Citizen patrols on watch for Olympia cat killer

Sep 6, 2018, 9:27 AM | Updated: 1:29 pm

A total of 13 cats have been killed since last February, mostly in the Olympia area. Now, the community is organizing patrols to look for the cat killer.

“There was a day a couple of weeks ago that I had the right neighborhood, at the right time, I was parked in the right location — I was two days early,” Jason Cox said. “I was no more than 40 yards from where it was dropped. If I had picked the right day, we would be talking about an entirely different story line right now.”

The cat killer has terrorized the Olympia area, taking cats, mutilating them, and leaving them out for display so owners will find them. The issue bothered Cox so much that he tried to talk about it on a neighborhood Facebook group. But nobody in the group wanted it to be a topic of discussion. So he started his own Facebook group with the focus of patrolling for the cat killer.

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“Just a local neighborhood group, but the consensus was nobody wanted me to talk about it,” he said. “They wanted it to be a hush hush deal and I didn’t believe that was the correct thing to do. I felt we needed to be more vocal about it and work together as a community … so I decided to do my own group at that point. Since then, it’s taken off like wildfire. In a month’s time, we have 700 members in our group all over the area, stretching out to Seattle and greater.”

Cat killer patrols

Cox said he began organizing his patrols of the Olympia area by studying the “back-and-forth” movements of the cat killer – where they have killed before.

“I try to make a calculated guess,” he said. “…I try to accidentally, on purpose pick the right neighborhood, on the right day, at the right time. The first hour of my time out there, or so, I walk the neighborhood with my dogs and a flashlight and try to observe anything and everything I can see.”

He keeps an eye out for anything out of place as the night continues. As more people have joined the effort, they are “strategically” posting watchers in certain neighborhoods.

“If by chance, cat killer would come into our perimeter, where we’re at, there’s no way for me not to see him,” he said.

While Cox may follow someone he thinks is suspicious, he stresses that his only weapon is calling 911. In fact, he doesn’t carry any weapons on him while on patrol. He says he is not a vigilante and leaves the ultimate action up to police. Cox says the sheriff’s office is aware of what he is doing and he’s gotten a thumbs up.

Cox says copycat groups have started to watch other neighborhoods, too. He is careful who he lets on his own patrol, aware that the cat killer could try to join or even monitor his Facebook group.

Cat killer theory

Cox says he’s been on patrol for about a month now. He’s become familiar with neighborhood characteristics so much that he knows if something is amiss. In the process, he’s developed a theory about the cat killer. He thinks the perpetrator is on bike.

“The Woodland Trail, the bike trail, parallels Pacific Avenue from downtown Olympia, all the way up Pacific, right past the Lily Road site, right to the Pacific Avenue site,” Cox said. “It goes right to the Lacey Post Office where the Clearbrook neighborhood is, where three animals were found. If you continue on, it goes in the direction of the Steilacoom area … down toward that area where if you want to veer off into the neighborhoods you can.”

“You can go from downtown Olympia to the farthest reaches of Lacey, completely unseen from cameras, people, everything even in the middle of daylight,” he said.

Cox says the person is picking ares where they can travel to with a green space and a residential component.

“Where can somebody travel more freely in the middle of the night? What fits the stereotype of this neighborhood? Where is some grass nearby that it can be displayed? Etcetera,” he said.

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Citizen patrols on watch for Olympia cat killer