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Fast response by employee and SPD prevent SoDo theft

An alleged thief if held down while Seattle police are called in the SoDo neighborhood. (Courtesy photo)

An uptick in homelessness, drug addiction, and crime has plagued Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood, according to Erin Goodman, the executive director of the SoDo Business Improvement Area.

“We certainly are seeing an increase in criminal activity on our streets, of threatening behavior, and people who are afraid to walk on our streets,” Goodman told KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show.

One such incident took place last Thursday at a business off of Airport Way in SoDo. An employee of the business, a retired veteran, found a young man rummaging through the scrap metal bin.

“Instead of yelling at him, our retired vet kind of snuck up behind him, and asked him what he thought he was doing,” said Wendy Kruger, another employee at the business. “Then the punk got very argumentative and that kind of ticked off our guy, who decided the punk needed to be arrested.”

Things escalated from there. When the veteran tried to apprehend him, the young man began swinging his head back and forth as if he was being punched. He was shouting “you can’t hit me, I’m a minor!” When he was wrestled to the ground, he began bashing his own head upon the concrete yelling “quit hitting me!”

Once he was restrained, the police were called and six officers arrived on the scene in minutes.

“He had a knife on him, but thankfully didn’t pull it,” Kruger said. “While he was being processed here, SPD went through his clothing. His jacket was full of needles and numerous small bags containing drugs. Turned out SPD must have known him because they knew he wasn’t a minor — they knew he was 25!”

Some SoDo patrons, such as Goodman, would be happy to hear about the quick police response, except …

“We need to have more [officers], they need to be supported, they need to have the ability to respond this way and not be so short-staffed that they’re responding to 911 call after 911 call with no time to really be in their neighborhood,” Goodman said.

This wasn’t the first incident at this SoDo business. Kruger says things like this have been happening a lot lately.

“We have been in this location more than 20 years and we have never had anyone inside the building up until last fall,” she said. “They broke the lock on the front door and came in and took a cash box and some tools. The second time was a couple months ago. They came in the backyard and took some cables. In all, between the two incidents, about $10,000 to $12,000 of equipment.”

Kruger says things have been getting worse over the last few years. The entire neighborhood feels unsafe.

“I have a poodle, and I walk my dog around our block twice a day, and the activity around here is just ridiculous,” she said. “We’ve got a homeless encampment up the hill right across the street from us. It’s a nightmare.”

Kruger was proud of the police department for arresting the would-be thief and is hopeful that things will improve. She would like to extend “a big thank you to our Seattle City Council members — with the exception of Kshama Sawant — for ratifying our Seattle Police Department’s contract.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday mornings from 6-9 a.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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