911 caller still on the line when Island police stop car thieves

It was 4:30 a.m. Thursday January 23rd, when I heard my driveway alarm ring. Our residence is fairly well secluded. Usually if it rings before 3 a.m., I stroll through my house with gun in hand, proudly wearing my “tightie whitie” security patrol uniform. Even at 70 years old, the visual of this silhouette still makes my wife’s heart go ‘pitter patter’ or so I’m told.  But because it was later, about 4 a.m., I decided to lie still and listen for about 7 minutes for any strange sounds. I heard nothing. Then I heard one of our cars start up, right outside our bedroom.

I jumped up, looked out the window to see someone sitting behind the steering wheel of our visiting daughter-in-law’s Volvo. Quickly checking,  I  determined the occupants of our house were still sleeping. As I ran through the house, I asked my wife to call 911.  As I looked down my driveway, I observed the Volvo exit and go northbound on East Mercer Way with another later-model sedan following closely behind. But before they reached the first curve, I was passing on this information to the police dispatcher. Relaying the details may have taken me 7 minutes at most when the dispatcher stated that two Mercer Island police units had stopped both cars and the suspects were in custody. The Volvo was recovered.

Shortly thereafter, a Mercer Island Police Officer George Schmalhofer stopped by to take our statements. He was very well spoken. He projected the image that you would expect of a dedicated law enforcement professional.  When he left I said to my wife, ‘’now that was one professional police officer’’ to which she responded, “yes and he was in good shape, very fit.’’  I said, “you know,  I think you’ve been watching too many episodes of that goofy TV series, “The Bachelor.”  She responded, “It’s not even 6:30 yet, Juan Pablo. Lets go back to bed.’’

Jack Cusack


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