Seized items trickle back to victims of alleged Capitol Hill theft ring as court case continues

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Police seize allegedly stolen items from Darling’s Capitol Hill house in 2012. (Photo: CHS)

When Seattle Police tracked a stolen iPad to a Capitol Hill house in 2012, they uncovered much more than a one-off theft. Charging documents and police reports allege Rabindranath Darling was running a sophisticated operation to buy goods he knew to be stolen then sell those items on eBay from the 12th and Mercer home he shared with his wife.

As a front for his illicit business, investigators say Rabindranath Darling ran a home-based computer repair shop. CHS has learned that some of the allegedly stolen items seized in 2012 from Darling’s 12th and Mercer house are finally being returned to their rightful owners including victims of burglaries across Capitol Hill. Court hearings in the case got underway this summer; Darling’s next hearing is scheduled this week. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in September.

The Darlings told CHS they did not want to comment for this story as Rabindranath’s court case is ongoing.

CHS learned about the unfolding criminal proceedings thanks to a surprising connection to the 12th Ave case. We received notification that a laptop ripped off from CHS in the summer of 2012 had been recovered by police and was now being released. Our laptop, we were surprised to learn, was somehow part of the evidence from that mysterious police operation on 12th Ave that included piles of computers and electronics being carted off in the night years earlier. Police at the time said they had uncovered a “major stolen property trafficking operation” — but nobody was immediately charged with a crime.

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The currently unfolding court case against Darling stems from an incident that led to that 12th Ave raid when a burglary victim used the “Find My iPad” app to track his stolen device to Darling’s Capitol Hill home. There, police found a garage, shed, and basement filled with a range of expensive items that an SPD officer reported “would have made any reasonable person believe the property was stolen.”

Computers, tools, and bikes with an estimated worth of “well in excess of $100,000″ were allegedly found throughout the Capitol Hill property. Police reported finding an outdoor shed filled with professional grade musical mixing equipment, scuba gear, Tiffany brand jewelry, and “a large amount of one brand of makeup.” Boxes in the basement contained Rolex watches and expensive data storage equipment. Many items would later be traced to past burglaries around Seattle, including several items purchased with a stolen credit card. Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 3.50.03 PM

As police handcuffed Darling, he yelled, “Call the lawyers” to his wife. He was booked into King County Jail without incident, according to police reports.

SPD had to rent a tractor trailer just to transport a portion of the items into evidence following Darling’s arrest. But despite the massive haul with dozens of those items allegedly linked to past burglaries, Darling is charged only for handling a few allegedly stolen items. Darling faces four counts of trafficking stolen property, one count of possessing stolen property, and a drug possession charge for 18 grams of methamphetamine found in his house during the initial iPad search.

Investigators later found thousands of eBay listings from a user “streamline6868″ — an account police say they can link to Darling — including many suspicious items like gift cards and computers that had been specially unlocked.

Notes found at the Darling home and documented by police offer a glimpse into how the couple allegedly operated the ring. One note attached to an eBay entry for computer parts shipped to the Darlings and signed by Darling’s wife said “he agree to unlock all bios/locked logic boards for $50 dollars from this point forward.” Another from November 2011 read, “Where the F(redacted) are our diamonds? I told C(redacted) that I would have a definitive answer for him or I would pay him any amount which he sees fit by Monday 11/7/2011 without fail.”

Rabindranath Darling has never been convicted of stealing or selling stolen goods. Certainly there are legitimate eBay sellers who turn-and-burn expensive items, including computers and bikes. But this was not Darling’s first brush with the law in regards to his home-based sales. In 2011 and earlier in 2012, police found Darling had used eBay to sell three high-end bicycles reported stolen in Seattle. At the time Darling said he bought the items off Craigslist, but could not provide police with any proof — no email exchanges, no phone numbers, and no descriptions of the seller. Darling’s eBay account is no longer active, but an image on the account page asks buyers to email him for his new ID.

One of the stolen bike victims notified CHS about Darling’s suspicious online sales months before his arrest.

While Darling’s SPD interactions date back to 2011, documentation of his online activities we found go back to 2009 when his name and eBay ID were flagged on the site Ripoffreport.com by an eBay user who said Darling sold a busted laptop that he described as being in “perfect” condition.

This week’s hearing comes after another continuance in January as attorneys work out a schedule for the case. “This case involves voluminous discovery,” a document filed in January reads. “It has taken several meetings to complete review.”

27 thoughts on “Seized items trickle back to victims of alleged Capitol Hill theft ring as court case continues

  1. Wow what a royal scum bucket. I can’t even read the whole article it makes me so freakin’ angry people like this exist. I’m sure he will be back at it again shortly too.

  2. Thanks for posting the follow up to this one, I’ve been waiting for a long time to hear what became of this. Diamonds, meth, likely laundering of stolen CC’s via the sale of gift cards on ebay … Can’t wait to hear how the rest of this pans out. Wonder how many/total number of victims they screwed over.

  3. I was just wondering what was happening with this case. I walk by the Darlings’ house nearly every day, and they still advertise themselves as a computer repair shop. Haven’t seen the sketchy station wagons full of crap parked outside in a while, though.

    • Before the arrest, there was a large white van parked outside the Darling’s home 24/7. One time I walked by and the rear door was open….the inside was packed completely with stuff, which I suspect was even more stolen goods. Hopefully, the investigators checked this out. The van has not been there since the time of the arrest.

      • I once saw this van driving down 21st ave e with it’s lights off when I was out walking my dog late at night. I should have called the police back then dammit.

  4. I am really glad to hear that Darling is being prosecuted. It seems pretty obvious he is guilty of massive trafficking in stolen goods, but I can appreciate how complicated it is to prove his activities in a court of law. I thank all those involved in his prosecution, and hope that it will lead to a lengthy prison sentence.

  5. Darling’s wife is from a family of lawyers who no doubt are stringing out the charging process and discovery to the perp’s advantage. His own family is an eccentric tribe including the woman who wrote the Good Dog Carl kids’ books who is his mother. Don’t hold your breath on a fair universe outcome for this one.

  6. This same self-centered thief also posts a large “No Parking in Front of Garage” sign on his stash of stolen stuff just to reserve a parking place on the street for only himself. If it’s illegal to block a driveway by anyone else, why isn’t he ticketed.

  7. Love reading this follow up! I was a victim of this guy and tipped the news and CHS….the Darlings are scumbaggery to the maxxx. Can’t wait to hear the verdict!

  8. I have known them for 8 years and consider them like family. Many of my friends and family have done business with them including having computers repaired and all feel this is a legitimate business run by a hard working couple. He appears to be stereotyped as he is somewhat eccentric but that isn’t against the law. It appears that the media and this blog is making assumptions that are far from reality. I feel it is important to let the legal process run it’s course just as you would if it was your family. It seems to be more appropriate to hold off on hurtful comments until this is over. Remember there is a child involved and even if you don’t like the parents please be sensitive to the innocent child. If it does come out that the Seattle Police over stepped their bounds or leaked false information then shame on them. This will be my only comment on this issue.

    • I have lived across the street from that house for 8 years and I can assure you the media and this blog are not make assumptions.To say that he is eccentric is well beyond an understatement. He is up until 3 or 4 every night putzing around with his car and in that garage making noise with no regard for his neighbors. He treats the street like his own property by posting that no parking sign and keeping numerous junk cars all over the block (he no longer does this after we got the cops to site and tow him). The comment about the van that would drop things off is also true. He and his wife constantly fight with each other on the sidewalk in plain view of us and their child and there’s no doubt she’s involved with him on this. So, Vickie, I suggest you not paint them as the victims. They’ve had this coming for a long time.

      • Personontheblock–thanks for your post. That is our exact experience as well. I have had to call the city numerous times on his many junk-mobiles including the huge van that he parked on the street with an expired zone permit for years. I was never sure how he was able to get away with all his nonsense for so long–esp. as I thought we were the only ones calling the city. Thanks for keeping an eye on our street as well!

        • I reported that white van many times, when it was parked in the same spot for over 72 hours, and only rarely was it ticketed….the city’s system for this violation is understaffed and slow to respond to complaints. It was never ticketed when it was parked in front of the garage, and I don’t know why…..that is a clear violation. Too bad the parking officers weren’t more aggressive years ago…if the van had been towed at some point, that would have probably led to an earlier detection of the stolen goods.

          I’m pretty sure that house is a duplex. Do the Darlings own it, or are they renters? If the latter, what role did the landlord play in all this?

      • you mean ‘futzing’.

        putz = penis in yiddish.

        This is just to save everyone on here the embarrassment of talking about penises when they don’t mean to.

  9. @Vickie apparently missed the part about the 18 grams of methamphetamine.

    I look forward to your comments on this detail once the law has run its course, as you put it.

  10. So this “big time criminal” works on his car late at night, parks his van in an innapropriate spot, puts a sign up in front of his house trying to save a spot for the van and argues with his wife all while being eccentric! How freakin awful! I am glad I don’t live in that part of Capitol Hill as I think I have done all of those things and more plus on top of that I am eccentric and black( but at least I don’t putz). He’s actually in a win- win situation. If the police did overeact with an eccentric like they do in Seattle with black people then maybe he will not go to jail for a long time as orginally indicated and if he does go to jail at least he will get a break from the nitpicking neighbor bloggers.

    • I doubt you ran a stolen property operation like he apparently did. The police did not arrest him because of “eccentricity,” but because his house was filled to the brim with stolen goods.

    • Yeah, the *neighbors* are the problem here. Right. Not the guy running a stolen property reselling ring. Seems your self-described eccentricity keeps you from seeing right from wrong as well. The guy is a thief and a criminal and deserves a nice, long jail sentence.

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  13. Not to necro this story, but found it back after a story that ran in the Seattle Met about his above mentioned Bike Thievery, and was looking for an update. I use to work at the Apple Store at the Genius Bar. This guy was very well known. He would always bring in varying tiers of machines, but knew our practices to a T so that we were never allowed by managers to do anything. He specialized in buying or stealing machines that had been involved in any of the Apple 3 year issue-replacement plans, come in, get them fixed (Normally involving Logic Board Replacements which meant a new Serial Number). He was sketchy and deceptive. Now that I know he was also involved with turning bikes, I hope he goes down.

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