Wednesday afternoon area robbery by knifepoint is second in less than a week (UPDATES)

This Wednesday afternoon, we were forwarded an email by a concerned resident regarding a robbery by knifepoint that occurred a week ago, on Thursday, February 14, a block from Bryant Elementary School, during school hours.

On Wednesday evening, the Seattle Police Department’s Blotter website posted information on a very similar crime, having occurrred near the Northeast Branch of the Seattle Public Library, around the same time of day, but on Wednesday, February 20.

There have been TWO robberies by knifepoint during daylight hours in our neighborhood within six days of each other.


View Robberies by knifepoint in February in a larger map

1st Assault, at NE 60th St and 32nd Ave NE, around 2 PM, on Thursday, February 14

The victim was taking an afternoon walk from his home and noticed a suspicious male near a home under construction on the 3400 block of NE 62nd st. The male followed the victim from there until 35th Avenue NE and then passed him, while talking on his cell phone.

When the victim reached the corner of NE 60th St and 32nd Ave NE, the suspect came up behind him, used a knife to cut the victim’s pants where his wallet was located, and yelled, “Give me your f—ing wallet.” The victim tried to prevent the suspect from robbing him, and was thrown against a concrete retaining wall. The suspect then ran down a nearby alley with the wallet.

The victim sustain a few scratches to his right arm, and hit his head on the wall. Seattle Fire Department units responded and treated his minor injuries.

The victim did not see the face of the suspect, but described him as a white male in his thirties, approximately 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighing 180 lbs. He was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt with the hood up, and blue jeans. The victim described the knife as a folding knife with a black handle and a thin three-inch blade.

The police report for the first robbery by knifepoint is available on the city’s website (PDF; registration required). Bryant Elementary School The “Bryant Teaching Team” sent out an email to parents on Tuesday, February 19 about the incident. [Correction note: We have been told by parent volunteer who sends out email on behalf of the Bryant Elementary School PTSA that the school itself did not send out any emails to parents about this incident. CORRECTION UPDATE: The email was sent out from a preschool in the area.]

2nd Assault, in the 6500 block of 36th Avenue NE, around 3 PM, on Wednesday, February 20

From the SPD Blotter post:

Preliminary investigation indicates that the 65-year-old female victim had just gotten off the bus and was walking north on 36th Avenue NE on the east side of the street when she was attacked from behind by an unknown male suspect wearing a black mask, black hoodie and jeans.

The suspect forcefully grabbed the victim’s purse in an attempt to steal it.  As the victim attempted to retain her purse the suspect pulled out a knife and cut the purse straps and in doing so cut the victim’s hand.  The suspect fled the scene on foot with the victim’s purse, running northbound on 36th Avenue NE and then westbound on NE 68th Street.

The victim was treated for her minor injuries by Seattle Fire Department staff, then was driven home by a patrol officer.

The suspect in this assault is described as “an unknown race male in his 20′s, 5’9″ tall, 150 pounds, thin build, and was last seen wearing a black mask over his face, a black hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled up over his head, and gray pants.”

We will be in contact with staff at the North Precinct on Thursday and will add further updates to this post.


UPDATE (Thursday, February 21): The PTSA of Bryant Elementary School sent out an email today regarding this recent criminal activity, and included the following safety information:

Seattle police have provided the following safety tips aimed at keeping you and your students safe when walking in our neighborhood. They are also available on the Seattle Police Department website.

  • Pay close attention to your surroundings; avoid “automatic pilot.”
  • Walk with a purpose; project an assertive, business-like image.
  • Use common sense; plan your route to avoid uninhabited parks, parking lots, garages and alleyways.
  • Stick to well-lit areas.
  • Develop a plan before you see trouble. Crossing a street or entering a store may get you out of a potentially bad situation.
  • If a car follows you or beckons you while you are walking, do not approach it. Instead, turn and quickly walk the opposite direction.
  • Consider wearing clothing and shoes that you can move freely and quickly in, especially when walking or waiting for the bus.
  • Carry minimal items; overloading yourself can make you appear vulnerable.

More safety tips beyond these are located on the Personal Safety page of the Seattle Police Department’s website. Recommended reading.

UPDATE (Friday, February 22): The police report for the robbery on Wednesday afternoon is now available (PDF; registration required).

The victim, a 65-year-old woman, got off a bus at 35th Avenue NE and NE 65th Street, and walked east along 65th. She walked to 36th Avenue NE, turned left, and headed north along 36th Ave NE on the eastside sidewalk.

She was attacked from behind. The male suspect grabbed her purse, which the victim then attempted to hold on to. The suspect then cut the straps of the purse with a “box cutter,” cutting the victim’s hand in the process. He ran north on 36th with the purse before turning left on NE 68th St.

The victim described the suspect as “5’08 to 5’09 in height with a slim build, approximately in his twenties but she was unable to determine his race. She said she thought he was armed with a box cutter due to the small size of the blade.” He was also described as wearing a black mask, and black hoodie, and black jeans.

A person across the street saw the attack occur, and described the suspect in a similar way. This witness thought that the suspect was a white male, but was not sure due to the mask and hood.

A second witness in a residence north of the location of the robbery saw the suspect running away from the scene, toward NE 35th St, wearing all black.

The victim was treated at the scene by Seattle Fire Department staff, and advised to have her laceration stitched up at a hospital.

Both attacks (February 14 and 20) remain active and on-going investigations.

Anyone with information about these incidents or who may know the identity or whereabouts of the suspect(s) is asked to call 911 or Seattle Police and refer to the appropriate incident. Anonymous tips are welcome.

Comments

  1. Thanks for keeping us informed, Rebecca. It strikes me that the advice given above does not include having a buddy. Also, money/ID can be kept in separate places from the purse/wallet/backpack to reduce loss. Both victims tried to resist (understandable, and I would be inclined to do the same). Having precious goods in separate places from the obvious might allow for less resistance, and, reduced risk of injury. Police meetings that I have attended have encouraged folks to willingly hand-over purses, etc., to protect personal safety.

    • There is one bit about having a buddy, but the sentence starts with “If you must make a large, cash purchase…” But having one during other times is great advice, too, yes!

  2. Advice not mentioned is to avoid using or talking on your phone. You are much less aware and a much easier target.

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] Times news partner Ravenna Blog points out the incident is similar to another robbery involving a knife that happened in the area [...]

  2. [...] Descriptions of the previous robberies can be found in this earlier post. [...]

  3. [...] Our post about the first two attacks. And the [...]

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