Wednesday, January 30, 2013

EVERETT- Everett Police Department & Secret Service Take Down ID Theft Ring

Recently, I posted an interview with experts about ID theft (

Earlier this month, The Herald published an article about a bust of an ID theft ring by the Everett Police Department and the Secret Service ( This article gives a good insight into the basic structure of an ID theft ring as well as idea of some of the equipment that they use.

The article makes a reference to persons on the team who devoted themselves to stealing mail.

Mail Theft is closely related to ID theft in that the criminals are looking for cash, checks, and credit cards/credit card account numbers and social security numbers. Mail thieves will use account numbers within 48 hours and often within 2-3 hours. Some forms of check fraud include: 

• Forged signatures  

• Forged endorsements  

• Counterfeit checks  

• Altered checks  

Preventing Mail Theft: The Post Office recommends the following to make it harder for thieves to steal your mail:  

• Never send cash or coins in the mail.  

• Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery, especially if you are expecting checks, credit cards, etc.  

• If you will not be home when valuable items are expected, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail.  

• Have your local post office hold your mail while you are on vacation.  

• If you do not receive a check, food coupon or other valuable mail you are expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately.  

• Always deposit your mail in a Postal Service mail collection box or mail slot at your local post office or hand your mail to your letter carrier.   

• Exchange work and vacation schedules with trusted friends and neighbors, so that you can watch each other's mailboxes (as well as homes). 

• If you believe your mail has been stolen, report it immediately to your local postmaster. 

The ultimate prevention measure is to have a locking mailbox. Individual locking boxes are available at major hardware stores. For your street or cul de sac, the Postal Service will install locking mail box units (costing $1,300 to $1,700). You and your neighbors may need to share the costs.  The units come with 8, 12, 13 or 16 locking mail boxes, 1 or 2 parcel lockers and 1 locking outgoing mail slot. Ask your local postmaster about installing a locking mail box in your neighborhood


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

MILL CREEK- Robbery at Car Wash

MILL CREEK- Robbery at Car Wash

On Sunday afternoon, January 27, a car wash at the intersection of 132nd St SE and the Bothell Everett Highway was robbed around 1pm.

A man approached a car wash employee, showing a gun, and left with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Police describe the suspect as a white man, in his 20’s, about 5 foot 10 inches tall, about 190 pounds and medium build. He wore a black bandana over his face, a white jacket with a hood, blue jeans and white shoes.

If you have any information that can help police apprehend this person, please call Mill Creek Police (records office) at (425) 745-6175 and ask to talk to a detective.

According to KIRO TV News, police believe that the description of the suspect matches that of a robbery suspect that has been responsible for several recent robberies in north King County and Snohomish County.


If you find yourself in a restaurant or a store or other retail establishment that is being robbed remember the following tips:

  • Stay calm and don’t resist! Remember, personal safety first! Money and merchandise are not important.
  • Do as instructed. Don’t make sudden movements.
  • Keep your hands in sight at all times.
  • Get a look at the robber, but don’t stare.
  • If safe- get a description of the robber’s direction of travel after her/she leaves.
  • Don’t chase or follow the robber out of the business. Let the deputies catch the robber.
  • If you are outside of a business that appears to have suspicious, stay a safe distance away. Be a good witness by getting as good of a description as you can. Call 911 and let the call taker know that you have suspicious activity in progress.



The Herald:





Friday, January 25, 2013

IDENTITY THEFT- A Continuing Problem

ID Theft continues to be a growing problem in Washington State and in the nation. Ross Reynolds of KUOW recently interviewed ID Theft experts on the extent of the problem and how you can protect yourself.

Identity Theft: Protection In The Age Of Information:


You can find more information about ID Theft at:

CATHCART- Sheriff’s Office Discovers Major Stolen Property Stash

This morning, The Herald published an article on a Sheriff’s Office and Snohomish County Auto Theft Task Force bust near Cathcart that recovered two stolen vehicles, a number of guns, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and precious jewels.

A task force official pointed out that major stolen car investigations often lead to solving other crimes.

The article also highlights a few other points:

  • The first stolen vehicle had a GPS tracking device hidden in it. This shows that tracking devices that use GPS or the radio technology that Lojack uses can be very effective in recovering stolen vehicles.
  • 14 guns were discovered with 11 of them known to be stolen. Also, 3,000 rounds of ammunition were found as well as several holsters. The large number of stolen guns and ammunition points out the importance of securing weapons in a safe that is bolted to the floor of your house. Here are a couple of links with suggestions on how to secure guns:
  • $50,000 of power tools were recovered as well as plastic bags holding precious jewels including diamonds, rubies and sapphires. Deputies assume that the stones were removed from rings, necklaces and bracelets before melting the gold. Keeping an inventory of your valuables, as I have mentioned before, can be an important tool to recovery any items stolen from your home. Often, when deputies recover stolen property they need help in returning them to their rightful owners. If they cannot match the property to good descriptions in their crime reports, they have to assume that the property belongs to the suspect (even if they know that the property was probably stolen). Power tools can be engraved with your own individual ID code. Pictures showing all sides of the tools can also help. You would normally not engrave jewelry, but pictures of the jewelry can help to identify it. Be sure to promptly report the theft of your jewelry since the gold in it can easily be melted down for cash.
  • A small stash of methamphetamine was found. Many burglars steal to feed a drug habit.

For more detail about the bust go to “Major bust starts with stolen car:”

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

MARIJUANA AND DRIVING- The Rules of the Road

With the new marijuana law, some people may think that they will be allowed to smoke marijuana and drive. That would be wrong thinking. This is a recent interview with John Abraham of the Seattle PD Traffic Division on marijuana and driving by Ross Reynolds of KUOW:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

SNOHOMISH COUNTY- Sheriff John Lovick’s Comments about School Safety

The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut has created a debate about child safety in schools and gun control. The Herald published a commentary by Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick on Sunday January 20. Select the link below to read it:


On Thursday, January 17, a family’s home was burglarized while they were shopping at Costco. The family was at Costco for only an hour. When they returned home they found that someone had taken their jewelry and all of their electronic gadgets. The burglars entered the house through a side window, apparently circumventing their alarm system.

Note: While little more detail is known about this incident it does provide some pointers:

  • Usually, the rule of thumb is that most burglaries occur in the spring and summer when the weather is warmer and the days are longer. However, burglaries do happen in the winter, even with the cold weather that we have been having in the last two weeks.
  • While we do not have information on how the burglars circumvented the alarm, think about the following if you have an alarm:
    • Always arm your alarm system when you leave your house, even if you plan to be away for only a short time.
    • When you install your alarm system, ensure that you have adequate coverage of your home. A good alarm installer can assess and what types of sensors to use and where to place them to reliably set off an alarm when an intruder enters your home.
    • If you are thinking about installing an alarm system, remember:
      • Get bids from 3 or more companies.
      • There are two types of systems that you can use:
        • A monitored alarm system through a major company that that will first verify if there is a problem (usually with a phone call to you or someone you designate) before calling the local 911 agency.
        • A non-monitored alarm system that has a loud siren outside of the house that can alert neighbors. This is especially valuable if your neighbor know to call 911 if they hear the alarm.
      • For more information about alarms and surveillance cameras go to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office web site:


Monday, January 14, 2013


As we go through life we usually are busy. Busy with family, work, or maybe looking forward to vacation or maybe dinner out with some friends. We often focus on ourselves or our immediate family or friends. The rest of the world becomes beyond our focus or interest.

But police often ruin things with reminders about being aware of what is going on around you, especially when it comes to crime. But, you say you don’t want to be “paranoid.” Life should be more than obsessing on the bad that can happen to you. It should be about the positive in life. And you’re right. But a little awareness can keep you out of trouble or maybe give you an advantage in being a help if you find trouble around you.

People who teach personal safety often refer to a graduated scale- states of awareness:

1.         White- is where you are totally unaware of anything around you. Professionals discourage us from being in this state as we go through the day. People in white, are those who, after being robbed or assaulted on the street, say that they never saw it coming.

2.         Yellow- is where you are aware of what is going on around you. You’re relaxed, but you look around, if you are walking your stride is confident. You notice people around you so that you can see unusual activity and then go on to the next stage. This is where the professional personal safety trainer wants you.

3.         Orange- In orange you detect a potential threat. At this point, you should start to develop a plan in your head to protect yourself.

4.         Red- In red you should be actively protecting yourself, either by fighting or by running to safety.

5.         Black- If you are in black you are so overwhelmed by events, that criminals find it easy to victimize you. You can easily go from white to black. It’s better to be in yellow where you can inform yourself and be ready for any threat.


But being aware is not only for your personal safety, it is important within your community and neighborhood. This means being aware of your surroundings as you go about your day, by being alert when you are at home, but also talking to your neighbors about incidents that may have occurred when you are away from home or in parts of your neighborhood that you cannot see. Knowing when there has been a burglary, car prowl or other incident. Knowing about what is going on in your neighborhood helps you to take action to protect yourself and your property (like remembering to lock the doors to your car parked in the driveway). It also allows you to collaborate with your neighbors to figure out the source of a problem and to take action to if not remove it, at least to discourage it from repeating (kids drinking in the park, cleaning up the park to make that kind of activity less desirable to the kids).

Of course collaborating and communicating is a lot easier now than in the “old days.” Talking face to face with your neighbor is the best way in many situations. But, of course you need to be in person with that person, which can be a challenge if you want to talk to many people. With the telephone so ubiquitous by the mid-to-late 20th century, police departments frequently recommended that neighborhood watches develop “phone trees” in order to communicate vital and time sensitive information. If someone in the neighborhood has been burglarized or had their car broken into, then they could let their neighbors know what happened. Now that the internet has become a constant part of our lives with the world wide web, email, texting (SMS) through PC’s, laptops, tablet computers and even in our pockets or purses with our smartphones, communication is much easier and can be much broader.

Being alert to what is going on around you has new tools that can help your community. For example, we have talked about which can give you information about all kinds of crime incidents that have been reported to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. All you have to do is enter your address and you will see what crime has occurred around you. Anyone can access this information and can even sign up for email alerts.

Everyone in your neighborhood watch may not be into checking the web site or signing up for a crime alert. If one or two people in your neighborhood do receive alerts and/or regularly check the site then they can pass the information on to the rest of the watch. This does not replace information that your neighborhood watch members can exchange among themselves where everyone can learn things about how burglars gained entry or what was taken, which can help each member focus on how they can protect themselves. does not give a lot of detail about each incident other than date, time, general address (such as 100 block of 123 St SE), type of activity, and an incident number. But it can keep your neighbors aware of what is going on around them.

Knowing what is going on around you (the military calls it “situational awareness) can help you personally but also your neighbors to keep yourselves and your property safe, especially if you use the modern tools that we have to communicate.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

BELLEMONT HEIGHTS- Suspicious Vehicle

In the late afternoon on Monday December 31, a husband and wife were leaving their house and noticed a red Jeep Wrangler circling their neighborhood. This seemed suspicious to them. They did notify their Neighborhood Watch coordinator. It is unknown if they called 911.

Note: This was a heads up move. The Jeep seemed suspicious so they let their neighbors know what was going on. Letting 911 and your neighbors know about suspicious activity can help everyone. With a good description, including a license plate number, 911 and a sheriff’s deputy can easily check to see if vehicle is stolen or the vehicle’s owner has any warrants. Keeping your neighbors informed allows them to watch out for the suspicious person or vehicle. Its little things like this that helps direct deputies to where they are needed.