Burien Police Investigating Spree Of 13 “Smash-and-Grab” Business Burglaries

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by Ralph Nichols

Burien police investigators know one thing for sure – they’re not looking for Washington’s notorious “barefoot bandit.”

But for now, whoever has pulled off a string of 13 “smash-and-grab” burglaries of businesses in the city is proving to be just as elusive – except he’s stolen no airplanes.

That is no surprise to the police.

“It takes them 10 seconds to pick up a rock and throw it through a door window,” Assistant Burien Police Chief Carl Cole told The B-Town Blog Thursday (July 22). “It takes them another 10 seconds to walk in and grab the cash register.

“In less than a minute, they’ve committed a crime and they’re gone. They’re not rifling through anything on the inside.

“It’s difficult [for police] to set up for something like that,” Cole said. “It’s under investigation. We’re going to see if we can catch this guy.”

While they do have one person of interest at this time, “that’s very weak,” he added.

The first of the smash-and-grab burglaries was committed before dawn on June 15. The latest was overnight July 19-20. Seven have been on 1st Ave. S. between S/SW 134th St. and S/SW 158th St., with the other six on Ambaum Blvd. SW between SW 142nd St. and SW 158th St. (read our previous coverage of one at B-Town Burgers on July 15 here).

Workers repair the door of B-Town Burgers, which was a victim of a nighttime smash-and-grab burglary on July 15.

With one exception, only cash registers or register drawers have been stolen, Cole noted. A laptop computer that had been next to the cash register was also taken from one business.

Whoever is doing it “is breaking $300 windows to get $30 worth of change,” he said. “No large amounts of cash have been stolen. It’s petty except for the damage, and for the lost registers and register drawers.”

The burglaries have been pulled off while the businesses were closed, generally between sunset to shortly after sunrise and probably “in the middle of the night.”

Police officers and city officials have been updating business people in these areas about the burglaries, the investigation, and what they can do to protect their establishments.

The most important thing is to “make it obvious that your tills are empty” and “pull cash register drawers forward so [the burglar] can see there’s no money inside,” Cole advised.

“Make sure that your windows are readily visible from the street” and not blocked by shrubs or tree limbs, and that your lighting is good.

“That’s about all you can except for camping out,” he continued.

Cole encouraged “anyone who has any ideas about who is doing this” to contact the police department.

They can call the Burien Precinct of the King County Sheriff’s Office at 206-296-3333 or email: [email protected].

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2 Responses to “Burien Police Investigating Spree Of 13 “Smash-and-Grab” Business Burglaries”
    • Several of us staffers here at B-Town Blog were discussing that possibility just today. Seems like the same M.O. to me and West Seattle and Burien aren’t that far apart.

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