UPDATE: Two people reported attempts to hold them up at gunpoint in incidents within minutes of each other early Thursday morning near Cal Anderson Park. The armed robbery attempts come as SPD announced Wednesday it is looking for a group of male suspects believed to be involved in as many as 10 robberies around Seattle. Details on the search, below.
One victim in Thursday’s robbery attempts decided to outrun his assailants and posted this account to Facebook about his escape as a warning to others:
Another victim reported a separate robbery attempt near 10th and John just before 1 AM as males fitting the description in the first report apparently were fleeing the scene. Those suspects, described as three black males in their 20s, were last seen in a dark Chevy Caprice or Impala headed northbound on 10th Ave. The suspect who chased the first victim was also described as having cornrows and wearing a gray hoodie.
According to police radio dispatches, the suspects were reportedly seen talking with an older man in his 50s inside the park speaking “an African language” prior to the robbery attempts. The suspects called the man “Uncle,” according to one of the victims.
Police fanned out just blocks from East Precinct around Cal Anderson Park following the 911 calls and searched the area for the suspect vehicle. One person was detained but we don’t yet know what connection that person had to the incidents. A check of King County Jail records shows nobody had been booked on a robbery-related charge as of 7:30 AM.
The suspect vehicle was not immediately located. Police were contacting local facilities including the Sound Transit construction site to try to find any video surveillance that would aid the investigation.
Original Report: Seattle Police detectives are seeking information about a group believed to have been responsible for a string of robberies across the city including an armed hold-up on Capitol Hill:
SPD robbery detectives are searching for a group of men suspected in a series of increasingly brazen armed robberies over the last week in each of Seattle’s five precincts.
The string of 10 cases began just after 9 AM on July 31st, when a group of six male suspects cornered a teen in an alley behind the Beacon Hill library. One of the suspects lifted up his shirt, implying he had a gun, and stole the teen’s backpack, phone and bankcards.
Early the next morning, at 1:40 AM on August 1st, a car full of men a drove up to a woman near 56th and Latona and demanded her purse. When the victims refused and kept walking, the suspects got out of the car, pulled a gun on the victim and stole her purse before fleeing.
That night, around 11 pm, the suspects pulled a knife on a delivery driver in Holly Park and stole four pizzas. A half hour later, the suspects struck again in West Seattle, where they surrounded a man in the 5500 block of 16th Avenue SW, shoved him to the ground, rifled through his pockets and stole his iPhone at gunpoint.
Again, around 3:30 AM on August 2nd, the same suspects grabbed a 28-year-old man near Harvard Avenue and E. Thomas Street, put him in a headlock and stole the man’s iPhone and wallet.
Almost exactly twenty-four hours later, two suspects—accompanied by a lookout— approached two men near 11th Avenue and E Pine Street, across the street from Cal Anderson Park. The suspects pulled a gun on the men, demanded their wallets and phones and then ordered them to walk away.
Half an hour later, around 4 AM, two of the suspects climbed into a victim’s car outside a Central District hookah bar, drew guns, and forced the victim to drive to Renton, where they pistol-whipped the man and stole his wallet before fleeing.
Detectives believe members of the same group snatched a woman’s purse at near Seneca and Broadway at about 3:45 AM on August 4th, and jumped into a waiting getaway car.
The same day, just after noon, one of the suspects ran up to a 13-year-old girl and stole an iPhone out of her hands near 60th Ave SW and Alki Ave SW.
Finally, detectives believe several of the suspects followed two women down the street near 52nd and 15th Ave NE around 1:45 AM on August 5th, demanded their purses at gunpoint and fled.
The suspects in all 10 of the cases are black males between 18 and 25 years old. Following several of the recent incidents, detectives received information that the men may be East African or Somali. In one of the incidents, the suspects were seen fleeing in a green Toyota Camry.
If you have any information about these incidents or any other details that might help detectives track down these suspects, please contact SPD’s robbery unit at (206) 684-5535.
For tips from SPD’s Crime Prevention Coordinators and Robbery Unit on what to do if you think you’re being followed by a robber or are targeted in a robbery, click here.
Despite the rash of robberies, SPD told CHS there are enough cops on the street though the department can’t comment on specific staffing numbers. SPD says 911 response time remains on target — even after midnight:
Officers are deployed in keeping with our Neighborhood Policing Plan. That means every officer has 30% of their shift available for problem oriented policing and emergency 911 calls have an average 7 minute response time regardless of precinct or watch.
More on NPP here: http://www.seattle.gov/police/