South Park biz owner: ‘When the sun goes down, the zombies come out’
The crime in our region is taking an incredible toll on people and businesses as the burglary rate sits at an all time high. It’s also taken a financial toll on businesses, some of which have decided it’s no longer viable to operate in the city. Logan Shepardson‘s family has owned a manufacturing company for 70 years in Seattle, and he wrote to the Dori Monson Show about the challenges his business is facing.
“It just seems that there’s a lot of complicated challenges going on in our city right now, and a lot of pressure on law enforcement to do a better job, but with fewer resources,” Shepardson said. “And I can say that where we’re located and the things that we encounter here, it’s really concerning to see how rapidly crime and theft are increasing.”
In the last four years, they’ve had 12 break-ins.
“We can’t take it anymore,” he said.
The business is a manufacturing facility and a fenced yard, gated, with razor wire around it, but that doesn’t seem to stop anyone, Shepardson explained.
“They can cut a hole in the fence, clip the chain, get over the fence, you name it, but they’re getting in,” he said. “It’s amazing how emboldened it’s become. The other day I was in just a little after hours loading something in our loading yard, and I just watched right in front of me one of our local South Park residents just walked straight in the gate and hides behind a container, thinking nobody saw him.”
“And I just walked right up and you tell the guy you got to go, and you could tell he was just hoping to be undiscovered until everybody went home and start pillaging through our stuff,” he continued.
When they came back to work on Monday after Thanksgiving, their box trailer had been stolen.
“After reviewing about four hours of camera footage, we saw that things are changing. It’s no longer people just stealing a hand tool to go sell at a pawn shop for 20 bucks,” Shepardson said. “This was an orchestrated theft. There were four vehicles involved. There was clearly a scouter who came by at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night, came by two more times throughout the evening. Somebody else came, clipped the chain on the fence and left. And then at five in the morning, pickup truck backed in, knew exactly where it was going, grabbed the trailer, took off. It was more than just the petty crime we’re used to seeing.”
The box trailer, Shepardson says, is 20 feet long and worth about $8,000. They called police to report the theft, but were essentially told that nothing will happen.
“It’s the same story every time,” he said. “The officers that show up are empathetic, they hate to see this happen to us, but they essentially tell us that nothing’s going to happen. We’ve had guys caught on camera where we can clearly identify their face, we can see license plates, but the department always tells us that they simply don’t have the resources, and that city leadership doesn’t really provide them with the ability to go after these guys.”
“What we hear now and what this great officer who I dealt with on this particular issue told us is that they’re not even allowed to arrest these guys with COVID rules,” he added. “… They could find the trailer tomorrow and nothing would happen to the person who is in possession of it.”
Now, Shepardson says he’s concerned for his employees’ safety.
“We’re in an industrial area down near South Park and as soon as the sun goes down — I hate to use a derogatory term like this — but it’s like there are zombies walking around everywhere,” he said. “They’re wandering, looking for anything they can find.”
“We’ve gotten to the point where every morning when my shop foreman shows up, he does a perimeter check looking for a hole in our fence, and about once a month he finds one,” Shepardson said.
Shepardson has thought about picking up and moving, but has great employees that he doesn’t want to lose. However, some have told him that they’d be willing to move as well.
“Our employees share the sentiment,” he said. “I’ve got a few of them who I’ve breached the topic with. And our employees were saying, ‘Hey, we’d be interested in moving too, we don’t want to live here anymore.'”
“It’s not just our business that’s affected by this,” he added. “People are having their cars prowled. My wife’s car was stolen out of our driveway two months ago. People don’t want to live in this environment anymore. And so, you know, if I say, ‘hey, well, there’s a great manufacturing market in Reno, or in Texas, or New Mexico,’ I have employees who say, ‘let’s go, we’re ready.'”
Shepardson says he’s worried about the direction the city is going in.
“We can probably get through what’s happening today, but this path leads someplace,” he said. “And, you know, I am really afraid of what Seattle is going to look like in five years if we don’t change course.”
Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.