The alleged drug den/RV in Magnolia getting a makeover after we started talking about them on the air. I think they're hoping a baby blue paint job will help them blend in. Think it'll work?
Posted by Dori Monson on KIRO Radio on Thursday, December 10, 2015
Since the initial posting of this article, the RV has moved around the corner from where it was in Magnolia. It is now being painted white.
Daniella Eng has to get to work early these days in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood. She has to clean up after people living in an RV.
“Every single morning we have to pick up bottles, and glasses, or they go to the bathroom right outside,” Eng told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “They throw all their junk outside the RV.”
“It’s frustrating. When I show up to work… I’m a woman and I’m nine-months pregnant, and I’m scared. It’s not right that when I call 911 they don’t show up,” she said.
The RV in question is parked outside her work at WBL Services, an event technology company. The RV has been there for weeks and it isn’t moving, according to Eng. It likely won’t, because, in a way, the RV is a place of business, too.
“We have some RVs parked out here that stay for weeks at a time without moving that are selling drugs, littering and stealing gas from our trucks,” Eng said.
Eng and other staff at WBL have taken note of the RV and the activity around it. But don’t take their word for it. The business took surveillance video of the activity.
In the video, a car pulls up to the RV. The driver gets out and walks over to the vehicle. After a short while, the driver returns to the car and drives it a short distance to park yet again. The video then clearly shows a person in the car tying off their arm and preparing a needle for use.
“That’s just one video. They have the same customers that come every two to three nights, or during the day,” Eng said. “They just sit outside, throw their syringes outside their car in front of our business, and then drive away.”
“We were on the phone with [the Seattle Police Department] during this entire video and we have a case number for it. We gave them the video and they told us there is nothing they can do about it,” she said. “I called, waited for two hours and they never showed up, after the people buying drugs threatened us because they saw our cameras.”
Eng also said she called 911 when she and other staff members watched the people from the RV steal gas out of their trucks. They allegedly popped the gas caps and used hoses to siphon the fuel out. Eng waited two hours for the police.
“They didn’t come,” Eng said.
According to Eng, Seattle police told her that they couldn’t do anything about the activity because an officer didn’t personally witness any crimes while they were happening.
Eng has also brought the matter to Seattle’s parking enforcement.
“They live there, which is why parking enforcement told me they can’t do anything,” Eng said. “It’s an unwritten rule from the Mayor’s office that the scofflaw doesn’t apply to people living in their vehicles. So the parking enforcement won’t ticket it. They can’t be booted.”
The Magnolia Voice reports that the police department is looking into solutions to the RV problem in the area.
“How about this solution,” Dori said. “Why don’t you go there and sit next to the video camera, next to where the camera is showing people shooting up right outside of this business and arrest the people. I’m getting tired of these stories.”
For now the RV remains in Magnolia, and WBL’s employees continue to ask the city for help. It doesn’t appear to be moving any time soon.
“It doesn’t (run), it has to be towed. They towed it here with a car and a rope. You can see the rope on the front (of the RV),” Eng said. “They tow it back and forth around the corner around every two weeks.”
Seattle police officers paid a visit to the suspected RV in Magnolia on Wednesday morning, according to Sergeant Sean Whitcomb with the Seattle Police Department.
He said that the RV’s occupants were told that there have been complaints of drug activity around their vehicle. Whitcomb notes that no drug activity was witnessed by officers while at the scene.
“Our hope is that he RV will move on,” he said. “We are keeping an eye on it.”
The RV occupants were also told that witness information has been given to the Seattle Police Department’s narcotics section, as well as the West Precinct’s crime team.
Whitcomb said that there is no “unofficial rule” from the Mayor’s office allowing people living in their vehicles to not follow parking regulations.
Whitcomb said that it is not against the law for a person to live in a vehicle. There are rules about moving a vehicle every three days and regulations against having disabled vehicles on the side of the road.
“The fact is, drugs are illegal. It’s a felony,” Whitcomb said. “Being homeless, that’s different. It’s not illegal.”
The video that WBL took is enough for police to do further investigation, he said.
“Let’s say you give me a video of Dori shooting up heroin. I can’t arrest Dori for shooting up heroin,” Whitcomb said. “It’s a crime he’s already committed and he is no longer possessing.”
“If they are doing it right then, and we stopped and saw them that is something that is actionable,” he said.
Which is exactly what happened recently when a driver used cocaine in front of a Seattle police officer during a traffic stop.