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Over 30 vehicles hit in car prowls on Mercer Island | Mercer Island Police Blotter
The number of vehicles prowled during the last week of March is up to 33, according to the Mercer Island Police Department.
"They were spread across the Island, from the north end to the south end. Many of the windows were smashed and others were simply left unlocked, making easy entry for the prowlers," said Cmdr. Leslie Burns. "The prowlers were fairly inconsistent with what they took. In some instances they took small electronics such as iPods and GPS systems, and in other cases, they passed up these same items and took change or paper documents such as vehicle registrations."
View Car prowls on Mercer Island in a larger map
The car prowls were clustered between the 5200 and 5600 blocks of West Mercer Way and throughout the First Hill neighborhood, with a few isolated incidents north and south, from March 26 to March 30. There was a similar series of car prowls in Kenmore, and detectives are collaborating with nearby agencies to identify suspects in the cases.
View Car prowls on Mercer Island in a larger map
One Mercer Island resident saw the suspects at 2 a.m., but did not call police. Another resident heard her car alarm at 2 a.m. in the 6700 block of S.E. 25th Street, but saw no suspicious activity out the window. In the morning she discovered that the front passenger window of her vehicle, a Mercedes-Benz, had been shattered, but no items were missing.
Suspects used a pair of 12-inch channel lock pliers to shatter a vehicle window in one early morning incident and left the pliers behind on the back seat. The break-in happened after 8 a.m. on March 30 when the driver took a one-hour walk in Pioneer Park with friends. Her purse was stolen from the back seat, where she had left it.
In other car prowls, glove box contents were dumped out, a radio faceplate was removed, and a two-way radio was stolen. One prowled vehicle was a rental car. A woman's purse was stolen in the 2200 block of 66th Avenue S.E., and a neighbor found the woman's wallet and checkbook down the street. Another stolen purse was recovered near the 5200 block of West Mercer Way. Four blocks away, suspects left a box of CDs in bushes next to a driveway but took a bottle of cologne and a pair of sunglasses. In the First Hill neighborhood, $30 in quarters and an oxygen detector were among stolen items.
Vehicle models with the most break-ins included the Volkswagen Jetta, Lexus, Ford F100, Honda Accord/Coupe, Jeep Cherokee, Chevrolet Suburban, Honda Civic and Mercedes-Benz. On average, total loss in damages and theft ranged from $300 to $950.
The police department advises taking the following precautions against car prowls:
• Always lock your home and vehicles, even if they are left unattended for only a short period of time.
• Do not leave valuables in the car and do not leave items in plain sight, such as GPS units on the dashboard.
• If a car alarm goes off at night or if you see something suspicious, call 911 right away — even if you think it may be nothing.
Fraud: Wells Fargo notified a Mercer Island man, 50, of fraud after someone used his account to make suspicious online purchases totaling $2,000. The bank removed the purchases from the victim's account. The suspect also opened accounts with Dell and Capital One in the victim's name and attempted to make a Dell purchase.
Forgery: An unknown suspect spent $7,046 on airfares using a 56-year-old Mercer Island woman's Visa account. The victim's bank caught the 12 fraudulent transactions before they were finalized.
Warrant arrest: An 18-year-old man was booked into the Issaquah Jail on a MIPD misdemeanor warrant at 1:50 a.m.
Missing wallet: A Mercer Island man, 36, reported his wallet missing. He deactivated his charge cards and reported that he might have driven off after setting his wallet on top of his vehicle sometime after March 24. The total loss was $50.
Theft: Someone stole cash and checks out of a locked drawer at Youth Theatre Northwest in the 8800 block of S.E. 40th Street. The theft was reported at 11:23 a.m.
Warrant arrest: A 22-year-old Auburn man was booked into the Issaquah City Jail at 10:51 a.m. on a $2,000 warrant for driving with a suspended license.
Car prowl: A suspect stole a metal dog ramp out of a Mercer Island man's pickup truck in the north Luther Burbank Park lot between 7:30 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. Witnesses were not able to get the suspect's license plate number. The loss was $25.
Hidden safe: A safe was sawed in half and dumped in a line of trees on a 55-year-old Mercer Island man's property in the 4100 block of Boulevard Place. The resident mistook the safe for an old sink when he first saw it, sometime after March 17. He reported it to police at 5:35 p.m. It is likely linked to a MIPD crime case.
Accident: A vehicle spun out at 10:54 p.m. after failing to yield to another vehicle in the intersection of 77th Place S.E. and S.E. 37th Street. The vehicle struck an Audi with four teenage occupants and spun counter-clockwise as the driver, 37, kept his foot on the gas pedal, drove through a street sign and damaged an adjacent yard. He sustained a knee laceration. The Audi came to a stop in a yard on the opposite side of the street, and no other injuries were reported. Both vehicles were towed.
Reckless burning: A trash can fire at Mercer Island High School set off a fire alarm and brought firefighters to the scene during the Tolo dance at 11:15 p.m. Someone started the fire in a restroom.
Theft: Two bottles of wine worth $35.99 each were stolen at 3:44 p.m. from QFC in the 7800 block of S.E. 28th Street. The suspect, identified as a 58-year-old Kent man, tucked the bottles under his coat as he left the store and drove away in a Cadillac. There were two witnesses of the incident. The same suspect returned the next day, and after leaving the QFC with bottles of champagne hidden in his jacket, he set them on the front seat of his vehicle and went back inside the store. He attempted to steal more wine, but stopped when he realized an employee was watching him. Police arrested the suspect outside after he left the store at 12:30 p.m. The stolen bottles were recovered.
Fender-bender: A three-car pile-up occurred after a vehicle was rear-ended and pushed into another car stopped for traffic at 6:20 p.m. in the 8600 block of S.E. 40th Street. The driver who caused the accident was charged with inattention for not watching the road as she retrieved her cell phone. Two vehicles were towed.
Theft: A metal fire security box with elevator keys was forcibly removed from a wall at the Newell Court Apartments sometime after Feb. 28. The box was next to the elevator. The incident was reported at 3:49 p.m.
Theft: A baby stroller was stolen from the front porch of a residence in the 9700 block of S.E. 40th Street sometime after 11 a.m. on March 26. The theft was reported at 7:29 a.m.