CRIME BLOTTER

Teen pajama car prowler suspects arrested, police in Bellevue say

Feb 6, 2024, 7:56 PM | Updated: Feb 8, 2024, 11:18 am

Image: The three suspects of a series of car thefts in Western Washington were described as juvenil...

he three suspects of a series of car thefts in Western Washington were described as juveniles wearing pajama bottoms and hoodies. (Video capture courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Video capture courtesy of KIRO 7)

Three teenage girls thought to be the pajama car prowlers who have terrorized the Puget Sound region in recent weeks have been placed under arrest, the Bellevue Police Department (BPD) reported Tuesday through its Bellevue Beat Blog.

Officer Seth Tyler from BPD said the teens are all from Federal Way and are suspected of a series of car break-ins in the Lake Hills neighborhood in Bellevue and other cities in Western Washington.

“We did some additional investigation and learned that these individuals were tied to a number of similar incidents in the region, including an armed robbery in the parking lot of a grocery store in Federal Way,” Tyler said, according to KIRO Newsradio.

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Surveillance video showed three girls dressed in pajama pants and hoodies, using a hammer to smash car windows and steal items.

The suspects are aged 13, 14 and 16. Law enforcement officials say they may be connected to more car break-ins in Federal Way, Tacoma, Seattle and Auburn.

After assistance from surrounding agencies and other sources, BPD arrested two of the involved girls this past Friday, according to the Bellevue Beat post. The first suspect, 13, was arrested for suspicion of possession of a stolen vehicle, malicious mischief and motor vehicle prowling.

The second suspect, 14, was arrested for suspicion of possession of a stolen vehicle, motor vehicle prowling and malicious mischief.

Police identified the third juvenile female, 16, and charges of possession of a stolen vehicle, motor vehicle prowling and malicious mischief will be forwarded to the King County Juvenile Prosecutor for consideration, the online post stated.

The second and third suspects were already in custody at the King County Youth Detention Facility for charges unrelated to the Bellevue incidents.

“Ultimately, what it came down to was some good old-fashioned detective work that was able to definitively link them to these crimes,” Tyler added.

Closure for the victims

Ahead of the arrests, victims expressed frustration with the damage done to their vehicles and the unexpected repair bills.

“Last Thursday morning, my mom called me to tell me my passenger window had been smashed and someone had rummaged through my glove compartment and the center console. It was just stressful, inconvenient and expensive,” victim Morgan Lanza said.

Previous coverage: Prowlers in pajamas hit multiple Western Washington cities

A homeowner who goes by the nickname “Nana Mouse” recently had two of their cars damaged. She told KIRO 7 this was an inconvenience she didn’t need.

“It’s one more thing that we didn’t need piled on and I’m sure my other neighbors (feel that way) too,” the homeowner said.

Tyler noted the suspects have caused significant damage and trouble throughout the Puget Sound region in recent weeks. He expressed hope that the recent crime spree will cease and the victims will be able to move on.

“They’ve really been on a rampage across the region. It’s very concerning,” Tyler said. “So, we’re hoping we can provide some closure to the victims in this case and, hopefully, some accountability for these young ladies to, hopefully, get their lives back on track.”

Contributing: James Lynch, KIRO Newsradio; KIRO 7

Steve Coogan is the lead editor of My Northwest. You can read more of his stories here. Follow Steve on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here.

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