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Seattle small business owner begs leaders to stop crime

(AP file photo)
LISTEN: Small business owner begging Seattle leaders for help

Bo Saxbe has become the mouthpiece for a collection of small businesses and food truck operators in Seattle. They have a simple message for city leaders: Help.

Saxbe says crime has become so bad within the past six months that businesses are experiencing extreme pain. What’s worse, no one will do anything about it.

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“Police won’t come,” Saxbe told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “Unless you are getting murdered with a knife or gunshots are going off. There are no resources for theft. One of my colleagues actually had a guy grab a tip jar off the counter as they were serving. They followed them down the street a couple blocks. A UW security officer joined in. They were yelling, ‘Stop. Stop. Thief!’ They called the cops. They guy was on 911 for 40 minutes. No police.”

“They actually saw the guy go in, with the tip jar of their money, order a plate of wings, eat them – completely impervious to any fear of getting caught,” he said. “And finally, they had to pack up and go. They had to work. It’s frustrating to see that kind of crime and know the perpetrators are almost guaranteed to not get caught or punished.”

Not to mention, when King County prosecutors drop misdemeanor charges — including theft — it’s not encouraging.

Food truck fears

That is one story that Saxbe relates in an open letter to Seattle city leaders. The letter details the difficulty his food truck business has experienced. He reports that Cheese Wizards has suffered about $15,000 in losses just related to theft of power generators. But there’s more. He says people will break car windows just to get at spare change, or for soda and chips. The problem has become so bad, small business owners have started to talk.

“We had a couple dozen different businesses that chimed in,” Saxbe said. “The feeling is universal. It’s not just Ballard or Interbay where we are based. We’ve got colleagues working in SoDo, downtown, even Magnolia. And they are all feeling that every moment it is getting worse and worse.”

Those businesses tell their stories in Saxbe’s open letter. Many report thefts. Generators are a primary target. Others maintain that police won’t come to help. An entire food truck was stolen and the owners said that they still don’t know if Seattle police are investigating it.

“We’re really scared,” Saxbe said. “Small businesses like mine are the smallest in the city. They’re a lot of us and crime is just killing us. It’s going crazy.”

“We really are asking for help,” he said. “This is us saying, ‘Hey, you guys in power. Give us a hand. We need it now.’”

Listen to Dori’s full conversation with Saxbe here.

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