By Corey Morris
A Mercer Island couple was left shaken but unharmed after a home invasion on April 20.
Mercer Island Police believe the home invasion happened between 12:30 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. at the 9000 block of Southeast 40th Street.
Commander Jeff Magnan said the two suspects, wearing dark hoodies and face masks, broke into the home through a lower level back door by smashing a window on the door. The suspects were armed with a gun.
After making their way upstairs, they first encountered the wife of the home. The husband was asleep in a different room, but woke when the wife “shrieked,” Magnan said.
The suspects stole valuables (watches and cash) and then tied the couple up.
“Both victims did what they should, which is to cooperate,” Magnan said. “They gave them what they had, what was around.”
In another room, the couple’s children were sleeping. They were not awake at any point during the home invasion.
“Both are very young and they slept through the entire incident, which is really good,” Magnan said. “So they weren’t threatened at all in this event.”
At about 1:30 a.m., the couple called 911. Police arrived and a Kirkland Police K-9 unit tracked the suspects to a point where police believe the suspects got into a vehicle and drove away.
According to Magnan, the suspects face charges of robbery in the first degree, burglary in the first degree and malicious mischief. Additional charges could be added depending on what the investigation reveals, Magnan noted.
Police found additional evidence where the suspects’ vehicle was believed to be parked. The department has been canvassing the neighborhood and reviewing any video evidence that might be available from home security cameras at neighboring houses.
The police department is encouraging neighbors to continue reporting suspicious activity.
“These are very difficult due to the time of day and the fact that it’s an occupied structure. What we have been doing is asking our residents to, if they see something that’s out of place or they hear something go bump in the night, they can call us and we’ll be happy to come down and investigate and see what’s going on. That’s our job,” Magnan said. “And we need the public’s help in order to do that. It’s a large island and we can’t be everywhere at once, so we really rely on our citizens to be able to let us know what’s going on in their neighborhood.”
Residents also are encouraged to have security features, including outdoor lighting, cameras, and a home security system.
“We always encourage having motion lights. You’d be surprised how often just having motion lights around the perimeter of your house will take a would-be burglar and send them fleeing,” Magnan said. “For the most part, they don’t want to be seen in doing the act. It’s not like they’re running across the street and breaking in the front door — these are people that did the back door so they’re not being seen. Lighting helps, video cameras also helps, alarm systems help. It’s all of those things that will give the homeowner that second chance of deterring it.”
The investigation is ongoing.
“Unfortunately, these things can take some time to work through the system,” Magnan said. “But it’s not something we’re going to be letting go. Although we’re not the victims in this, we feel like someone came here and hurt our family, so we’re going follow up on every potential lead that comes through.”