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The Year in Crime 2008

A BMW sport utility vehicle rests atop a US Postal Service mailbox and a parked Subaru after jumping a retaining wall out of a parking lot along 76th Avenue SE in the downtown business disstrict on Mercer Island, Ocotber 31, 2008.  - Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter
A BMW sport utility vehicle rests atop a US Postal Service mailbox and a parked Subaru after jumping a retaining wall out of a parking lot along 76th Avenue SE in the downtown business disstrict on Mercer Island, Ocotber 31, 2008.
— image credit: Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter

Islanders may be incredulous about some of the unlawful incidents, unfortunate accidents and downright ironic encounters documented in the weekly police reports of 2008. But whether it was a SUV suspended on top of a mailbox in the Town Center or reports of teens hassling the homeless in Tent City, there were few surprises for the Mercer Island police officers who experience such incidents on a regular basis while on patrol.

Below is a chronological look at the events that took place in 2008.

JANUARY

A series of violent public acts kicked off the year for Island police. One occurred when a Seattle man punched his wife in the face while getting off the bus at the North Mercer Park and Ride on the evening of Jan. 2.

A 47-year-old piano teacher from Seattle was arrested after running from police, who stopped her for an equipment violation on her car in the afternoon of Jan. 4. According to the incident report, police located the woman at an Island home, where she was teaching piano after fleeing from the traffic stop minutes earlier.

A 49-year-old Seattle man was arrested for a DUI and drug charges after being found unconscious in his car, which was parked in the middle of the roadway in the 7000 block of North Mercer Way around midnight on Jan. 10. According to the incident report, police saw the running car blocking both lanes of the road and found the unconscious man behind the wheel. Beer bottle caps, marijuana and a glass pipe were found in the car.

In what may be the most ironic arrest of the year, police arrested a 37-year-old Seattle man because he was wanted for arson just moments after they stopped him for tossing a lit cigarette butt out the window of his pickup in the 7600 block of North Mercer Way on the afternoon of Jan. 13. According to the report, a name check revealed that the man had a $50,000 warrant for his arrest for arson charges. He was booked into the county jail.

A man who broke in and stole money from a South-end restaurant also took the time to cook and eat a meal. Toshi’s Teriyaki was burglarized sometime between Jan. 19 and 21, and $200 was taken from the cash register.

Several Town Center businesses fell victim to a clever con artist writing bad traveler’s checks and money orders. The suspect first made off with $198 after using a forged traveler’s check at the North-end QFC on Jan. 23 the afternoon. According to the incident report, the suspect forged a $2 traveler’s check to look like it was $200 and took off with the change in cash.

Moments later, another forged money order of $200 was used to make a $61.20 purchase at Island Sun Tanning, and the suspect made off with the change in cash. The purchased items included two bottles of sun tan lotion and lipgloss sticks.

However, word among businesses spread fast and a manager of the former COBS Bread in the Mercer building called police to report a man who had just attempted to use a forged money order that same afternoon.

Employees of the Auto Spa in the Town Center also reported that $73 had been taken from their till by an unknown suspect the afternoon of Jan. 19.

FEBRUARY

The “freaky Friday” of Feb. 1 began with a high-speed chase on I-90 after a man crashed the car he was driving, carjacked a 16-year-old girl’s car, stabbed and intentionally ran over one of his passengers — all while driving eastbound across the floating bridge. Washington State troopers arrested the man by forcing him to veer off the highway at the Highway 18 interchange. They had to use Tasers to apprehend the 6-foot-7 suspect, who had knives and brass knuckles in the car with him.

The bodies of two recent drowning victims were also found in February. A DOT employee first found the body of a woman the day after she was last seen jumping off the south side of the I-90 floating bridge into heavy waves Tuesday, Feb. 5. Island search and rescue teams, Seattle police and the Coast Guard immediately searched for several hours but could not locate her.

The body of a missing man whose sailboat was found adrift along the dock of an Island home in late December 2007 was found Friday, Feb. 28.

MARCH

An unknown man flashed a 37-year-old female construction worker and Island resident through a black tarp hanging on the fence on March 1.

A 50-year-old woman was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol the evening of March 5. According to the incident report, an Island witness called police to report seeing the woman driving recklessly and hitting her young daughter while behind the wheel.

APRIL

A loose dog was chasing chickens belonging to a resident in the 8200 block of S.E. 61st Street, the evening of April 10.

Several boxed appliances were stolen from the garage of a home under construction in the 4100 block of Boulevard Place, the night of April 18.

An Island teen made the mistake of letting his 10-year-old brother and passenger steer the car as they ran off the road and collided with parked cars in front of a home in the 7300 block of Mercer Terrace Drive during the evening of April 20. The car rolled into a home’s yard, going through bushes over a rock retaining wall and into a parked car in the driveway. The collision pushed one parked car into the other alongside it.

A 54-year-old Seattle man was arrested after stealing $463.50 worth of meat from the North-end QFC the afternoon of April 30.

MAY

An 18-year-old Island resident lost control of her car, ran over a no-parking sign and crashed in a ditch after she ran a stop sign, taking a right turn and waving at her friend, who was walking across the street at S.E. 42nd Street and 88th Avenue S.E. on May 8.

The Island’s new fire truck distracted a driver and led to a three-car collision outside the post office and North-end fire station the evening of May 22. According to the incident report, a 49-year-old Islander took his eye off the road to look at the new fire truck that was getting washed and rear-ended a car behind another waiting to turn left into the post office parking lot.

Police towed a vehicle for parking in a restricted area in the 7600 block of Sunset Highway after the vehicle’s owner parked within one foot of a no-parking sign and removed the sign while he was parked there for nearly an hour on May 30. According to the incident report, the driver admitted that he had moved the no-parking sign to park on a planting strip and then later put the sign back.

JUNE

The mother of 25-year-old Islander was suspected of forging a check worth $43,000 to herself and emptying her son’s checking account on June 2. When the victim learned of the withdrawn funds, he notified his bank and told his mother to return the funds or he would call the police. She advised her son to call the police.

Police arrested a man with the last name of Herring at the Island’s courthouse, the morning of June 17, for having an outstanding misdemeanor warrant from the county for violating recreational fishing laws. Police transported the man to the county jail.

JULY

A 22-year-old Island resident was arrested in the 4100 block of Boulevard Place on a felony escape warrant, since he was out of jail without getting bail the evening of July 26. According to the police report, the suspect was taken to Overlake Hospital for treatment of injuries that he had suffered while running from the police and was later booked into the county jail.

A 42-year-old Island resident was caught stealing a bicycle and children’s extender from the Mercer Island Thrift Shop the afternoon of July 27.

About $70 worth of gas was stolen from the South-end Chevron, the evening of July 27. According to the incident report, an unknown suspect pumped $69.07 worth of gas and left without paying.

AUGUST

Some tents were soaked by water balloons thrown into Tent City by two youths who were seen running into a SUV that sped away quickly around midnight on Aug. 12.

Four individuals were seen in a car driving by Tent City, shouting comments and throwing trash out the window around 2 a.m. on Aug. 16.

Months after she was arrested for stealing from the North-end QFC, police arrested a 30-year-old woman fittingly named Shady when she was getting released from the county jail. Stolen goods originally found on the suspect included greeting cards, two books, a magazine, makeup and two bottles of Odwalla juice.

A complete tank of gas was siphoned from a minivan parked in the North Mercer Park and Ride, the morning of Aug. 21. According to the police report, the owner filled up the tank just before leaving it at the garage, but the gauge showed that the tank was empty when his son retrieved the vehicle an hour later.

SEPTEMBER

Island police assisted state troopers in arresting three suspects from a Seattle carjacking, two of whom were apprehended at gunpoint in the Town Center. An Island officer arrested the third suspect later that morning and handed him over to the Seattle police.

A 27-year-old Island resident must have forgotten where he parked when returning home to the Town Center the morning of Sept. 26. According to a police report, the Islander thought that he parked in the parking garage of Island Square around 3 a.m. But could not find his car when he returned at 10 a.m. He reported the Chevy Impala as stolen to police but recalled later in the evening that he had parked in the QFC lot, where he found it.

OCTOBER

A burglary victim suspected his ex-wife of stealing an expensive bottle of wine and plastic sandwich bags from his unlocked garage the night of Oct. 4.

A 58-year-old Seattle man who reported that his pickup truck was stolen about a month earlier and didn’t alert police when he found it the next day was stopped by Island police traveling westbound on I-90 around 4 p.m. Oct. 16.

A 20-year-old Islander and employee of QFC was arrested while working at the North-end grocery store on an outstanding warrant the morning of Oct. 27. According to the police report, police learned about the employee’s whereabouts from contacting a man sleeping in the employee’s old car at Island Crest Park.

NOVEMBER

A box of mail-ordered cigars was stolen from the front porch of an Island home on Nov. 11.

Gas was siphoned and tools were stolen from a truck parked at the Shell service station located on S.E. 28th Street between Nov. 19 and 21. According to the incident report, the landscaping equipment was stolen from the bed of the truck.

A 21-year-old Seattle man was arrested after getting off a Sound Transit bus at the North Mercer Park and Ride when a fellow rider called police to report that the young man was rolling a marijuana joint while on the bus around 6 p.m. Nov. 30. Police found a rolled joint underneath his hat, above his ear.

DECEMBER

An unknown man attempted a return scam at the North-end QFC to get some cash the night of Dec. 7. According to the incident report, the suspect entered the store, grabbed a new case of Keystone beer from the aisle shelf and then took it to the register with an old receipt to return it. The receipt was from Nov. 29, and the price and product matched.

An Islander involved in an accident during icy or slick road conditions might have crashed while trying to light her cigarette the morning of Dec. 12. According to the incident report, a 48-year-old resident was driving in the 8200 block of West Mercer Way around 10:30 a.m. When she lost control of her vehicle on a slick patch of roadway and drifted off the side of the road into some trees and mailboxes. Police found the victim in the driver’s seat with an unlit cigarette in her mouth and noticed a lighter on the floor near her feet.

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