Seattle Police investigated a string of armed robberies overnight that included a hold-up on Capitol Hill near 16th and Mercer.
According to SPD radio dispatches, a male victim was robbed of his wallet and phone by a group of three armed with handguns near 16th and Mercer just around the corner from the Canterbury around 10:30 PM Sunday. The suspects were last seen running northbound on 16th Ave E. Police were told the sound of what was believed to be cap gun firing could be heard as the group ran away. There were no reported injuries. UPDATE: The victim in Sunday night’s crime tells CHS he was able to track his phone to an address… in Renton. The victim also said he had to wait 90 minutes on the phone after he called SPD to relay the information. No word on whether SPD was able to act on the information.
Later just after 1 AM, a female victim told police a group of three males tried to stick her up near 19th and Main, firing off a handgun in the process before fleeing toward Blanche Lavizzo Park. The female victim described three males wearing bandanas over their faces. At least one male was armed. She told police one in the group put the gun to her waist and demanded her belongings. The victim said she told the robbers she had nothing before they turned her loose and she fled to a nearby apartment.
Police were investigating whether the same group was also involved in a third robbery during the night reported elsewhere in the area. We do not yet have details on the third incident. UPDATE: A third incident — actually the second in the three robbery sequence — was reported around 12:15 AM on Beacon Hill on 15th Ave S. If the robberies involved the same group, they apparently traveled south from Capitol Hill after the 16th and Mercer robbery before doubling back north for the 19th/Main robbery in the Central District. SPD is investigating.
The possible spree follows a period of relative quiet for street robbery activity after the typical summer flare-up on Capitol Hill and in the Central District. Last week, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch was in the Central District to discuss increased policing resources and funding in a sign of increased federal activity in the area to respond to concerns over gun violence.
UPDATE 9/29/2015 9:30 AM: SPD has posted a report on the robbery spree:
A group of three men are suspected in a series of overnight robberies in the East and South Precincts.
SPD robbery detectives believe the trio of suspects first approached a man and a woman at 16th Avenue and Mercer Street around 10:40 PM Sunday night. The suspects, who had hooded sweatshirts pulled over their faces, pulled guns on the victims and demanded cash and cellphones before fleeing the scene.
The victims told police they heard what sounded like a “cap gun” going off as the suspects fled. Officers tried tracking one victim’s cellphone, but were unable to locate it.
About two hours later, just before 12:30 PM, police received two back-to-back reports of robberies on Beacon Hill. First, a woman reported a group of suspects had flashed a gun in the 3000 block of 14th Avenue S. and threatened to shoot her if she didn’t hand over cash.
Minutes later, police received another report from a man, who said several suspects had approached him as he was getting out of his car in the 2900 block of 15th Ave S–just a few blocks away from the first robbery on Beacon Hill–and demanded cash and credit cards. Again, the suspects fled.
In a fourth case, a woman reported three masked suspects had approached her in a parking lot at 19th Ave and Main St. just after 1 AM and demanded her wallet and cell phone before they fled. The victim told police she heard what sounded like a gunshot as the suspects ran off.
K9 teams assisted in searching for the suspects throughout the night, but were unable to locate the men. No one was injured in the four incidents.
The suspects reportedly covered their faces with sweatshirts or bandannas during the incidents, and victims were only able to describe them as Hispanic men in their 20s. Detectives believe all four cases are connected and are working to track down additional details about the suspects.
If you have any information about these cases, please contact the SPD Robbery Unit at (206) 684-5535.
The victim in the incident on Capitol Hill tells CHS was with his wife during the holdup and has since seen periodic pings from his phone south of Seattle and on Beacon Hill. TV crews descended on the area around 16th and Mercer Monday night.