East Precinct cop accused of theft pleads not guilty

Seattle Police Department officer Michael Stankiewiczthe cop charged with theft for allegedly skipping 55 days of work in the East Precinct — has pleaded not guilty to the crime.

Prosecuting documents state Stankiewicz stole $23,905.65 by allegedly being absent from work when he was scheduled to be on duty.

Stankiewicz was arraigned Monday morning.

His case setting date is scheduled for November 27 under judge Sean O’Donnell with Anna Goykhman being Stankiewicz’s counsel.

Following the entry of his plea, jail records show Stankiewicz was booked into King County Jail before being released a half hour later. The defendant remains out of custody pending court hearings.

Man charged in string of fake FBI agent robberies including $130K rip-off in Central District

The man the FBI says impersonated one of their agents and robbed a Central District business of nearly $130,000 has been arrested and charged, officials announced Friday.

Steven W. Fisher, 43, has been charged with attempted robbery, robbery, and five counts of impersonating a federal officer, according to the announcement from the Western District of Washington’s U.S. Attorney.

In a January robbery reported on by CHS at the time, investigators say Fisher claimed to be a Federal Bureau of Investigations agent investigating a suspicious transaction at 23rd and Jackson’s Red Sea Finance.

According to the SPD report on the incident, a worker at the “bank/savings and loan” was closing up for the night around 7 PM when the suspect knocked on a metal security gate, showed a badge, and said he was FBI. Once he was let in past the security gate, the phony agent told the worker he had conducted a “bad transaction” and asked to see the records for the day. “(The victim) pulled up his transaction record on the computer as S1 looked on,” the report reads. Continue reading

Officer charged with theft for skipping 55 days of work in the East Precinct

East Precinct cop Michael Stankiewicz has been charged by the King County Prosecutor for getting paid for days that he was not actually working.

On August 15th, a lieutenant noticed a discrepancy in Stankiewicz’s scheduled work day when the officer was absent, according to the charges. The lieutenant then checked other logs, saw a pattern, and notified respective commands. The Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) acted on its investigation of Stankiewicz on August 29th, inducing the officer’s paid suspension.

Once the OPA found the accusations grounded, the prosecuting attorney was notified, and Stankiewicz was put on unpaid leave. Of the 321 days the OPA checked, the investigation found the Marysville resident got paid 55 separate times where he made $49.29 an hour but wasn’t working.

The total amount of unwarranted pay Stankiewicz is charged for taking: $23,905.65.

Stankiewicz was previously cited for excessive force in 2015 in which he received eight days suspension. In this incident, he was found to have unnecessarily lifted a sitting, arrested individual only to knock out the man’s legs from underneath him and choke him.

The defendant will be arraigned on November 6th at the King County Courthouse.

Meet the one woman holding down SPD’s Bias Crimes Unit

SPD Detective Beth Wareing (Image: Alex Garland)

While the Seattle Police Department has kept track of biased crime cases for decades — it has to be reported to the feds — a unit dedicated to investigating the reports is only a few years old. It sits underneath the homicide and assault units. The person in charge? Detective Beth Wareing.

She’s technically a coordinator but she reads all the cases, knows where they are and answers questions. The hallmark of bias crime, Wareing said, is random selection — a stranger suddenly choosing to do something hateful to a person with little or no warning. “It’s one of the things that makes them a little difficult to solve,” she said. The department says only 39% of reported bias crimes in 2017 have resulted in charges.

The number of reports, so far, never goes down. “It’s a challenge to say what is completely responsible for increases,” Wareing says. “It is possible it’s in an increase in bias crimes, people are reporting more, officers are doing better at identifying characteristics in a case, or demographic trends have been increasing interactions between people.”

The reality is, however, it’s rarely one factor. And things like politics and media coverage matter.

“One of the things I’m seeing in Seattle is people in Seattle are aware,” Wareing said. “They tend to be pretty active, they read the news. We get a lot of concerned citizens calling in.” Continue reading

Expert: Woman’s unsolved 2015 Madison Valley death ‘most likely a homicide’

A photo of Schmidt on adventure in Alaska provided to CHS by her family

Family of Devan Schmidt, the 29-year-old found dead in a Madison Valley home in 2015, say they have proof she was murdered but the case is not moving forward because the victim was a young woman found with drugs in her system.

“If a young woman has drugs in her system and she is raped and murdered in Seattle… it’s just going to be written off as undetermined?,” Lia Kendall asks. The victim’s sister, provided CHS with the findings of a renowned forensic pathologist and toxicologist expert who says the death “is most likely a homicide.”

“The findings at the autopsy point to it, the findings at the scene support it and the circumstantial evidence is almost compelling,” the expert wrote in a July 2017 letter to Kendall shared with CHS in which the pathologist offers to take part in possible legal proceedings in the case. CHS is not identifying the expert because Kendall agreed not to make his involvement in the case public until there is an arrest and charges. Kendall says the investigator has offered his services at no charge.

On the morning of May 2nd, Schmidt was found unconscious by a housemate. The roommate called 911 and was guided through CPR. Seattle Fire medics rushed to the house near E Denny Way and 29th Ave E but pronounced Schmidt dead at the scene. The case troubled the medical examiner who wrote that circumstances around the death were “concerning for homicidal violence,” and asphyxia “could not be ruled out.” Continue reading

Blotter | Police investigate ‘EAT THE RICH’ tagging spree

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • Man struck on E Olive Way: A man in his 40s was taken to the hospital in stable condition after a reported car vs. pedestrian incident at Summit and E Olive Way Friday afternoon. Police were unable to provide many details of the peculiar incident at what is known as a busy and sometimes dangerous crossing but witnesses tell CHS this appeared to be more of an assault than a crash. According to one witness, the incident included an argument and the victim getting out of the involved vehicle before being struck by the hit and run driver. Police were looking for a silver hatchback involved in the crash. Another vehicle was at the scene damaged when CHS arrived around 2:30 PM.

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Blotter | Cal Anderson robberies, 7-11 beer beating, First Hill dildo assault

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • Cal Anderson arrest: Police had their hands full after taking suspects into custody for a reported robbery in Cal Anderson Park last Saturday afternoon. According to the SPD report on the incident, the victim said she was pushed to the ground and her backpack was stolen by a group of known males. But as police detained the males in the park, the victim refused to identify the suspect. One of the group was taken into custody for “false reporting” — that’s when things got a little crazy
    The suspect was booked for investigation of harassment and malicious mischief, hate crime statutes.
  • I-5 OD: Seattle Police were called to the area of homeless and drug camps below I-5 near Pine and Minor Tuesday afternoon after a report that a male was undergoing CPR at the scene. According to radio dispatches, the male recovered after the CPR and the administration of overdose antidote naloxone by Seattle Fire.
  • Felony warrant suspect chase: Police in cars and on bikes fanned out across Capitol Hill last Wednesday, October 4th, after a reportedly armed felony warrant suspect was spotted and fled from a car ditched at Summit and Pine. The search spread across several blocks and police recovered a bag from a rooftop along the Crawford Place alley but there were no arrests.


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Two-car shootout sends bullets flying along MLK and Cherry

A shootout involving two vehicles and reports of around 30 shots fired sent a bullet through a school window and left students at area schools sheltering in place Tuesday morning along MLK Way and E Cherry.

Police were called to the area near Powell Barnett Park around 11:45 AM to a report of 20 or so gunshots coming from two vehicles. The crime scenes quickly multiplied as reports came in of bullets striking an E Cherry market and the nearby NOVA High School where bullet fragments broke a window, according to East Precinct radio dispatches.

According to the SPD brief on the incident, there were no injuries reported:

Witnesses began calling 911 just after 11 a.m. to report gunfire near Powell Barnett Park.  When officers arrived they spoke with the witnesses who said the occupants of two vehicles, possibly two grey sedans, were firing shots at each other. They said the cars continued to travel through the area, eventually going westbound on East Cherry Street. The witnesses said both cars sped away before police arrived. Officers found property damage to a nearby high school. No one was injured and there is no indication any students were involved in the incident.

Three public schools — NOVA, Garfield High, and Leschi Elementary — were ordered to shelter in place during the incident, according to radio dispatches.

According to the latest SPD statistics, reported gunfire incidents are up slightly in 2017 with incident concentrated toward South Seattle.

SPD said they are continuing to investigate Tuesday’s shootout. If you have information that could help, call the SPD non-emergency line at (206) 625-5011.

Wednesday, meanwhile, the national Coffee with a Cop Day brings East Precinct representatives to the 23rd and Jackson Starbucks.

Blotter | Teen suspects cornered in park bathroom after Capitol Hill street robbery

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage hereYes, CHS is still on hiatus but we’ll continue to keep the news engine warm and post from time to time as events warrant.

  • 15th Ave E robbery: Police took two teenaged street robbery suspects into custody Friday afternoon thanks to an observant person in Volunteer Park. Officers were called to the area around E Highland and 15th Ave E just after 2:30 PM Friday to a report that a victim had been robbed of a bag at knifepoint by juvenile males. Police searched the area including nearby Volunteer Park where a witness said two males had headed into the bathroom. Police took the two into custody after the victim was able to visually identify them as the assailants, according to East Precinct radio dispatches. There were no reported significant injuries.
  • ‘Fast back up’ at Broadway/Pike: Police were called to assist Seattle Fire personnel responding to a reported injured person at the Shell service station at Broadway and Pike early Sunday morning. According to police and Seattle Fire radio reports, a “fast back up” call was made during the 3:20 AM incident when a female was threatening an aid crew that had “stumbled into” a fight unfolding in the gas station’s parking lot. Police arrived to find the suspect was no longer at the scene and the reportedly injured victim in the fight long gone.
  • Tattoo break-in: A burglar walked out of E Olive Way tattoo shop the Artful Dodger with the shop’s cash register and cash in a September midnight break-in, according to Seattle Police. According to the report on the September 15th burglary, video surveillance showed a male suspect wearing a dark hoodie using a rock to break the shop’s glass door before picking up the register and walking out. Police say the suspect made off with the register — and $400 in cash.