Crime, Transportation

Sound Transit: Ten on-Train Robberies in January; Three Arrests

SEATTLE – Sound Transit says there were ten on-train robberies last month, with most of them occurring in the Rainier Valley and involving teenagers snatching phones and other electronic devices from riders as trains came to a stop at the stations.

The announcement comes less than two months after Seattle Police warned of robbers targeting victims near bus stops and Light Rail stations who were distracted by phones or iPods.

“Some of the hotspots for this activity have been near the Mount Baker Light Rail Station, the Columbia City Light Rail Station, the area of Martin Luther King Jr. Way S & S Othello Street, and the area of Rainier Ave S & S Henderson Street,” read a community bulletin from South Precinct Commander Captain Michael Nolan and Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon.

At the time, Sound Transit spokesman Bruce Gray said the agency had not seen reports of issues at light rail stations or on the trains.

Shortly thereafter, he revised Sound Transit’s response to include the report of a November robbery aboard a train that had just pulled into Columbia City station. He said a woman was sitting on the train when a young black male grabbed her phone and ran out the open doors.

“All riders are encouraged to be aware of their surroundings and guard against having valuable electronics easily taken from their hands,” said Gray. “These expensive compact devices have become a favorite target of opportunistic thieves who take advantage of riders who aren’t paying attention to their surroundings.”

He added that police recently arrested three suspects they believe are responsible for at least some of the robberies and that additional arrests are pending.

Sound Transit light rail trains and platforms are equipped with surveillance cameras as well as emergency call buttons on the trains and platforms. Uniformed and non-uniformed police, security guards and fare enforcement officers also regularly patrol the trains and platforms.

Photo/Rainier Valley Post