Blotter | Christmas gunpoint robbery on Capitol Hill, alley phone mugging, light rail art theft

  • Christmas night gunpoint robbery:A man reported he was robbed at gunpoint late Christmas night on Capitol Hill. According to police, the victim reported he was sitting outside his Belmont Ave E apartment around 11 PM Tuesday night when a man walked up to him, put a gun to his head and demanded his phone. The victim told police he quickly handed over his phone as the robber patted down his jeans. The victim said he only was carrying a key to his apartment and the suspect put his gun in his pocket and walked away southbound on Belmont. The suspect was described as a black male in his 30s wearing a dark grey hoodie and black denim jeans at the time of the hold-up. A search for the suspect was not successful.
  • Hilltop alley mugging: Mutual interest in the Seahawks and hand-rolled cigarettes didn’t stop a Hilltop-area alley robbery Sunday night. According to SPD, the victim said he was walking home through an alley to his apartment from a 15th Ave E bar Sunday night just before 10 PM when he encountered a man hanging out near an alley entrance. The man asked the victim for a cigarette and he obliged — stopping for a few minutes to roll the man a smoke and talk about the night’s big Seahawks victory. 

As they talked, the man asked the victim if he could give him $1 to borrow his iPhone so he could call his brother to pick him up. The victim handed over his phone and stood by as the man proceeded to pace around and chat before suddenly bolting away with the phone. The victim told police he gave chase as the suspect ran to a vehicle waiting for him at 16th and Harrison. As he attempted to get in the car, the suspect dropped the phone allowing the victim to catch up.

The victim told police he tried to brandish his folding pocket knife but dropped it. In the melee, the suspect then punched the victim in the face, sending his glasses flying. As the fight continued, another, much larger man emerged from the vehicle and told the victim to leave the shorter suspect alone. Both men were described as black males in their 30s. The victim told police he decided to back off and note the getaway Honda’s license plate number so SPD could track the vehicle down. Police searched for the car immediately following the incident but were not successful, according to the report.

  • Light rail construction wall theft: The Sound Transit art program wants to get word out about a theft that took place over the weekend involving one of artist Greg Boudreau’s works that was hanging on the big red construction wall. Somebody made off with the piece — “involving multiple layers of hand-cut stencils and aerosol paint” — and the program would like it back. Drop us a note at or contact Sound Transit art program curator DK Panif you can help track the piece down.
  • Grinch-y burglary: Not confirmed but a customer says indie book shop Spine and Crown was the victim of a break-in just before Christmas but remained open for business.
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9 thoughts on “Blotter | Christmas gunpoint robbery on Capitol Hill, alley phone mugging, light rail art theft

  1. Perhaps it’s the economy, but it seems like far more robberies have been taking place in the neighborhood lately. Or maybe it’s because of all the condos–people with more money are moving in, so criminals come here for wealthier victims. I’m hoping that something can be done to keep us all a little safer. In the meantime, everyone be careful out there! And if you have a working computer you’re not using, the Gay City library would be a worthy place to donate it. The library is a great resource for our neighborhood.

  2. Thanks you for some perspective, Justin. I have also wondered if street robberies are on the rise or if we’re just hearing about them more often because of neighborhood blogs.

  3. I am very surprised when I see a patrol car in the areas mentioned. Actually shocked there are police in Capital Hill at all. Maybe if we actually had at least their presence it could help. It seems as though all of the police are sent down to Bell Town. Although we spend much money for taxes or rent all of the money spent by the city seems to go else where. If we are lucky we get a “clean up crew” after the fact…I have actually called the Police a few times to report a crime in progress and no one has shown up.

  4. “Perhaps it’s the economy….” Sure, because 75% of the perps are young black males with the rest being young white males. Women, Asians and people over 40 don’t suffer because of the economy apparently since close to 0% of these crimes are committed by people in those groups. Or else perhaps it is lack of respect for others, opportunism and an entitlement to victimize which drives the perps. Why must people feel they need to be sympathetic to those who come into their neighborhoods to target them? Grow some balls.

  5. Hmmmm…I happen to see squads pretty frequently on my block and in the area around my place. I live in a part of the Hill that has been the site of multiple muggings, at least three shootings, and other crimes over the last few years. I don’t know where you live, but at least from my observations I see SPD making the rounds.

    That said, the cops can’t be in all places at all times. They can patrol on one block while a crime happens on another. Will more cops make a difference? Perhaps. But until the city has $$ to make that happen what are we doing to do? As neighbors, I believe we need to look out for each other and be vigilant. If you see something suspicious, report it. Call 911. They may not come right away, depending on the call, but they’ll log it and calls help determine allocation of resources.

    Belltown is in a different precinct, so I think you’re off the mark with that assumption.

  6. Just because I say “perhaps it is the economy” that does not mean I sympathize with people who prey on others–but as people become more desperate they are driven to do more desperate things. Not everyone who is affected by the economy decides to prey on others, although I would also love to see a footnote on your breakdown of the perpetrators. I doubt that young males are the only people who rob people.

    Also I understand that other groups are affected. I am a woman over 40, and I have been very affected by our current economic woes. This is a complex issue with complex roots, and it surely can’t be solved in one batch of blog comments. That’s certainly no reason for name calling or abusive commenting. Civil discourse requires far more “balls” than saying nasty things behind a screen name.

    And jseattle, thanks for the perspective. It just feels like there has been more street crime lately. Perhaps it is as dod says, the great reporting we have now makes us more conscious of it, although I will be interested to see the 2012 statistics.

  7. I for one have no sympathy whatsoever. It’s BS to say that “it’s the economy.” Once a criminal, always a criminal….regardless of what the economy is doing.

    Jason, I like your phrase “entitlement to victimize.” That is exactly what the mind-set seems to be. But I would ask the question: What is the basis of this entitlement?

  8. I agree that they should at least *try* to put more patrols on our part of the Hill (Summit and Republican). I rarely see patrol cars and, when cops do show up, it’s often in “force.” There was a loud drunk (actually sounded like Triumph the Insult Dog, poor guy) in our carport and it took 6 patrol cars to remove him. That being said, things are mostly OK in this neighborhood because we have a lot of foot traffic-there’s almost always someone walking around. It seems like the Belltown crime is more violent so I understand why they’d concentrate there, but I agree that more of a police presence *here* would be nice.