Two Teen Burglars Caught in Rainier Valley

RAINIER VALLEY – Two teenagers were arrested last week in connection with a home burglary in the Brighton neighborhood.

Police say it was 9:30 am on February 10th, when South Precinct officers responded to 911 calls of two young men going door to door and acting suspiciously in the 5100 block of South Spencer Street near South Orcas Street.

As they arrived, the officers heard a home alarm going off and saw two boys running away from the house.

Officers said they checked the home and found that it had been burglarized. The two suspects, ages 13 and 15, were detained nearby with evidence of the burglary in their possession, and were subsequently arrested and booked into the Youth Services Center.

The arrests come just days after Seattle Police Department (SPD) announced that 70% of recent street robberies and home burglaries in the area have involved teenagers.

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5 Comments on "Two Teen Burglars Caught in Rainier Valley"

South Seattle Cop
3 years 9 months ago

Unfortunately george’s comments on the juvenile justice system are correct. The juvenile system’s approach (or non-approach, which might be more accurate) is one of the reasons that some of our most dangerous street criminals are under the age of 18. It is known by gangs and other street thugs that those under 18 will serve little or no time when caught. This is one of the reasons, for example, that gangs often assign juveniles to be their designated shooters.

Also, while penalties do increase just slightly with the second conviction, understand that is only the second FELONY conviction. Most felony charges against juveniles are negotiated down to misdemeanors on plea deals, or simply declined to be filed as felonies for the sake of lowering the case-loads at the felony levels. Charges may also be dismissed entirely if the offender agrees to an alternative to sentencing program of one kind or another. Misdemeanor convictions rarely result in any penalties.

Bottom line is you will often have an offender caught and arrested a dozen or two dozen times before that second felony conviction.

Tiffany Exactly!

Tom T You are correct about difficulties SPD has working with schools. My friends and colleagues who work in other jurisdictions in western Washington tell me they have good working relationships with most of the schools and school districts in their areas.

However in Seattle school administrators often deny information on students to the SPD. Police are often treated (and in rare cases portrayed to students right in front of the officer) as an element to be suspicious of, and not to be cooperated with beyond anything absolutely required by law. It is not uncommon for administrators to refuse to speak with officers without first phoning the District Headquarters and receiving an approval or an order to do so. Any officer who has had to walk into a school during an investigation knows what I am talking about.

School administrators in Seattle also frequently neglect to report crimes committed between students which happen on or off of school grounds, preferring instead to “deal with it in-house”. These crimes usually go unreported to police unless the student or the student’s parent/guardian decides to make a report to police.

As far as truant students, there isn’t a law we can enforce that would allow us to pick-up kids not in school during school hours and return them to school…assuming that the district would release information to us allowing us to know where to find them and where to return them to begin with.

By law under our community caretaking duties, we could attempt to contact obviously school age kids not in school during school hours, identify them, and attempt to return them to school (assuming we could determine which school they were truant from). However in the current state of affairs in the city and the department, the likelihood an officer would take that step in the face of the complaints that would surely follow, the knowledge that the department will do everything it can to portray them as an officer not acting within SPD’s “philosophy and standards” for public service, the publicity and ruin to reputation (especially in the courtroom), and public outcry to terminate them and accusing them of some malicious agencda once news stories were published that would follow, is virtually zero. I certainly would not be that officer.

Officers have been taught harshly and in no uncertain terms by the Seattle Police Department that it is better if you want to stay employed here to let the obviously truant and up-to-no-good juvenile victimize someone or get victimized before taking action that might draw the public ire of vocal parents or relatives.

Parents also have complained to the schools about the presence of the few SRO’s we have being in the schools at all. Parents have objected saying they don’t want their kids exposed to police officers and becoming accustomed to talking to police.

So yes, while individually there are of course many exceptions, the overall culture of the school district, even though it may not be official policy, is one of hostility towards police, which limits the level of involvement and help we can offer.

*note: that study was conducted during a time period when SPD had a full staffed unit of 24 school resource officers. I think today we have something like 3 or 4 SRO’s.

3 years 9 months ago

An adult sentence for thE crime of Residential Burglary could be up to 10-years; however, if it is a first time offense, with no prior convictions of any kind as an adult, it could be as little as 90 days, with 2-years probation. A Youth Sentence would not involve jail time until the second offense and then for 15-36 WEEKS. It is highly unlikely a juvenile would be jailed pending trial for this offense (for juvenile crimes like Rape, its mandatory, but that is the exception, not the rule in juvenile sentencing). In both adult and juvenile cases, Washington Law gives almost zero sentencing discretion to judges (prior history would suggest that judges were not very good at figuring out who would benefit from a break and who should get creamed at sentencing – those they let off re-offended, and many, laregely minorities, that got the book thrown at them, often re-offended at lower rates than those that caught a break).

Translation: without an extensive list of prior offenses, these two teens were likely booked and released.

I can assure you that juveniles engaged in this are not dumb. To the contrary, they are likely highly creative and intelligent, but highly mis-directed and board-to[death in school. SPD and local prosecutors can do nothing about this. Its state law. See RCW 13.40.0357 for more info. Maybe its time to demand that lawmakers take a second look. Diversion programs, youth violence prevention, and other programs, by all means, but as a compliment too, not substitute for, setting reasonable boundaries for kids and reasobable sanctions for crossing those boundaries.

Tom T
3 years 9 months ago

@1 Here’s the report on truancy at Aki Kurose that the city spent $150K on back in 2000.

Bottomline, truants cause trouble. That said, my understanding is that there are serious constraints on the SPD in terms of asking about/picking up and returning truants.

SSC is this correct and could you provide some color commentary on this issue?

3 years 9 months ago

It would help if parents kept tabs on their thieving kids, too.

3 years 9 months ago

It would be helpful if the schools were doing a better job on truancy enforcement. It might also make sense for the cops to be aware of when area school have late starts/early dismissals. I would guess that if someone compared the times/dates of burglaries to these times when kids are not in school, they might see some correlation.