Last night (11/24), a business in the 10800 blk Tukwila International Blvd was burglarized just before 11PM and a vehicle was stolen from the business. The suspects fled the scene in the stolen vehicle and the vehicle that they arrived in just prior to officers’ arrival. Less than 10 minutes after this incident, the suspects and both vehicles were involved in several burglaries in the 300 Strander Blvd and 100 blk Andover Park W which caused thousands of dollars in damage and lost merchandise.
The suspects used one of the vehicles to ram a business in the 300 blk Strander Blvd and stole merchandise. The suspects then proceeded to travel in tandem a block north and used the stolen vehicle to ram the entrance of another business to gain entry into it then burglarized it. Officers arrived at that scene and located the suspects and suspect vehicle which were still on scene. The suspects fled in the vehicles. Our officers did not pursue them pursuant to HB 1054 as the crime(s) did not meet the criteria to pursue.
These brazen burglaries are a part of a string of similar burglaries across the region in multiple cities involving smash and grab crews ramming vehicles into doors to gain entry into businesses. Most of the incidents involve stolen vehicles. We have also had several similar incidents over the past six months in Tukwila. In one of our previous incidents, our officers were able to arrest an individual at the scene before he could get back to the getaway vehicle. In other similar incidents, officers located the suspect vehicle(s) but were unable to pursue them pursuant to HB 1054.
One of the main questions we get from victims is “Why did you just let them drive away?”. They are frustrated with pointing out suspects to us as we are arriving only to have us tell them that we cannot pursue them. We hear and understand this frustration as the appearance is that suspects now have carte blanche permission to commit crimes as long as they are able to flee in a vehicle before officers can take them into custody. It has become common knowledge amongst criminals in the region that officers cannot pursue them if the crime doesn’t rise to meet the new standards for a pursuit. This has resulted in people fleeing from law enforcement officers daily across the state during attempted traffic stops and crimes.
As part of these suspects fleeing constantly, we have also seen a dramatic increase in suspects recklessly attempting to get away even though they know we aren’t pursuing them. Driving the wrong way in traffic, hopping curbs, blowing through red lights and stop signs and other reckless driving behavior is all too common with fleeing suspects. All of these behaviors put the public at great risk. While pursuits do as well, prior to HB 1054, we had policies in place that limited pursuits and were dependent on a variety of factors such as road conditions, weather conditions, the amount of vehicle and pedestrian traffic, the type of area etc. Sergeants and other supervisors would also have control of each situation and the ability to instruct officers to continue or terminate the pursuit based on those factors and the information available.
The difference between then and now was that it was unknown to criminals if they would be pursued by us or not. Now, they are very aware that in most all instances, we cannot pursue them which has led to criminals taking advantage of that fact for their benefit.
We encourage anyone with any information regarding these incidents to call us at (206) 241-2121 or e-mail us at email@example.com . We do follow up on these tips and use them to assist with identifying and apprehending those that are involved.