Mariners star Felix Hernandez among the victims in largest Bellevue burglary bust ever
Mariners star pitcher Felix Hernandez was among more than 100 victims in the City of Bellevue’s biggest ever burglary bust.
At a news conference Wednesday morning, the Bellevue Police Department released details about a burglary ring involving 123 individual homes that spanned Bellevue, Kirkland, Seattle, Medina and Clyde Hill. In total, police believe the group of burglars, dubbed the Rock Smash Burglary Crew, was responsible for nearly $3 million in losses. King Felix’s home was on the crime spree list, with multiple pieces of valuable watches and jewelry on display at the press conference. That included a 2000 New York Yankees World Series Champion ring that Hernandez owned. There were also multiple valuable handbags on display, including at least one valued at $90,000.
The Bellevue PD said in a press release that the nearly nine-month investigation involved five police agencies, saying they found a series of burglaries with a similar pattern starting in April of 2016. The burglars would case homes in high-end neighborhoods, break a rear window or sliding door with a rock or other object and then steal jewelry, purses, cash and firearms. The thieves would use luxury automobiles to commit their crimes in an attempt to blend in with neighborhood traffic and would be in and out of the homes in a matter of minutes. In some instances, the homeowner was home at the time of the burglaries, with an armed confrontation occurring in Kirkland.
Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett said detectives have cataloged about one-third of what they have in their possession, and are currently at the $400,000 mark but expects it to go up significantly. Mylett said the burglars were adept at their craft, sometimes employing counter-surveillance.
“It always seemed like we were two or three minutes behind them,” Mylett said.
The investigators caught a break over the summer, after finding a “key piece of evidence” at the scene of a burglary thanks to a citizen tip. They located the suspects at a residence on the 3200 block of 62nd Avenue SW in West Seattle and were taken into custody with the assistance of the Bellevue SWAT team. One suspect was arrested while allegedly wearing one of Hernandez’s high-end watches with a “King Felix” engravement.
Mylett said he was confident that everyone involved in committing the burglaries has been arrested.