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SPD on hunt for group behind robbery spree — UPDATE: Two more attempts reported

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:

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51 thoughts on “SPD on hunt for group behind robbery spree — UPDATE: Two more attempts reported

    • Yeah, I agree. What could possibly be wrong? They can’t even deter crime within the half mile surrounding the precinct building!

      • What about the rest of the precinct? You think you deserve special treatment due to nearness? The East encapsules the whole CD. Do you have any idea what that area has been like for , oh, 60 years?

      • Nobody said that the rest of the precinct doesn’t need to be patrolled. It’s just absurd that they can’t even be effective so near the precinct headquarters, let alone in other areas which also need law enforcement.

  1. i bet the SPD could do something about this if they weren’t too busy shooting homeless people, ticketing people for jaywalking, and yelling slurs at mixed race individuals

      • You’ve never seen any of those things happen in Seattle? Why do you think a Federal Judge is in control of the SPD right now. Because they murdered a homeless man in cold blood, stepped on a latino kid’s head while threatening to beat the mexican piss out of him, punched a 17 year black girl in the face over a jay walking incident, etc. etc. etc. All very well documented in all of the media locally.

        Frankly, I’m more concerned about the police than these robbers.

      • The homeless murder was most definitely wrong. However the Latino kid was in fact hanging out in a known Latino gang hangout and in fact ran from what was a gang detective, he was not SPD. The ghetto ass 17 year old resisted the officer and he reacted with a well-known police maneuver, she’s lucky she didn’t get really hurt. She later personally apologized to that officer.

      • South Lake Union is not a known latino gang area. It was a uniformed cop who stomped on his face and made the racist remark and it was recorded by a cameraman under contract with Q13. The man was completely innocent, the officer had no probable cause to stop him and citizens are not required to obey police officers unless the order given by the cop is lawful, which in this case it was not and even former Chief Diaz agreed.

        Police officers, NEVER, have the right to use profanity or racial slurs in the line of duty. Ever. No matter if they are arresting the thugiest of all thugs. Ever.

      • spoken like a typical privilege capital hill white. Some how the cops are racists yet not racist enough that they’re hasslin’ these thugs.

      • These are just the typical exaggerations of the Occupy Seattle jerks. Sure, there are a few (rare) occasions when the police do obviously bad things, but for the most part our police force is better than many in the county. I just wish they’d get it together and start patrolling Capitol Hill more extensively.

      • Sadly, SeattleMike5, I think you need to read the news more. I believe Laika is referring to 1. the police killing homeless woodcarver John T. Williams 2. SPD’s recorded practice of writing an excess of jaywalking tickets ( I personally know 5 people who have received such tickets. 3. Does the “beat the Mexican piss out of you homey” case not ring a bell?

      • Nice comeback, Noelle15.

        Don’t forget threatening to bother Dominic Holden, The Stranger staff writer, at work.

        My friend and I were harassed a few years back (stopped, id checked) for jaywalking even thought we weren’t jaywalking. We had at least three cop cars stop for us in front of Bill’s on Broadway. The cop said something like this “If I were still in Idaho (or was it Iowa) I would have ran you over!”.
        No ticket, thankfully.

      • Yes, a small minority of police officers behave badly at times, and they should be called out and fired….but Seattle is hardly unique in this regard…such incidents happen in all cities, and in some much more so than Seattle. But you paint with a very wide brush if you malign the entire SPD because of the actions of a few. The vast majority of officers are professional and respectful in their dealings with the public. I think they deserve more credit for the very dangerous job that they do for us.

      • No, I read the news, but it’s just obvious how certain groups with a political agenda continually exaggerate these claims. No police department is perfect, and there will always be incidents with bad officers. As a whole the SPD is not as bad as the perpetual activists would have you believe.

  2. Hands down the worst police department in the nation! Obviously there is no protection only harassment and intimidation.

    • SPD has a lot of problems, but they are far from the worst. I mean, look at their response after Café Racer. Look at the sheer number of police out on the street. Compare that to the 5-10 reported (really horrible) incidents of misconduct over the past 5 year or so.

      I mean, there is always a “grass is greener” thing going on when in one place, but man, at least SPD is there. I now live in SF, and SFPD just doesn’t seem to care – unless you are literally being murdered. I one time saw a man harassing a young woman (yelling at here, spitting at her, and taking swipes at her). As this was happening, a SfPD cruiser rolled by. The officer slowed the car, rolled down the window, and then simply said “Don’t be stupid.” Then he rolled up his window and drove to the station one block away. At least THAT doesn’t happen in Seattle.

      Again, SPD isn’t perfect and there are some officers that have been really terrible to some people, but they are far from the “worst in the nation.”

  3. OK I’m going to ask a stupid question here. Why doesnt’ SPD put a couple plainclothes folks in the area around the park for a few days to round these folks up? They’ve got no problem using plainclothes officers for prostitution stings, why not use them for REAL crimes?

    • how are they supposed to know who’s a criminal, who has criminal thoughts and those people who are just walking through the park. the problem is that most of the commenters seem to think the cops are just sitting in the east precinct building just waiting for the phone to ring.

      guess what, every time you call the cops for some stupid reason: thunder, fireworks, someone picked my flowers, that’s time a cop could be spending watching the streets. as it is they are contending with the homeless and mentally ill that walk into and harass business owners and their customers.

      all the complaints people have about cal anderson could be overlayed onto many spots around the hill – broadway and pike/pine are two that come to mind. are there things that spd could do better? sure. are there some jack-booted thugs on the police force that think they can say and do what they want? yeah. but all-and-all the cops are a force that put their life on the line to respond to the citizens in a timely manner.

      how about cutting them some slack on not being psychic about where the next crime/potential crime will take place? other than that, what we can do as citizens is pay more in taxes so that spd can hire MORE cops. then maybe it would make sense to pull a plain clothes officer off an undercover child prostitution, drug and/or organized crime sting to sit on their ass in the park waiting for something to happen.

    • You could apply that question to any crime area in Seattle. In the CD, it would amount to every other corner. Way to show white priv/entitlement. The REST of the city needs SPD also.

  4. SPD continue to de-police and do nothing but react slowly and awfully to these incidents. There seems to be a new robbery every fucking week. SPD you guys are a joke. People shot, killed, robbed, blocks away from the prescient. What a fucking disgrace.

    • I posted a bit further up, but crime (specifically trending crime) cannot be solved be policing alone. It’s a systemic issue that starts in people at a young age. You know what solves the problem of trending crime? Quality education. If we just gave this kids a chance at a quality education – at all – maybe they’d be doing something different. Too bad in Seattle the schools with the highest minority and low-income student bodies also receive the least amount of funding. This isn’t just a problem with the police. It’s a problem with all of us.

      Also, I’d just like to add that where I currently reside, it’s a *good* weekend if there are only robberies or stabbings. Seattle is still a really relatively safe city, and for that you should be thankful. Even the equity gap here isn’t huge. If a few people just started caring, that gap could shrink and people of all economic backgrounds could have a chance at a quality life.

  5. What’s the alternative here? Capitol Hill citizens doing the policing themselves? That’d be the fucking joke.

    If you want vigilantism on the streets, just say so instead of consistently crucifying the police every week.

    If the police were as ineffective as you’d like to believe things would be a helluva lot worse. We all believe that laws against jaywalking and public drunkenness should be enforced until it’s us doing the drinking and walking against the light.

    Maybe if the citizenry cared more about preserving order and peace then the police wouldn’t have to get involved so much, but no, “Ignore it and don’t get involved” seems to be the Capitol Hill’s hipsters mantra.

    • Ya, lets get a stand your ground law in Seattle! I am mostly being tongue in cheek, but maybe as I think about not a bad idea…

  6. A heads up to the local businesses too – a couple of very young, tall, thin east African guys are scoping us out. They walk in, wander around without acknowledgement while talking on the phone and then attempt to wander into restricted storage areas when you get distracted or because they don’t seem like a threat but they also don’t buy anything.

  7. The same people who were ranting about unmonitored cameras at Cal Anderson Park being Big Brother are now shiting themselves when some folks get robbed. Grow up. And welcome to what those of us who live in the CD have dealt with since the 1960’s.

    • Perhaps I have missed it, but I haven’t read of any similar incidents in the CD lately…all the muggings/assaults etc seem to be near Cal Anderson and Pike-Pine.

  8. I ran into the 3 suspects on union and broadway ct. between 2:50am and 4am, I can’t remember exactly what time, on early sunday august 4th. and I got punched in the mouth once by one of them.

  9. That one-block stretch of 10th Ave E, between Denny and John, is a kind of no-man’s land for now…the tall wall on the west blocks out and prevents these criminal incidents from being seen, except by those who live in the residences on the east side. And there is very little foot traffic on that block, so it’s a prime spot for the urban thugs to do their thing.

    It will help when the light rail station development occurs and that wall comes down, because then there will be more “eyes on the street.”

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  11. Yeah that’s because much of what goes down in the CD and South Seattle is generally under reported to police and or by the media . . . I am sure that will change once those ‘hoods are fully gentrified though ;-)

  12. Just saw a matching description of these guys hanging out on Nagle street next to the Broadway Building across from the basketball courts. I tried calling the robbery hotline and no one picked up :(

  13. Stop relying on the police. This is a problem the community needs to solve. SPD is bashed every time they effect an arrest, pretty demoralizing.

    SPD is recruiting sign up and make a change, or start a block watch. Or be honest will yourselves and ask why are the majority of gun crimes committed on capitol hill, perpetrated by black males, and or immigrants.

    • Drop the new Politically correct order, and have a serious conversation on the problems, our different races face in this nation; i.e, lack of jobs, education in black, other non-white neighborhoods.

      And don’t call it, racism.

  14. These guys again? From the UW Police Department:

    Notification of a Criminal Incident – Seattle Campus
    August 13, 2013
    Armed Robbery-University District

    On Tuesday, 08/13/2013 at approximately 12:50 a.m., an armed robbery occurred in the 5200 block of 19th Ave., N.E. The victim, a 17 year-old male, was walking northbound on the sidewalk when a vehicle pulled to the curb alongside him, and he was rushed by three suspects. One suspect tried to grab the victim’s cell phone from his hand, then displayed a handgun and demanded the victim’s cellular phone; another suspect rummaged through the victim’s pockets. The three suspects quickly got back into the vehicle and drove away. The suspect vehicle is described as a mid-2000 dark colored 4-door sedan with shiny silver wheels. The victim was not injured.

    The suspect with the handgun is described as a black male, 5’10” in height, with a heavy build. The other two male suspects were also described as black, with one being of lighter complexion. All suspects were described as being in their late teens to early twenties, all wearing dark colored pants and t-shirts.

    Seattle Police and University of Washington Police were in the area quickly but the vehicle and suspects were not located.

    This case is being investigated by the Seattle Police Department under case number 13-290717. If you have any additional information about this crime or suspects, please call the Seattle Police Department at (206) 625-5011.

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  16. I was violently mugged in Jan 2010 while visiting Seattle. What concerns me is that the mugging occurred on 1st Street, about 2 blocks from the Hotel 1000 were I was staying. It was only 730pm on a Saturday night, and there were tourists and residents all over. Doesn’t the SPD see the need to post plain clothes officers in the areas that are of greater risk, or at least more of a uniformed presence? The descriptions of the perps match my assailants, but at least the SPD caught them and they spent some time in prison. I still keep tabs on them – I have their names – and I see that they are still committing crimes and using the system as a revolving door. Perhaps the laws need mandatory sentences for repeat offenders as they have here in Florida. I loved your city when I visited, with the exception of the 20 minutes of beat down. Harborview MC was really good.

  17. Pingback: Blotter | SPD nails robbery suspect trio, biker held up at 23rd/John | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle