2011: A year of crime and unfortunate events


Off road: A driver lost control of his vehicle at 25 mph after the engine died at 3:32 a.m. on Mercerwood Drive. The driver, a 37-year-old SeaTac man, was unable to brake or steer the vehicle, a Lincoln, and attempted turning onto 95th Avenue S.E. in the 4200 block. The vehicle stopped after running over a large boulder and shrubs. The driver and passenger were unharmed, and the vehicle was towed from the scene with a damaged front bumper and undercarriage.

Pockets full: Police caught a thief with pockets full of jewelry and electronics and arrested him at 6:20 p.m. in the 6600 block of East Mercer Way. An 80-year-old man reported that a suspicious stranger was at the residence of his neighbor, a disabled woman who did not know the stranger. Police found the thief, a 48-year-old Seattle man, inside and he claimed to be working for the woman. He had an outstanding warrant with the Auburn Police Department and was arrested for attempted theft. Items in his pockets included a telephone, camera and jewelry.

Beyond disgust: A hazmat cleaning service was called to clean up a hazardous mess at a residence east of Island Crest Way on Jan. 22. Four gallons of vomit and excrement were dumped onto a Mercedes-Benz that was parked in a carport located in the 4500 block of 86th Avenue S.E. Fingerprints were taken from a five-gallon bucket and a pair of latex gloves for evidence, along with a sample to be tested for DNA. The resident, a 58-year-old woman, reported the incident on Saturday afternoon and suspected that a person had entered her carport sometime during the past 24 hours.


Greedy enophiles: One hundred bottles of wine were stolen out of a wine cooler at a residence in the 4500 block of 87th Avenue S.E. on Tuesday, Feb. 8. The residents reported that the burglary happened while they were at home, between 6:25 and 6:40 p.m. Beer and soda were also stolen from a refrigerator in the garage. Suspects’ fingerprints were taken from the wine cooler door.

White van alert: Two men fled from a garage in the 3800 block of 80th Avenue S.E. after being discovered by the homeowner, a 54-year-old man, who was going outside to smoke after 9 p.m. on Feb. 11. Entry into the house could be made from the garage, which was attached to the residence. The suspects jumped into a white minivan, which was driven by a third suspect, and sped away. No items were reported missing.

Heavy Bug: A Volkswagen Passat was towed from the lawn of a residence in the 7400 block of West Mercer Way at 10:15 p.m. The driver, 18, had driven down a private road to turn around. She drove across a freshly seeded and sanded lawn in a circular area that she mistakenly thought was part of the driveway. The vehicle sank into the yard and had to be towed out.


Enophile strikes again: 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 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 again at 12:30 p.m. The stolen bottles were recovered.


Cake walk: A suspect bought two cakes at Baskin-Robbins in the 2900 block of 78th Avenue S.E. after 2:30 p.m. on April 17 with a forged money order and left with $134.02 in change. He fraudulently changed a $2 money order to $200. A security camera recorded the incident.


Indiscreet: A woman stole an antique rug worth $175 out of the Mercer Island Thrift Shop on S.E. 34th Street after 1:45 p.m. A security camera recorded the suspect walking out of the store with the rug.

In pieces: A vehicle crashed through a fence in the 4100 block of 86th Avenue S.E. at 2:28 a.m. The crash awakened the resident, who saw the vehicle back into more fencing and drive away. A man was driving, with a female passenger. The resident’s vehicle was damaged from being hit, and police identified the suspect vehicle as a dark blue Toyota RAV4 after gathering several broken parts from the scene, including a passenger mirror and pieces of the front bumper.

High spirits: The principal of Mercer Island High School caught an 18-year-old student, who was intoxicated, climbing a fence during the playoff soccer game at 8:28 p.m. on Monday, May 9, in the 9100 block of S.E. 42nd Street. Police arrested the student after he was uncooperative.


Lucky driver: An 18-year-old driver fell asleep at the wheel in the 2200 block of 60th Avenue S.E. and drove onto a rock wall at 7:15 a.m. on June 5. He said his vehicle bounced off the wall on two wheels and the passenger side then struck the wall after rotating counterclockwise. The driver was injured and sustained a nose laceration, and his mother took him to a hospital. His vehicle was towed from the scene with extensive damage.

Tag sale: A surveillance video in the Mercer Island Thrift Store caught two suspects in the act of switching the price tag on an antique 1930s swivel book stand after 4 p.m., June 23. One suspect then purchased the item for a price considerably less than the original cost. The suspects were cited with one count of shoplifting in the third degree.


Panic attack: A 29-year-old Mercer Island resident did not pay for towing services worth $140 after his car was towed from Seattle to Mercer Island. According to the police report, the suspect “panicked” after realizing he didn’t have money to pay. He drove away from the scene on two flat tires after the truck driver disconnected the vehicle. An hour later the suspect was found at a local bar, where he was arrested at 1:18 a.m. and then booked into the Issaquah Jail.

Bogus bills: A Starbucks customer bought coffee with a counterfeit $20 bill around 12:30 p.m. on July 15 in the 7600 block of S.E. 27th Street. The customer received change back. The Starbucks manager was able to track the transaction after finding the bill while counting the till. A surveillance video of the suspect was in the process of being made available, according to the police report.

Cash cart: A man grabbed a woman’s purse out of her cart while she was shopping at the North end QFC at 2:40 p.m., July 15. The woman had placed her purse in the children’s seat. The suspect fled out of the store’s northwest entrance. A surveillance camera captured footage of the suspect.


Milkman: A man stole 13 glass milk containers from QFC at 7823 S.E. 28th Street and returned them for a cash refund of $24.05 after 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 15. An employee saw a stack of milk crates outside, behind the store, before the suspect’s transaction. After the transaction, the employee found the milk crates empty and strewn around. Another employee remembered seeing the suspect return five or six milk containers two nights prior to the incident. The store has video footage of the incident, recorded by a surveillance camera.


Con man: A man purchased gum for $0.49 at the Mercer Island Walgreens at 6:08 p.m. and asked the cashier for change and bills. The cashier became confused, and the suspect left the store with the gum and $130 in cash. One witness was present.

Shutterbug: A Starbucks store manager barred a post office employee from all Starbucks stores on Mercer Island, with police officers as witnesses, after the suspect used his break at 12 p.m. on Sept. 20 to take multiple photos of women employed at the South end Starbucks.


Runaway machine: A street sweeper not owned by the city rolled backwards after it was unhitched from a large, parked truck at 8:55 a.m., Oct. 7, in the 4200 block of Mercerwood Drive. It rolled around a curve, struck a large metal pole in a driveway and tipped over. The driver, 24, was ejected from the sweeper and reported pain in his hip and leg. He was cited for driving with a suspended license.


Trim a tree: A 53-year-old Mercer Island woman reported that her neighbor trimmed a tree on her property on Forest Avenue S.E. sometime during the afternoon on Nov. 4.

Lost: Police identified a 17-year-old male runaway from Kansas after stopping a vehicle for traffic offenses at 10:57 a.m., Nov. 17, in the 8000 block of North Mercer Way. All four occupants of the vehicle were detained, and one of them, a 16-year-old boy, was arrested on a nationwide warrant from Kansas. Police transported the runaway to the MIPD and seized a gas mask-improvised marijuana smoking device, a pill grinder and a bottle of Mickeys beer.


Grocery heist: A woman stole an estimated $300 worth of groceries from the South end QFC at 7:45 p.m., Dec. 4. Police obtained video surveillance from the store showing the woman, in her 30s, pushing a full cart out of the store with a child. There was also a video of the woman and her child in a back aisle. The suspect left in a gray Honda Accord, and an employee recovered the cart and $47.25 worth of items. Two witnesses were present.

Wayward: A van went off the road, crossed a yard and struck an unoccupied, parked SUV at 6:15 p.m. in the 8800 block of S.E. 54th Street. The driver, a 42-year-old woman, said she blacked out “but couldn’t remember.” She said she had a seizure disorder but did not think that caused the collision. No alcohol was involved. The woman was cited for inattention and having no vehicle insurance. No injuries were reported.

Fake favor: A 30-year-old Bothell man allowed a stranger to borrow his cell phone at 1:15 a.m. in the 3300 block of 72nd Avenue S.E. The stranger drove up in a red vehicle, said he was running out of gas, and asked the victim if he could borrow the victim’s cell phone to call for assistance. When the victim handed over his cell phone, the stranger drove away with it.

Condom calamity: Police arrested an 18-year-old Mercer Island male at Albertsons on Dec. 28 in the 2700 block of 77th Avenue S.E. An employee saw the teenager steal a box of condoms from a shelf and hide them in his jacket. The suspect then bought a pack of cigarettes and proceeded to walk out. The employee confronted the suspect, and both got into a wrestling match. The suspect punched the employee and was arrested at 12:26 a.m.


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