Ballard Burglar Boards Bus, Caught Downtown With Help From Heli

A suspect is in custody following a burglary in Ballard yesterday afternoon after a coordinated effort that involved two different precincts and the King County Sheriff’s Office’s helicopter, Guardian One.

Yesterday, at approximately 12:45 pm,  officers from the North Precinct responded to a burglary call in the 5600 Block of 15th Avenue NW.  The call indicated that the victim was chasing the suspect on foot.  Several officers responded to the call as well as Guardian One, which happened to be flying over the area.   Officers arrived and found a witness who informed them that the suspect had boarded a southbound Metro bus.

Meanwhile, officers contacted the victim who gave officers the following account:  He had just returned to his office and walked in the back door when the suspect came walking out carrying a laptop computer.  The victim immediately confronted the suspect by grabbing the computer.  The two struggled over the laptop and the suspect punched the victim in the chest.  The victim was able to eventually take back the laptop and the suspect ran.  The suspect was carrying a backpack and the victim was concerned that he might have additional stolen items in it, so he chased after the suspect.  Other witnesses heard the victim yelling  “call the  police!”  A man saw the victim chasing the suspect and joined in the chase.  At one point the suspect stopped and threatened both the victim and witness with a flat crowbar.  The suspect continued to run southbound on 15th Avenue NW, eventually getting on the bus.

Guardian One was able to follow the bus as it travelled downtown and relay the information to officers in the West Precinct.  The suspect was observed getting off the bus at 1st Avenue North and Denny Way.  West Precinct officers detained the man until the victim was brought down and  positively identified the suspect.  No other stolen items were found in the suspect’s backpack, but the crowbar was recovered and submitted into evidence.

The 52-year-old suspect was later booked into the King County Jail.  Because the suspect used force to retain the laptop, and later threatened the victim, he was booked for investigation of robbery.  Detectives will handle the follow up investigation.