Green Lake robberies part of a pattern?
Seattle police are investigating whether a string of robberies since last Saturday may be related. The robberies have been in North Seattle, Capitol Hill, Magnolia and Green Lake.
By Christine Clarridge
Seattle Times staff reporter
* Police say string of robberies could be connected
* Seattle PD: More robberies at Green Lake
* Magnoliavoice: More on Wednesday's armed robbery in Magnolia
John Morrill considers Green Lake his park.
The 40-year-old grew up near the Seattle landmark and spent every summer swimming there.
That's why the recent rash of armed robberies at or near the park have left him angry.
"That does make me mad," the Northgate man said Friday while walking in the park. "I don't want to not use this park or be scared of [robbers]. I don't want them to win."
Still, Morrill said, he doesn't plan to visit the park at night anytime soon.
Police said five people were robbed Thursday night in two separate incidents at Green Lake Park near North 65th Street and East Greenlake Way North. On Tuesday, a woman was robbed at gunpoint in the park in the 7800 block of Greenlake Drive North.
Seattle police are investigating whether those are connected with a string of similar robberies in North Seattle, Capitol Hill and Magnolia since Saturday.
The robberies, seven in all, have occurred between 11:30 p.m. and 3:30 a.m. and suspect descriptions have been similar, according to police. Victims have described the suspects as two to four black males in their late teens to early 20s. In some cases, they wore bandannas across their faces and baggy clothing.
"It is possibly being done by the same group of suspects," Seattle police spokesman Jeff Kappel said.
Bandannas over faces
In the two most recent incidents at Green Lake around 11:25 Thursday night, three suspects were described as wearing sunglasses, bandannas over their faces and dark clothing. Police were unable to track them using a K-9 unit or by helicopter.
About an hour later, early Friday, police were called to the 1700 block of Boylston Avenue East, where two men had been robbed at gunpoint. They described one of the robbers as over 6 feet tall, with a red bandanna across his face and displaying a gun.
Police said a weapon was not used in every incident.
The first holdup in the string was reported last Saturday when a man was punched and robbed by two men in the 2200 block of Northeast 45th Street, police said. One robber was wearing a black puffy jacket, police said. The men drove off in a dark sedan.
The victim in that attack told KING-TV the men were "wearing just regular attire."
"That's why I didn't think anything twice of it," said the man, who gave his name as Tyler.
"Guys came around the corner and just decided to punch me in the face and then as soon as that happened they just started kicking me and kept continuing to punch me," Tyler told KING-TV.
"They asked for my cellphone and wallet. I held on to my cellphone. However, they were able to rip the back pocket off my jeans and steal the wallet."
The second robbery occurred at 12:30 a.m. Monday in the 12300 block of Roosevelt Way Northeast. Four victims said they were robbed by four men, one in a puffy jacket. Two of the robbers carried handguns, police said, and they drove off in a dark car with a spoiler and tinted windows.
Use common sense
Last year, there were 1,612 robberies in Seattle and 1,522 the year before, according to FBI statistics.
But the similarities between the recent robberies and the fact that a handgun has sometimes been used has left many residents concerned.
Police advise people to use caution and common sense when in areas where the robberies have occurred, especially after dark.
"We are so used to having the freedom to go and do what we want when we want, but if people go out in darkness, they should be cautious, alert and aware," said Seattle police spokeswoman Renee Witt. "If you have to walk, don't walk with your iPod. Follow your intuition, trust your feelings. Get out of a situation if it does not feel right."
Witt also advised people to stay in lighted areas.
On a sunny Friday, Green Lake Park was filled with walkers, runners, picnickers and people wading in the water. Like Morrill, many said they had been angered to learn of the attacks. Others were frightened.
"This is our favorite place and now it's getting to be scary," said Allison Norris, 25, who was at the park with three of her girlfriends and their babies.
"I wouldn't want to be here after dark," said her friend Kimberly Greene, 28. "It turns 180 degrees at nighttime."
"It almost makes you want to become a vigilante," said a man who did not want to be named. "But I don't know if I have the 'can-do' for that."
Police say string of robberies could be connected
Police say a string of robberies in North Seattle and Magnolia during the past week could be connected.
By Christine Clarridge
Seattle Times staff reporter
Police say a string of robberies in North Seattle, Capitol Hill and Magnolia during the past week could be connected.
The two most recent robberies occurred overnight, according to Seattle police spokesman Jeff Kappel.
According to police, three armed men robbed several people at 11:24 p.m. Thursday near the intersection of North 65th Street and East Greenlake Way North before leaving on foot. It was the third robbery in the Green Lake area since Tuesday.
An hour after last night's robbery, a group of men robbed two men at gunpoint in the 1700 block of Boylston Avenue East.
The suspects in both overnight robberies were described as three black males who wore sunglasses, bandannas over their faces and dark clothing, said Kappel. A man who brandished the gun during the second incident had a red bandanna over his face and was described by witnesses as being at least 6 feet tall, he said.
Kappel said robbery detectives are investigating whether the crimes are connected to a series of similar robberies in North Seattle, Capitol Hill and Magnolia over the past week. In many cases, the descriptions of the robbers have been similar.
According to Kappel, there have been seven similar armed robberies since Saturday.
On Wednesday, four young men were robbed at gunpoint in Magnolia. In addition, two people were robbed in the Green Lake area early Tuesday morning.
"It is possibly being done by the same group of suspects," Kappel said. "In those [earlier robberies] we have similar suspect descriptions: two or more black male suspects."
A handgun was not used in all of the earlier robberies, Kappel said.
Early this morning, a vehicle south of the city was stopped, but the occupants were not connected to the robberies, police said.
At Green Lake this afternoon, many people said they were concerned with the recent rash of robberies. Some said the area is safe during the day, but at night they say they've seen an increase in crime.
John Morrill, 40, who grew up in the Green Lake area, said he is angered by the recent robberies.
"I don't want to not use this park or be scared of them," he said of the robbers. "I don't want them to win."
Seattle PD: More robberies at Green Lake
Posted by John de Leon
Police say there were several robberies last night at or near Green Lake.
Last night, at around 11:25, five people were robbed at Green Lake, including four victims who were walking along the path around the lake. The three suspects covered their faces with bandannas (unknown color) and at least one suspect brandished a handgun during the robberies, police said.
A K-9 unit and helicopter responded to assist, but no suspects were located.
Two people were robbed at or near Green Lake earlier this week.
Our news partners at KING-TV say police are investigating whether the robberies are related.
Magnoliavoice: More on Wednesday's armed robbery in Magnolia
Posted by John de Leon
Our news partners at Magnoliavoice.com have interviewed the mother of one of the teens robbed at gunpoint Wednesday morning in Magnolia. The woman did not want to be identified, but tells the blog the victims -- four men ages 18 and 19 -- had been skateboarding at her home when they left for a friend's house. She says the victims figured they were safe in their own neighborhood.
The woman says police believe the robbers were likely driving around looking for an opportunity. They think the robbers drove past the victims once or twice to size them up and then parked a block away so their car wasn't visible. The victims were sitting in the park in the 2600 block of Magnolia Boulevard West when they were robbed by three black men at gunpoint.
The thieves took wallets, cash, graduation gift cards, driver's licenses, passport and a new college ID card. They also stole the teens' cell phones, jackets, keys, a backpack and an iPod. The victims are about to head off for college.
Police are now looking into whether the robbery may be linked to others in the North Precinct, including two a day earlier near Green Lake. Meanwhile, another neighborhood blog, mygreenlake.com, is reporting there was at least one more mugging at Green Lake last night.
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