April 2

Armed teen pack near Northgate robs boys 11, 16



It’s not uncommon to see police reports about teens snatching iPhones or other mobile devices near the Northgate Mall/transit center area.

Sometimes, police say,  attackers and victims know each other.

This report, which came in by email early this morning,  is different.

My oldest and youngest sons went out for a walk with the dog late evening nice weather (@7 p.m.) last night and spend some allowance. They are 16 and 11.

On the way home they were approached by a group of 8-10 teen boys near US Bank on 8th Avenue Northeast. The teens asked what music was my son listening to. My boys tried to avoid these teens and go back towards Northgate Way to a more public spot. That was when my oldest got jumped. His iPhone and wallet were taken. He was punched in the mouth and almost stabbed (they cut his shirt) as one of the boys held a knife to his side.

The boys appeared to be from 12 to 16 years old, of mixed races. Some were wearing black hoodies.

My youngest ran with the dog and hid, then called 911. My oldest manages to get away and ran as fast as he could before finding help from a good Samaritan. They did a great job handling it all. Police took all the info and will see what they can do to catch the the guys. They said bank cameras usually capture footage with surveillance cameras. There’s a good chance this was filmed since my boys circled the bank while trying to form a plan of escape from the teens when they first saw them.

My oldest son has a fat lip. Both were really shaken up. The police said this stuff usually doesn’t happen right in this area. He commended them for their actions and said to continue life as usual. Not sure we will do that, but generally have an eye open for safety.

We bought our home here 1.5 years ago and never have felt unsafe. Hopefully, these kids get what they deserve. I can’t help but wonder where their parents are.

This report is too new to show on the police crime map. Also, it locked up when we asked it for a month’s worth of similar data.

About the author 

Sara W

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  1. It appears this is a group of kids who do not live in our area but are causing problems along Northgate way. These kids attend Whitman middle school in NW Seattle in the crown hill neighborhood. They probably are going to the mall and getting kicked out of the mall, library and community center then causing trouble along northgate way. Those with concerns may want to attend a SPD north precinct advisory council meeting. Here’s an email I received from the SPD community policing team lead officer for NE Seattle, Kipp Strong:

    There seems to be a group of kids from Whitman Middle School who have created some issues in the Northgate area. They have been named as suspects in a couple different incidents. I would encourage you, or anyone else to call 9-1-1 should you see this group creating any problems in your neighborhood.

    Officer Kipp Strong
    North Precinct Community Police Team
    (206) 233-3734

  2. I am a homestay host to two Saudi students. They told me about two Saudi students (who are studying at Kaplan) who were assaulted at a Northgate bus stop on 4/2/14 by a group of 10 males and 2 females. It was clearly a hate crime – the assailants made it clear they were attacking them because they were Saudi. According to my housemates, one student ended up in Harborview with his jaw broken in two places, and the other Saudi student received an injury to his head. I haven’t seen anything on the police blotter or the news about this. According to my housemates, the Saudi students said they pointed out the suspects to the police, but the police did not go after them. I would be interested to know more about this, if anyone has information. I have been telling my housemates that it would be safer to go to NSCC than Central CC, but now I’m not so sure.

  3. Wow about your mother “Observer”. I think that deserves it’s own post on the blog here. We should definitely let others know.

    Sue, thanks for the kind words. The phone is gone at this point. I saw a few listings on Craigslist that looked like it could have potential, but was not about to set up a meeting. It’s just not worth it to me. It would be nice to see some justice done and at this point, it’s in the detective’s hand. I’ve had some word on the situation, but am hopeful to have more info this week. I’ll certainly update with anything significant so everyone is aware. 😉

  4. The thing about your mom getting ripped off makes me so mad!

    I too, avoid that qfc at night, as there are so many people just milling around…I’ll go to the Safeway instead – where I don’t get that creepy feeling.

    Annie – just wanted to also say that your kids totally did the right thing. They sensed trouble & listened to their gut! So many people feel danger & ignore it – yea for your kids that they didn’t ignore it. They probably got away with less damage bc of their actions. If they “fought back” hard (& with random karate kicks…), they could have been hurt more. Did your son have the ‘find my iPhone’ feature activated on his phone? My daughter’s friend had hers stolen at school & quickly locked it, then tracked it to an apartment bldg on lake city way. They gave the info to school security – who knew who lived at that address & the student confessed & was punished. The phone was not recovered (she said she had sold it), but everyone was glad the student was punished.

    I had no idea there was an ATM for selling mobile phones in the mall (or that they even existed). The main purpose of it must be selling stolen items. Why would the mall encourage that?!?

  5. First the young, then the old. Both our most vulnerable population. This just sucks. I just hate to see seniors conned out of their hard earned money. Makes me wonder ,too, if bank tellers are told to watch out for stuff like this. If there was suspicious activity on my credit card they let me know quick. Only so much one can do but it sure takes a village. Thanks for all the alerts folks.

  6. My 86 year old mother was conned out of $1,900 yesterday by a guy that claimed a part fell off her Subaru in the QFC parking lot, he was a “service tech” familiar with Subaru’s and then fixed the car with a “new” part that he just happened to have. Four door black truck, two male accomplices, two kids in the back seat. He drove her to the bank in her own car and smooth talked her out of a big chunk of change.

    QFC is installing cameras in their lot in conjunction with an ongoing remodel, due to this type of stuff. The eastern most line of parking in that lot is actually City owned and adjacent to the small park there. There is a “Meth RV” parked there, QFC can’t exert control and has to call the City if vehicles are parked over the 72 hour limit, not the ideal situation.

    Watch your backs, the bad guys are here even before light rail arrives.

    We did report it to the police, will advise if progress is made. We are targets, reduce your exposure by any means possible.

  7. Hi all,

    A few updates: After contacting a friend of our family who is a respected SPD officer, he visited our home last night and spoke with the boys. He commended their actions and told them this is a safe area. He was impressed they knew something was going to happen before it happened and took some action to get into a public space. He also told us some details of the investigation that is underway and a high priority. I am hopeful I can share some of the details with you soon, but was asked to wait until more comes out. He was a great help and knew the officer that stopped by the day before. He mentioned that the previous officer is generally a negative nelly and reassured us. My boys are doing very well and back to normal today.

    I am not sure if it is appropriate to post the incident # and detective’s contact info here, so if anyone wants to add to this investigation as it seems you all have a lot of knowledge of these kids, feel free to contact me directly at annarocks5@gmail.con. I will gladly pass on the info to you.

    Ryan, we met one time when I was looking for some activities for my boys. I would be happy to speak with you. I will be in touch soon.

    Thank you!

  8. Hello Annie,

    My name is Ryan Axford and I am the Recreation Leader (Teen Leader) at Northgate Community Center. Your story was recently sent to me and at the time I did not think to scroll down to possible Comments.

    Since becoming the Teen Leader at the Community Center theft, assault, and threats have become second nature to the teens. We at the Community Center have worked hard to make sure that the police are involved with any suspicious activity and provide consequences for all of the teens caught performing illegal activity.

    I do not know if your boys are up to it but I would love to have a conversation with them as we have roughly 200 teens come through Northgate Community Center each week and this problem needs to stop now!

    Just to inform y’all, one of my teens saw a similar reported group at Northgate Transit Center steal 2 phones from 2 people at different times. These attacks on the innocent are dangerous as I myself am a bus rider and frequent Northgate Transit Center.

    If anyone has any questions or information please feel free to contact me at 206.386.4283.

  9. SPD can have the kids do an Identikit to gennerate composite drawings of the muggers, and they can also take the kids out looking for them in their usual stomping grounds to identify them. That’s what SPD would do if they were actually interested.

  10. Does juvenile court have mug shots your boys can look at? I agree with Thomas that the officers are just being lazy. Years back I had a young kid steal my car so I had to appear in juvenile court, I asked a friend to go with me. We were both social service workers at the time. We sat and waited in a small area with a handful of other people, all regarding this same kid.Well there was a plea deal on my kid so I was released. Since we were already there and we both worked with kids we asked if we could sit in on a trial.
    I want to mention my friend and I were 30ish at the time. Here we are, sitting around a table and the judge asks the “victim” to identify the perp. The “victim” points directly at my friend! OMG!!! I had to leave the room to stifle my laughter! I told an employee what was happening inside . She said she hoped by friend brought his toothbrush. I’m hoping she’s kidding.
    Of course after that crazy day I didn’t have a lot of faith in the juvenile court system.

  11. Not being afraid goes a long way. When you walk down the street and you don’t look afraid people are less likely to engage you in these sorts of incidents to begin with.

    I feel like Seattle police shirk a lot of their duties. The mentality about the police here is very different than a lot of other major cities whereas the people don’t like the cops very much yet it is a nonviolent city for the most part. It’s like the police have to be here but they don’t want to do anything to actually interact with the communities. It’s more like they’re rolling over everyone instead of being a public servant.

  12. I was once a Juvenile Court prosecutor. The SPD officer is not telling you the truth. If your sons give them a good description they can detain them for interrogation and a line up. I think SPD is ducking their responsibility to catch these kids.

    Annie, I fully understand about your kids not wanting to fight back where their lives were in danger. I just suggested karate because when I was a kid and fell victim to the same kind of crime, my Dad got me lessons to help me stop being afraid.

  13. I want to say those kids live in some of the apartments around BECU bank. I’ve seen them a bunch of times and yesterday afternoon I talked to some guys that I know and they seen the same kids before too. The Seattle police have almost no priorities for anything it appears. They don’t seem to care and have other stuff to do. No one got hurt so they’re not going to do anything. Even if they do catch the kids they’ll probably pay a few dollars fine and that’s it. best thing to do with them is to catch them one by one and beat the crap out of them.

  14. Thank you everyone. Here’s the deal according to the policeman who visited us after we retrieved the wallet today. He said point blank that in Seattle, it is illegal for him to pick up the kids if they fit the description under suspicion. My boys literally have to see the gang of guys again and call 911 with the police report number in hand. Then, a unit will dispatch and if my boys specify which ones did this, then they can be caught. It’s a backwards way to do things and doesn’t at all help my boys feel safe. These kids were very young according to my boys. My oldest said if there hadn’t have need so many, he would’ve fought back. I got more of the story today and found out my boys had been walking back to get in a more public area when they got stuck in the US Bank parking lot because these boys made a line and held my boys in place. It was their sheer number that got away with this. Maybe we could have a system of notifying me when you see this group again? It seems so many of you know which kids we are talking about here. I can’t just take my kids and go sit in parking lots to wait and see if they’re there. Ideas?

  15. So scary! We hear about this all the time but it isn’t ever supposed to happen to those we love. But this goes to show this happens anywhere and everywhere. Thank God your sweet boys are okay and I hope they are alright now and not having scary thoughts as they think back yesterday. Prayers are with you.

  16. Annie, I am sorry to hear about this. I have seen these kids around, they will be caught.

    We were at your Nite Out last year, and hope you organize another one.

    Could we consider a Night Out using the section of NE 105th between 5th and 8th Avenues NE?

    The date of the next Night Out is Tuesday, August 5, 2014.

  17. Sounds like you are making some headway Annie/Tim. If the phone has been purchased by EcoATM I think the mall owner Simon ought to hear about it loud and clear.
    As for a gang of youth mentioned hanging out at QFC – I gave them the what for one night and told them to take their fight outside as I was sick of listening to them. They were on and around the electric scooters just inside the entrance. They looked very young – under 16? and it was approx. 10:30pm when I sometimes stop after work. QFC management(Kroger?) doesn’t apparently care enough to back up their staff with security and/or police to monitor this kind of activity. I feel for the store staff because they have *plenty* of work to do without having to babysit the variety of folks and thugs that are just hangin’ out on their private property. This is one reason I avoid this store after work.

  18. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for the info. I’ve registered the phone with the site you suggested as well as Immobilize. Any other tips?

    The scary thing is the police said the assailants will not be caught unless my sons are out, see them and call 911 at the time they see them. Otherwise, in Seattle it is illegal for the police to detain someone on suspicion. So, unless we go sit in the parking lots and watch for these guys, they will continue to think this is ok to do this. Maybe we can set up some kind of alert system? The folks here who mentioned they saw this group, we can all alert each other??? I can take my boys (safely in a car) to the area where they are, call 911 and nail these kids. Ideas?

  19. It’s called EcoATM. I managed to get the customer service number and was able to make a claim on this missing iPhone. If they have it in the system, they will process it and get it back to is along with fingerprints and a photo of the person selling it to the ATM.

  20. Where is the quick market/turnaround for these phones?

    Speaking strictly of iPhones, they’ve gotten a lot harder with iOS 7. When you set up the phone, you add your Apple account. If someone tries to wipe the device, you have to enter the password for your Apple account in order to activate the device again. There are some ways around this but the phone won’t have as many features. Unactivatable iPhones typically go for about half what a normal used one is worth. An unactivatable iPhone 4 is still worth $60-75.

    I’m not sure if the Bum ATM can check an iPhone’s status.

  21. So sorry but glad your family is OK. Where is the quick market/turnaround for these phones? I happened to be sitting down near the phone buying KIOSK at the south end of the mall today when a young gentleman came up and used the machine. He glanced around before he processed his transaction and seemed very familiar with the MO. Is this where they are cashing in? If so, how are they getting away with it?

  22. Thank you all for your comments. I appreciate Thomas and Rick who mentioned where and when they have seen this pack of kids. The wallet was found tossed in the Park at Northgate apartments. The apartment maintenance man said it was tossed on the grounds. They have his learners permit (just got this last Friday… has our address on it) and credit card, which of course has been cancelled. The police are on the way over now to see if they can get any prints off the wallet. I will fill them in with the info you mentioned.

    As for training my boys in martial arts or self defense, I had the same thought. However, my son felt if he had fought back at all, he would have been stabbed. He was lucky to get away unharmed. I forgot to mention that the knife actually cut through a sweatshirt and his t-shirt while being pressed into his side. My boys saw this group of kids coming, felt uncomfortable and tried to get to a public area. Honestly, I am not sure what else they could have done in this instance.

    We had just been talking about the Greenwood parking lot shooting after that happened and covered that if this ever happened to hand over all your stuff. Appease the assailants, it’s not worth getting killed over a phone. He was outnumbered 10:1 and had a knife to his side. He felt that if he had fought at all that he would have been stabbed. He was lucky he managed to push them off him and run.

    I also want to add that my oldest (16 ½ year old) is 6 foot 2.5 inches. The dog is a big black labrador. They were not deterred and definitely had an agenda.

  23. I’m so sorry that happened to your brave boys. That dispels one of my thoughts that a dog might make someone think twice. Its all pretty shocking really.

  24. I’m also very disturbed to hear about the incident with your children. Unfortunately, it does appear we are dealing with more and more criminal behavior in the Northgate corridor. While I hate the civil liberty implications of increased surveillance cameras, that approach may be the best opportunity to help combat the spread of this behavior.

    Regarding karate lessons: not a bad idea, but I’m not sure how effective that will be against 8-10 guys with knives.

  25. I’m sorry about what happened to your kids. I recommend you get the karate lessons so they can fight back. I’ve seen this pack roving around, and I cannot understand why SPD does not stop and frisk them. They were in QFC last night trying to open the locked liquor cabinet, sitting on the disabled scooters, and playing with an iPhone. Maybe your kids iPhone.

    We need to crack down on crime and not just talk about it.

  26. This is what Northgate has become unfortunately. They sound like the same group of kids that hang out behind MKG Martial arts and Kennelly Keys smoking weed and cigarettes. There’s a group of them I the same age range and same mixture of races.

    Hopefully your kids don’t let these kind of people scare them from doing what they want but luckily they weren’t seriously hurt and they learn from this.

  27. That is terrible. But we have been hearing more violent crime reports from the immediate vicinity of the mall in recent years. That’s not good for the neighborhood, but it’s also not good for business, and the management at Northgate Mall should be freaking out about incidents like this.

  28. This is awful and so close to home. What a way to wreck a beautiful day. I hope they are caught soon. There have been similar pack attacks in the last year or so near Roosevelt High School and the transit center. This is not a trend that should be allowed to continue unchecked. Glad the kids got away without more serious injuries.

  29. Oh Dear God, help us! Help our community. So sorry to hear of this. I’ll be praying for your family and your boys. Thanks for sharing your story with the neighborhood. I’ve lived in Maple Leaf for 20 years. I hope your family will stay.

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