King County Sheriff's Sergeant and North Bend Police Chief Mark Toner told residents, just like several other violent crimes the most recent suspect was one of their neighbors. (KIRO Radio Photo/Kim Shepard)

North Bend residents concerned about crimes; authorities say watch out for neighbors

It was an overflow crowd at a meeting in North Bend Thursday evening when residents stressed their concerns over an apparent up-tick in crime. On Sunday, a home invasion turned fatal when a homeowner killed the intruder.

"I think crime happens everywhere, and I would rather live in a small community where people are looking out for each other and law enforcement takes crime really seriously - because it's rare," one resident said at the meeting.

But, it's not as rare as you might think in the town made famous by the dark and quirky David Lynch television show "Twin Peaks."

King County Sheriff's Sergeant and North Bend Police Chief Mark Toner told residents, just like several other violent crimes, the most recent suspect was one of their neighbors.

"Homeless, transient, drug addict, none of this had anything to do with it. The rumor got started - but I don't know how," said Toner.

Before that crime, there was a home invasion in April 2011 where another intruder was killed by a North Bend homeowner.

"That case was completely adjudicated, it was legitimate self-defense, there are no questions about it: that man was not homeless. He was a life-long resident of North Bend," Toner explained.

In 2008, "A lady was sexually assaulted in her home. He was a resident. He was a life-long resident."

Just last week, police arrested one man who was impersonating an officer, carrying a gun and patting people down and another who'd committed a series of burglaries in town.

"He had broken into houses just using open doors - that's all he was using. He was 39 years old, he's a professional man, he'd just lost his job very recently. He lives about a mile from where he was breaking into them."

All these crimes committed by local residents. Interestingly, though, some of the most dangerous people in North Bend may never have actually committed a crime there at all.

"Ted Bundy came up here, [for] the same reason that you guys do - it's nice," said Toner. "Gary Ridgway, same thing. They both spent a lot of time up here."

Kim Shepard, KIRO Radio Reporter
Kim Shepard is a news anchor and reporter for KIRO Radio and the office optimist. She's energetic, quick to laugh and has a positive outlook on life.
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