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The year in crime: 2012
WISE SON: The 25-year-old son of a Mercer Island woman involved in a DUI hit-and-run followed his intoxicated mother in an attempt to prevent her from driving after 11:50 a.m., Jan. 7. Police arrested the woman, 59, at 12:42 p.m. in the 3600 block of 84th Avenue S.E. She refused standard sobriety tests. Police released her to the fire department, and she was taken to Overlake Hospital to be evaluated. The victim in the hit-and-run was a 16-year-old Mercer Island boy whose vehicle was damaged on its driver’s side. Both vehicles were damaged in the incident.
NOT US: Two plumbers drove away from an accident scene after backing into a vehicle and inspecting the damage at 12:30 p.m., Jan. 17, in the 4800 block of Forest Avenue S.E. One of the plumbers was cited for hit-and-run and driving with a suspended license (for unpaid tickets). Two witnesses observed the plumbing truck back out of a driveway into the road. One of the witnesses, who was outside at the time, heard a crash and “ripping sound,” according to the police report. The two occupants of the truck got out and looked at the bumper of a vehicle parked on the street, as if they had hit the vehicle. The vehicle was dented and marked with the transfer of white paint. When they were contacted by police after leaving the scene, they denied hitting the vehicle.
TAG TEAM: A man acted as a “lookout” while his accomplice stole two bottles of champagne worth $439 off the shelf and hid them in the front of his jacket in the South end QFC between 5:10 and 5:24 p.m. on Jan. 22. After discovering that the bottles were missing, an employee reviewed a surveillance camera video for clues, which revealed the incident. The two men were in their 30s.
THIRSTY: Alpenland Delicatessen was robbed on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 4, and police located the suspect within an hour. At 2:40 p.m., a 22-year-old Bellevue man threatened an Alpenland employee with a pocket knife after stealing a bottle of Bud Light beer from the deli. The employee had followed the suspect out of the store, demanding that he return the beer and telling him to open his jacket. Witnesses provided police with a description of the suspect, who fled. Police found and arrested him in a multi-level parking lot at 3:45 p.m. in the 2700 block of 78th Avenue S.E. The suspect admitted he was in the deli.
PASSED OUT: A paper carrier reported a Ford Explorer in some bushes at 5:01 a.m., Feb. 19, in the 2200 block of 77th Avenue S.E. A 24-year-old man was unconscious in the driver’s seat after consuming alcohol. An open beer can was in the center console. A police officer detected a strong odor of intoxicants around the man, who got his wallet out and fumbled through his money when he was contacted. He left his vehicle abruptly and was considerably off-balance, having to steady himself on the vehicle, according to the case report. His explanation for running into the bushes was that he was resting. He was arrested at 5:20 a.m.
GARDENING: Someone dug a small Japanese maple tree worth $700 out of a South end woman’s backyard in the 9100 block of S.E. 78th Place and stole the tree.
SMASHED: A thief dropped four bottles of wine as he fled from Albertsons on foot at 7:45 p.m. on Sunday, March 4. He kept two bottles, having stolen six total, as he ran away northbound in the 2700 block of 77th Avenue S.E. One witness was present, and the suspect was followed out of the store.
UNINVITED GUESTS: More than 100 teenagers crashed a 16-year-old girl’s party and ransacked the house at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 10, after one of the girl’s friends tweeted an invitation to the party, intended for only a half dozen girls, in the 2900 block of 74th Avenue S.E. The girl and her friends tried to lock the house, but the intruders — from Seattle and unknown to the girls — entered by force and brought alcohol. Three police officers responded to the scene at 9 p.m. and found cars parked all over. Police ordered everyone to leave. A Macbook Pro worth $1,000 was reported missing.
REPEAT: The same woman who stole wine from the South end QFC on Monday, April 16, repeated her crime between 7:29 and 7:36 a.m. the next Monday, April 23. The woman stole six bottles of wine worth a total of $377.94 at approximately the same time as the first theft.
PROSPECTING: A teenage girl stole a purse after asking about it at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center between 6:40 and 6:50 p.m. on April 26. A 38-year-old Seattle woman left her purse on a chair for more than 15 minutes, and when she returned, the purse was gone. The purse contained $20 in cash, multiple gift cards, including Macy’s cards worth $275, and bank cards. A witness said that the suspect had asked about the purse before taking it and walking toward the front counter. The purse, however, was not turned in, and the victim found it later in a restroom garbage can without its contents. MICEC has a surveillance camera video of the girl taking the purse.
WRONG WAY: A Mercedes-Benz backed into two pedestrians leaving Zaw Pizza at 1:30 p.m., May 8, in the Tabit Square parking lot on S.E. 27th Street. A Zaw employee, 25, was carrying out a customer’s pizzas and was knocked down along with the customer, 33, who was leaving with her young daughter. The 22-year-old driver was following a friend and both entered the parking lot in the wrong direction. When they realized their mistake, they both began backing out. The 22-year-old driver did not look behind her at first. The mother and employee sustained injuries and were treated at the scene. Police cited the driver for unsafe backing.
STASH: Students hid drugs in woman’s yard near Mercer Island High School at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 23, in the 4200 block of 91st Avenue S.E. The woman, 35, saw a white vehicle park in front of her residence. Two male teenagers got out of the vehicle and placed a red duffel bag in some bushes in the woman’s yard. After they drove away, the woman retrieved the bag and found drugs and smoking pipes inside.
DON'T MESS WITH GRANDMA: An 81-year-old woman did not let a thief get away with her purse in Albertsons at 2:45 p.m. on Sunday, June 10, at 2755 77th Ave. S.E. The woman confronted the thief, a tall man in his 20s, after he snatched her purse out of her shopping cart while she was choosing grocery items. She had left her cart unattended. The woman got her purse back after stopping the suspect, who then fled in a green Ford Explorer. She gave a detailed description of the suspect to police. The purse contained cash, credit cards and papers.
WASTEFUL: A 39-year-old Seattle man hid bottles of wine worth $136.90 in his backpack and stole them from Albertsons at 10:51 p.m., June 25. An Albertsons employee confronted the suspect, who fled northeast toward the park and ride. A bus passenger saw the suspect throw his backpack into some bushes. Police arrested the suspect, a repeat offender who admitted the theft.
ORDER TO GO: A 21-year-old Bellevue woman stole a bag of deli chicken wings and a bowl of macaroni and cheese from the South end QFC at 3:30 p.m., July 3, in the 8400 block of S.E. 68th Street. Two witnesses were present. Police arrested the woman an hour after she left the scene in a truck with three people. Police stopped the truck, and the suspect admitted the theft. The stolen food was recovered.
PHONE HOME: Dozens of bottles of alcohol were stolen from the North end QFC on Mercer Island at 12:30 a.m. on Monday, July 9. The theft, which police initially estimated at $900, amounted to a total of $2,000. The suspects, two men ages 23 and 20 from Maple Valley and Seattle, fled in a Cadillac Seville and were immediately located by a police officer. They initially appeared cooperative, as if they would stop, but the vehicle sped away and struck a tree after accelerating from a stop sign in the 7600 block of North Mercer Way. Both suspects then fled on foot. A King County Sheriff’s K-9 unit tracked one suspect, the passenger, who was caught and arrested. The other suspect remained at large until 5:30 a.m., when he came back to the north QFC to use a phone. Store employees and a nearby KIRO 7 crew called 911 when they saw the suspect, who was banged up and bloodied, in the QFC parking lot. He was arrested outside of Baskin-Robbins. Both suspects were booked into the King County Jail. Police recovered the stolen alcohol from the suspects’ vehicle.
DRINKERS ON THE ROOF: Two men, 19 and 21, fled an underage drinking party in the 6600 block of S.E. 24th Street by running through neighbors’ properties on Sunday, July 22. A 37-year-old man found the two strangers on the roof of a detached building in his yard after 2:49 a.m. Both subjects were identified and cited for malicious mischief. Later that morning, the victim discovered that the subjects broke a gutter when they climbed onto the roof. Damages totaled $400.
BOOM: A Toyota Camry rear-ended a vehicle at 2:12 p.m., Aug. 3, when the driver, 53, became distracted by the sound of the Blue Angels in the 7700 block of S.E. 27th Street. The driver said the accident happened when he looked down because he thought something was wrong with his vehicle after he heard a loud boom. The noise, however, had come from the Blue Angels. Police cited the driver for inattention.
OVER THE LINE: A 54-year-old woman became upset by a vehicle parked halfway onto her property in the 4300 block of Forest Avenue S.E. after the Seafair air show at 2:50 p.m., Aug. 4. She tried to locate the owners by searching through a wallet and purse in the vehicle. She found the phone number of one subject’s parent. No items were stolen and the woman did no damage to the vehicle. A police officer noted that the vehicle was partially on city right-of-way and partially on the woman’s property.
CAMPOUT: Police contacted a 20-year-old man camping inside south Luther Burbank Park after park hours in the 2600 block of 84th Avenue S.E. The man, a Pullman, Wash., resident, was arrested at 12:45 a.m., Aug. 19, on a $10,000 Ephrata warrant for delivering drugs. He was booked into the King County Jail.
OVER THE LIMIT: Police stopped a vehicle speeding 58 mph in a 30-mph zone at 1:30 a.m., Sept. 16, and arrested a 32-year-old man in the 7300 block of westbound I-90. The driver had been drinking. He vomited and passed out at the police department. He did not regain consciousness, and he was taken to a hospital for a blood draw.
IMPROVISE: A burglar climbed onto a backyard barbecue to reach the lower roof of a house in the 7500 block of 85th Place S.E. and cut the screen of an open second-story bathroom window on Tuesday, Sept. 18. The thief entered the house through the window and stole a Nikon D90 digital SLR, HP laptop and jewelry sometime between 8 a.m. and 3:35 p.m. in the neighborhood between Islander Middle School and Wildwood Park. Fingerprints were not recovered from the scene.
BATHROOM BRAWL: A fight occurred in the Roanoke Inn men’s restroom at 11:45 p.m., Sept. 29. The 51-year-old suspect, a Hawaii resident, followed the victim, a 49-year-old Mercer Island man, into the restroom after the two men had an argument. The suspect entered the bathroom stall and punched the victim multiple times. Two people reported the incident. Police located the suspect at a nearby gas station after he fled the scene. He was arrested and booked into the Issaquah Jail.
OVER AND OUT: Police found a young man passed out inside his vehicle, with the headlights on, at 11:53 p.m., Oct. 6, in the North end QFC parking lot. Drug paraphernalia was in plain view and the police detected an odor of marijuana. Police searched the vehicle with the driver’s consent and arrested the driver, 17, for being in possession of drugs and paraphernalia. The driver was later released to his father.
DUMB: A 33-year-old woman attempted to cash a “washed” check at the Chase Bank drive-thru in the 7900 block of S.E. 28th Street at 4:30 p.m., Oct. 10. Becoming suspicious of the check, the teller asked the woman to finish the transaction inside. The suspect — later identified — drove away and left the check behind with a driver’s license. The check had been stolen and belonged to a Kirkland resident.
DAYLIGHT DRUNK: A pickup truck exiting westbound I-90 onto Island Crest Way at 3:30 p.m., Nov. 3, sped up the off-ramp and veered suddenly to avoid rear-ending another vehicle, then drove over two pedestrian islands, wrecked a pedestrian light signal, and continued down a nearby street at 3:30 p.m. Police arrested the driver, a 65-year-old Seattle man who had been drinking.
FORGOTTEN: A 41-year-old Las Vegas woman left her purse on a bench in the north end of Mercerdale Park between 2:45 and 4:36 p.m., Nov. 4, in the 3200 block of 78th Avenue S.E. When she returned to the park to search for her purse, it was missing. The purse contained all of the woman’s ID and $100 in cash, and she was scheduled for a flight home the next day.
STRANGE ENCOUNTER: A 17-year-old boy came home in the evening and found a strange woman inside, stealing items, on Tuesday, Nov. 20, near West Mercer Elementary School. The intruder fled through the front door of the residence and drove away. Multiple items handled by the suspect were taken into evidence, including perfume bottles, a perfume box, toothbrushes and a pack of Glide dental floss. The woman also left behind a tote that she had been holding and dropped a jewelry box along with a plastic bag full of clothes. A sweater at the scene, similar to what the suspect was wearing, was also taken into evidence. Fingerprints were lifted from several places.
'TRADING' CARS: The theft of a WSDOT employee’s vehicle was interrupted at the Park on the Lid between 8 and 9:25 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 4, after City of Mercer Island workers informed a police officer of a suspicious person near the WSDOT Tunnel Facility in the 2200 block of 72nd Avenue S.E. The police officer contacted the subject inside a vehicle with a broken window and a severely damaged steering column and wiring. The 21-year-old man, who said that “the owner had traded him vehicles,” was in the process of stealing the vehicle, a Kia Motors Corp. Sportage. The officer contacted the vehicle’s owner, who said that no one had been authorized to enter or drive his vehicle. The suspect was arrested at 9:27 a.m. and was booked into the King County Jail.