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Suspect busted in act in reported burglary at Central District cafe — UPDATE

Seattle Police cars filled the intersection at 20th and Union late Tuesday night and took one person into custody after stopping a break-in in progress at the Central District’s Katy’s Corner Cafe.

According to East Precinct radio dispatches, a 911 caller reported the suspicious person around 10 PM and police moved into position around the E Union cafe and awaited the arrival of a K9 unit before contacting the suspect.

The suspected burglar was spotted inside the cafe and quickly taken into custody once officers were fully in place. We don’t know how the suspect gained entry or any damage to the small but popular cafe. The intersection was closed to traffic during the response.

UPDATE: A neighbor and CHS reader tells CHS the person briefly taken into custody turned out to be the cafe’s cleaning person who had been inside working. Thanks for the update. Sorry for the error!

UPDATE x2: Sounds like a stressful experience for the person caught up in this. One eyewitness says guns were drawn. Owner Katy Leighton describes what happened:

An employee had stayed late to have some down time and do a few extra chores. He had his headphones in and did not realize what was happening until he was surrounded and had guns drawn on him. Poor guy was put in handcuffs and was told that he was a good liar.

“He was doing absolutely nothing wrong,” Leighton writes.

Original report: The break-in and bust comes amid concerns across Seattle about the many small businesses that have temporarily closed during COVID-19 restrictions and empty neighborhoods creating fewer “eyes on the street” to discourage this type of crime.

Like many of the area’s cafes, Katy’s remains open during limited hours for takeout and to-go orders but many businesses in its area of E Union that would normally be open are shuttered for the time being.

CHS does not yet have SPD’s reported totals for crimes including burglaries in March but there is anecdotal evidence of a small increase in reported break-ins.

Since this weekend, East Precinct officers have responded to at least nine commercial burglaries that weren’t immediately determined to have been false alarms from tripped security systems: one in the 1100 block of E Union, a 1200 block of Boren report, one on E Gwinn Place, one in the 100 block of Broadway E, one in the 500 block of Broadway E, two in the 600 block of Broadway E, a 900 block E John break-in, a 600 E Pike reported burglary, and another in the 1700 block of 15th Ave.

We’ll know more when SPD’s monthly totals for March are released.

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15 thoughts on “Suspect busted in act in reported burglary at Central District cafe — UPDATE

  1. I am hearing on my neighborhood listserv that this was just an employee doing extra cleaning after hours. you guys may want to do some additional research and issue an update of the story.

  2. I’ve heard from the owner and another employee that it was just an employee working late.

    “We don’t know how the suspect gained entry or any damage to the small but popular cafe.”

    He gained entry with his key. There was no damage because he was _working_ late.

    Perhaps you should contact the owner of the cafe for comment, and update this incredibly misleading article?

  3. CHS should update the headline and lede of this article; it’s totally misleading. The real story here, apparently, is that cops drew guns on an employee of a cafe who was literally just doing his job. Right now, the headline and beginning of this piece sounds like the police stopped a crime — and it contains no verification from SPD or anyone involved. In reality, it appears police dangerously escalated a situation against an innocent worker and handcuffed the poor guy, then accused him of being a liar.

  4. Having lived in Madison Park, a neighborhood defined by upper middle class, middle aged white ladies with far too much time on their hands…I have a feeling I know how this situation sort of fell into place.

    Would anyone like to place a bet as to whether or not the person who called SPD was the type to–I dunno–spend far too much time on NextDoor?

      • My absolute favorite NextDoor post from when I lived in Madison Park was:

        URGENT ALERT: Black man on my porch!

        Between NextDoor and those creepy Ring doorbells (which are really an upper middle class white lady surveillance network, and are monitored with a Stasi-like vigilance), I feel there are far too many opportunities for upper middle class white ladies to publicly demonstrate their bigotry, classism, and overarching paranoia…..

  5. When will you truly fix your headline and story? This neighbor was not “busted in the act,” they were frightened at work by guns-drawn SPD who handcuffed them. The pandemic is a disaster for online revenue but keeping up this click-thirsty misleading headline and lede after you know better is telling on you. I’ve been reading you since the start and this is not a good sign. You can fix this!

      • One more thing — there is nothing click thirsty about this. We’ll always work to bring stories to the community on our own terms. And we treat situations like this as a process to build on, not wipe away our reporting. CHS does not wait for what SPD decides is important. We can’t leave it to business owners to sign off on the information we gather. In this situation, Katy Leighton has been great about helping to make sure the full story got out and I thank her.

      • Thanks for responding, but I’d like it better if you rewrote as suggested. You are placing correct information only after headlining and leading with knowingly incorrect and inflammatory information about a real person. This is not a situation where your original wording has archival or news value, the opposite is true in fact. I apologize for the click-bait accusation but I struggle to think of another reason for any writer handling the story this way instead of rewriting it all.

  6. I agree with the others. Change the headline to something like “cafe employee mistakenly arrested in suspected break-in.” Put the updates at the top of the article or add a preface before the original story. Otherwise you’re misleading people who will read the first paragraph and think there was a real break-in. It’s journalism 101: don’t bury the lede. If you have to look that up then you should to back to school.

  7. Agreeing with everyone else who think you should change the title of this article. This person was traumatized. I appreciate all your hard work, but there is definitely room for improvement with your handling of this, bud.

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