Police look for solutions to combat student robberies in North Seattle

Oct 25, 2023, 4:00 PM | Updated: 5:14 pm

highland park encampment...

(Photo from Seattle Police Department)

(Photo from Seattle Police Department)

Seattle Police (SPD) announced there have been at least 14 students accosted while walking home from school in a news conference Wednesday.

Most of the robberies have happened in the Ballard area, but recently there has been at least one robbery near Roosevelt High School. Police explained these middle and high school-aged students are usually approached by a group of young men, sometimes armed. Physical violence occurred in some of the instances.

The robbers are looking for iPhones and AirPods. They also want passcodes and will threaten students with harm if they don’t give them what they want.

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“The suspects are driving stolen vehicles and they’re coming upon one or two students in a small group,” Seattle Police Assistant Chief Todd Kibbee said. “They are either jumping out of a car or coming up on these victims from behind.”

Kibbee revealed SPD is unsure if other similar robberies in separate parts of the city are related, but he said there could be more incidents that have not been reported. He also explained police are moving additional patrol officers and a mobile precinct closer to the schools in an attempt to prevent further robberies.

So far, no student has been seriously injured, but students remain afraid.

“I’m not a very big dude and I’ve heard these people are running around in groups in stolen cars,” student Issac Coats said.

Police said students should try to travel in bigger groups, walk towards traffic and not wear their AirPods.

On Tuesday, a student from Bishop Blanchet High School, a private Catholic school north of Green Lake in Seattle, was assaulted and robbed while walking to their car one block away from campus, according to Seattle Police (SPD).

In a message sent to parents, Bishop Blanchet High School Dean of Students Chris Bilanko wrote the student was a “victim of an assault and phone theft” around 4:25 p.m. while they were walking to their car. According to Bilanko, the vehicle was parked along North 82nd Street between Wallingford Avenue North and Densmore Avenue North.

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That incident was one of three robberies SPD responded to within 30 minutes on Tuesday. The second incident SPD responded to was another robbery on the 1100 block of North 84th Street, a half-mile away from Bishop Blanchet High School. The third incident, an additional robbery, occurred near the intersection of 16th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 65th Street — two miles northeast of the second robbery.

Police said there were three suspects in each robbery, with one reporting they jumped out of a dark gray minivan, according to KOMO News.

In the press conference Wednesday, SPD stated they are not sure if the suspects are students, but they plan to continue investigating.

Contributing: Bill Kaczaraba/MyNorthwest

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Police look for solutions to combat student robberies in North Seattle