We received this report from a Lake Ballinger neighborhood resident, who chose to remain anonymous, about his role Tuesday morning in helping Edmonds police arrest two people suspected of stealing mail from mailboxes in the area. It illustrates the importance of calling police when you *think* you might be observing a crime in progress:
“I was sitting in my home-office this morning enjoying the view out the large windows. I noticed a young couple in their 20s walking down our street and then I watched as they approached a mailbox stand that has several mailboxes, only two of which were security boxes. I’m guessing that they could not see me because early in the morning the sunlight — even when there is very little of it — makes it very difficult to see in.
“I then watched in disbelief as the woman started pulling mail out and looking thru it as the guy was looking up and down the street watching for cars and people. The woman put the mail into a bag she was carrying, the guy fumbled with a bag too and they walked off. I admit that I hesitated; I was thinking that they probably lived in the rental house around the corner. Fortunately, I came to my senses within seconds and I dialed 911.
“About 10 minutes later, an Edmonds police patrol car pulled up in front of my house. The police officer and I chatted in the driveway and he asked who and what I saw. After I explained a few things, he said that the couple was being detained down the street and they needed me to come and identify them. We drove down the street (my first time in a squad car in a long time, and first time ever in the front seat) and when we got there I could see more patrol cars and a few officers.
“Immediately I recognized the woman because she was wearing a safety-orange hooded sweatshirt (yep, safety-orange) under a black jacket. The guy was already in the squad car because evidently there is already a warrant for him. While we sat there, the officer asked me again what I saw to which I replied, ‘I saw that woman, with another guy, take mail out of mailboxes and put it in a bag.’ Next thing I knew, they were restraining her wrists and putting her into the back of a car.
“Another officer hustled over to us and he was pretty stoked… he reached in, shook my hand and said thanks. He explained that it’s a pretty big deal because it’s rare that they can catch them. Typically, mail thieves hit and run nice areas and then move on before anyone’s the wiser, often right after we all leave for work. I just happened to be working from home before going into the office.
“He also was laughing at the expression on the couple’s faces when the patrol cars came around the corner and the two were right there standing at some mailboxes. The police were unable to open her bag on the spot because they had to get a search warrant first. They did find some mail and forged checks just from searching pockets. And the guy had car-prowl tools and some master ignition keys for cars on him too. That, plus the existing warrant, is why he was already in the back of the cruiser.
“I’m glad I decided to work from home for a bit. Times are pretty tough these days and crime does pay for some for a while and crime like this might worsen before it gets better. I encourage us all to pay attention, trust instincts and when in doubt, dial 911.
“P.S. Yes, one of the locking mailboxes is mine. I just put it up in January.”