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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