Southwest Precinct patrol officers descended on two master criminals late Thursday evening on the playground of a West Seattle elementary school, following a daring and innovative five-year-long secret Seattle Police Department operation.
At 11 pm, K9 and patrol officers swarmed Highland Park Elementary after two young burglars smashed a window and ransacked the school.
Officers found the two suspects hiding under playground equipment and recovered a Nook e-reader, a CD player, camera, backpack, cellphones, phone charger, microphones, walkie talkies and speakers, all stolen from inside the school. During his arrest, one of the suspects admitted he had also burglarized Sanislo Elementary earlier in the evening. Officers booked the teens—who are 14 and 15 years old—into the Youth Service Center and released them to their parents. The two juvenile burglars could now face jailtime and permanent grounding.
It’s no coincidence that just mere hours before these two school burglars landed in handcuffs, the Seattle Police Department had hinted via social media that schools might be ripe targets for criminality.
Trendwatch: Middle school library is the new hip spot for learning, break-ins: http://t.co/51EeJb6fHL
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) June 28, 2013
That ‘Tweet” was, in fact, the final move in a five-year-long chess match between criminals and the Seattle Police Department’s elite undercover Public Affairs Office, as part of a secret program dubbed Operation Blog Jam.
Beginning in 2008, the department launched the SPD Blotter as part Operation Blog Jam. Detectives went undercover as “bloggers,” providing information to the public about various crimes in Seattle, while secretly carrying out an effort to lure criminals into a speed trap on the Information Superhighway
Operation Blog Jam’s undercover efforts were led by Sgt. Sean Whitcomb and detectives Renee Witt, Mark Jamieson and Jeff Kappel in the Public Affairs Office—all trained at the FBI’s little-known Academy for Blogging Excellence in Salt Lick, Kentucky. To further the ruse, the department hired a “professional blogger” through a city job retraining program, attracting an even greater criminal element to the Blotter
To assist in the operation, the department also recently invested pre-crime technology, and by any measure, Operation Blogjam has been a success. This is clearly evidenced by this infographic showing Seattle’s declining crime rate and rise in Blotter readership:
Detectives Witt, Jamieson and Kappel will be available for media interview requests throughout the day to discuss this pioneering undercover investigation and details of the school burglaries.
Your move, criminals.