group of guys wearing red and black hoodies grabbed his phone and bolted out the back door. The two young men went after them but they could not keep up. The driver waited for them to get back on. Aside from two women with a small child who were laughing and talking about how funny it was no one really responded. Except within about 5 mins people took out their phone again.
    I tried to talk to the victim but he just said, “its ok, its ok.”. I doubt he filed a police report.
    It was NOT the victims fault he was robbed but these a**hole thugs look for opportunities to rob and victimize people. Lets not make it so easy.
    Its getting so I hate this f**king neighborhood.

  3. hi-larious. Our cms does many amazing things but its forced truncation at char limits is not one of them. This is the funniest (though I no longer laugh) one yet.

  4. Just because she owned a cell phone? What the fuck is wrong with you? I’d say your part of the 1% that seriously needs to get his ass kicked. Grow up, punk.