Two suspects in custody in Woodinville Highlands burglaries
by Jeff Switzer
A 22-year-old Seattle man and a 15-year-old Seattle boy are in custody as burglary suspects in Bellevue and are also believed to be linked to the four burglaries committed in the Woodinville area last Wednesday.
The suspects were discovered in the closet of a Bellevue residence that had been broken into. Upon being discovered, the suspects ran out of the house and left in a stolen Jeep they had parked in the garage.
According to police, the Jeep was spotted on I-405 exiting onto N.E. 70th and then 116th Ave. NE, with Kirkland and Bellevue police in pursuit at speeds up to 90 mph. Police came across an accident involving the Jeep and located the two suspects shortly after.
Inside the Jeep, police found jewelry stolen in an earlier burglary. The Jeep and the method of operation are what clued investigators in to the link to the Woodinville burglaries, where a Jeep with four Asian males ages 19-25 similar to the one in Bellevue was reported seen in the neighborhood where the burglaries occurred, driving into residential driveways.
On Nov. 1, four residences in the area behind the Hollywood Schoolhouse were burglarized, each showing similar signs of forced entry and similar items stolen.
Through a kitchen window, a living room window, a second-story bedroom window, and a window next to the front door: in spite of being locked and having a stick or bar in the track, this is how the burglars got in.
Three of the burglaries were on NE 147th and the fourth was on NE 169th, and occurred roughly between 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. In each of the cases, the homes were locked and access was gained by prying open a window at the frame.
Similar items were stolen from each house: jewelry, compact disc collections, stereos and VCRs, cameras and video cameras, and computer equipment including a laser printer and a scanner. Altogether, the total dollar amount of the property stolen and damages exceeds $26,000 between the four Woodinville residences.
But the burglar(s) left behind a few clues to help police in their investigation, including fingerprints at three of the four sites and a cigarette.
In two cases, the homeowner returned to find the garage interior light on and dresser drawers pulled out. In another, the front door was ajar, the window next to it pried at and broken to gain access. In this case, the first attempt to get in through the sliding-glass door failed because of wood in the track.
In one case, when the victim returned home to discover the break-in and tried to call the police, she also discovered that the phone lines had been cut.
One of the victims had his home office "ransacked and destroyed," and the memory chip from his computer was taken. "These chips go for about $40 a megabyte, so [the perpetrator(s)] had some brains," the victim said.
These cases also have similar activity occurring in the garage, the suspect(s) possibly pulling their vehicle in to fill it up with the stolen property and exiting the scene through the garage. In one case, the center post in the garage had been struck approximately two feet up, possibly causing damage to the suspect(s)' vehicle.
Police are looking to see if the damage to the post matches up with any damage to the Jeep found in Bellevue, and are also processing fingerprints to see if they match up with any taken from the Woodinville crime scenes.
According to police, the 22-year-old male has "an extensive criminal history." As the investigation is still underway, police ask that citizens keep their eyes open.
"We want to send an alert to citizens to keep on the lookout for strange vehicles cruising the areas and to watch your neighbors houses," said King County Police Sgt. Rich Krogh. "People should generally pay attention to what goes on in their neighborhoods and notify the police if they see anything out of character, not just in the [Woodinville Highlands], but in any neighborhood."