A quick-thinking robbery victim armed with a whistle led police to a necklace-snatching suspect near Columbia City Wednesday evening.
Around 5:20 pm, the victim, who is in her 70s, was walking out of a Walgreens pharmacy at Rainier Avenue S. and S. Genesee when a 19-year-old man ran up to her, grabbed the victim’s gold necklace and took off running.
The victim used a whistle on her keychain to draw attention to the robber, alerting a pharmacy employee who followed the suspect to a bus stop down the street.
At the bus stop, the pharmacy employee flagged down a patrol officer, who arrested the suspect and booked him into the King County Jail for investigation of robbery. Unfortunately, officers weren’t able to find the woman’s necklace at the scene.
Necklaces have become a popular item for robbers over the last two months, according to SPD Robbery Detective Brad Craig, who has been investigating a rash of similar robberies in South Seattle.
Often times, when detectives are investigating a series of similarly styled robberies—which police refer to as a “pattern case”—the crimes all lead back to a small group of criminals working together. However, Det. Craig says these necklace robberies aren’t attributable to one group of suspects, making them more of a “trend” amongst Seattle’s criminals.
Although Det. Craig and the Robbery Unit have arrested several people suspected in recent necklace robberies, he says “there are definitely multiple groups” out stealing necklace.
So how does a crime get trendy amongst Seattle’s criminals? Det. Craig says criminals “are getting top dollar for the gold right now. They hear about it from their buddies, and word gets around.”
Thieves and robbers are then taking the stolen jewelry to unscrupulous buyers, who pay pennies on the dollar for valuable gold necklaces. In some cases, Det. Craig says, criminals have gotten thousands of dollars for some gold chains.
“If you’re out walking around in public, keep [your jewelry] under your coat,” Det. Craig says.