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Federal Way burglaries drop after police arrest 'professionals'
Burglary rates in the city have dropped significantly in the past month, thanks to the arrests of two professional burglars by the Federal Way Police Department.
Police Chief Brian Wilson said the two suspects were as professional as they come.
"Over the last month, we made significant arrests for residential burglary. Two individuals, specifically, that were responsible for burglaries in the Twin Lakes and Marine Hills areas, as well as other areas in the city," Wilson told the city council July 3. "They were responsible for multiple burglaries. They were a professional outfit. One suspect claimed they worked 'Bankers Hours' — 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock."
As part of the investigation, police discovered a cash-for-gold business on Pacific Highway that appeared to be running as a fence, which is a middleman that deals with stolen goods, Wilson said. Federal Way police executed a search warrant on that business, and made arrests, in conjunction with the investigation.
"Within a 10-day period, the number of burglaries just dropped. Once we had them in custody…it dropped," he said. "We're very encouraged by getting those two individuals into custody."
According to the data compiled by FWPD, from June 1-June 14 of this year there were 44 burglaries reported. As soon as these two suspects were apprehended, there were only 14 burglaries reported from June 15-27. FWPD estimates the two suspects were averaging two to three burglaries a day.
Wilson said these two professional burglars took a simple approach in casing homes.
"The standard approach of these two suspects … was just to knock at the door and see if anyone was home," he said.
Surprisingly, one of the suspects was a woman, Wilson shared.
"One of the suspects looked like a professional businesswoman. You would have never suspected that she was a career burglary suspect. She could have walked in here, and no one would have thought twice about it," he said, referencing the council chambers in City Hall. "This particular woman had a professional window breaking tool that would break just a little bit to get it to be able to open a door — a very quiet means by which to get into a house."
Wilson said community involvement is vital in policing crimes like home burglary, referencing the 500 or so people who have signed up for the city's Safe City program in Twin Lakes.
Along with that, he encourages citizens to contact police when something or someone seems out of place. In the case of being home when someone is attempting to break into a house, residents should let the would-be burglar know they're in the house.
"The best thing to do is to let them know you're there. If they think someone is in the house, they'll go," Wilson said. "They don't want that confrontation."
Councilman Bob Celski asked if there was any data that proves homes with alarm systems are safer against burglary than those without alarms. Wilson replied in the affirmative.
"If an alarm is in the residence, then often times it's too much of a risk. People will not enter or take the steps to go into that residence," he said. "Regardless of whether it's monitored or not, a horn blasting out the entries…is too risky."
Mayor Skip Priest said that community involvement is an important key to keeping local neighborhoods crime free.
"It's important to remind everyone, that while we have officers in the neighborhoods, it's incumbent on all of us to be aware of what's going on in our neighborhoods," Priest said. "And then help the police to ensure that our neighborhoods are full of less, rather than more, burglaries."