Archive for the ‘crime’ Category

RIP Tuba Man

Memorial for Tuba Guy at Seattle Center

Memorial for Tuba Guy at Seattle Center

For decades now, one of Seattle’s most notable sports-related figures hasn’t been an athlete, an owner, or a journalist, but a friendly guy with a tuba. Ed McMichael, known as “Tuba Man”, and his instrument were fixtures outside Seattle’s sports and theater venues for decades. Good weather, bad weather, victory or defeat, Tuba Man was always there with his goofy hats and his bottles of juice, playing his tuba.

His repetoire was astonishing; he’d blow out anything and everything from serious classics to contemporary hit tunes. As the Seattle P-I’s Robert Jamieson reports, he was more than talented enough to play in a band but chose his to play outdoors for the opportunity to be part of the community and meet people. Last year he told Jamieson that what he valued most was meeting people.

He sure met a lot of them. Any time I’ve mentioned him in conversation, I’ve never had to explain who he is–who in Seattle didn’t know Tuba Man? Seeing Tuba Man outside is just as much of the experience of going to a game or watching a play as buying the tickets and sitting in the seats.

Rather, it was.

Ed McMichael was at a bus stop in the 500 block of Mercer on October 25 when he was jumped by a bunch of young thugs. Two of them are in custody, the other three are very much wanted by the police. Injuries from the attack sent him to Harborview where he was treated for head wounds and sent home to recover; he passed away in the dark of Sunday night or Monday morning at home. Police believe his death was directly connected to the assault.

Last night at the Key Arena a makeshift memorial went up in the place where he always sat before games and concerts. Flowers and juice and notes were clustered with candles dedicated to his memory. The Thunderbirds game opened with a moment of silence in his memory; heads bowed and tears flowed as images of Tuba Man throughout the years flashed on the scoreboard.

Tuba Man will be missed very much by many people. If you happen to have any information that could help the police, please, please do not hesitate to contact them.

One of my favorite memories of Tuba Man is the time when I was waiting for some friends to show up and meet me outside the Key Arena for a game. It was a cold, dark, and rainy evening, the sort where even the hardcore smokers decided being inside under cover was worth giving up their nicotine fix. To give myself something to do while I waited, I was pacing from the fountain to the box office and back over and over; once he caught on to what I was doing, Tuba Man would play a march every time I passed by him. What are your favorite Tuba Man memories?

Innertube Robbery Suspect Arrested

UPDATE: A 28-year old Lake Stevens man has been arrested in relation to the Monroe armored car robbery that made headlines with a most unusual get-away vehicle: an inner tube. The robber held up an armored car with pepper spray, possibly escaped down the Skykomish River on an inner tube, and when police arrived, found a small group of men matching the description of the subject. A Craigslist ad placed 3 days before the incident asked for men looking for work to show up at a specific time wearing specific clothes, likely to fool police.

The suspect apparently wasn’t as smart as he thought. While he used an unlocked wifi account to post the Craigslist ad, police were still able to match DNA left on evidence at the scene to the suspect. A witness also reported the license plate number of the suspect’s wife to police after noticing unusual objects behind a dumpster next to the bank, which the suspect was observed picking up later in the day.


Nationwide Scam Hits Close To Home

American Dream

American Dream

Many of the websites I browse on a daily basis cover nationwide topics but occasionally one that references our fair city will catch my eye. This time, courtesy of The Consumerist, we get a glimpse into the somewhat-sketchy world of locksmith companies. A-1 24hr Locksmith, likely named so the company will show up in the first few phone book listings, is a company to stay away from.

Quoted from the article directly:

A1 24 hr Locksmith answers and tells me $39.99 + about a $19 service charge. I tell him the kind of car, the address, etc. They say 25-30 mins.

I start to think things might be weird when I get two calls from two different people to confirm the address, my name, etc. The “locksmith” shows up over an hour later, in an unmarked car, with no uniform. I show him my car and he decides that my 2005 ford focus is VERY hard to break into, and that the labor charge is gonna go up to $125, for a total of $177 after tax. About $19 does not = $125. I’m sure he saw 20 year old female college student and thought $$$$$. He is very intimidating. He tells me he’s charged people $260 to get into their cars, and that he is giving me a deal, it is late at night, what am I gonna do.

The next day, the car owner discovers a fair amount of damage to her car door and the dawning realization that she’s been scammed. Stay away from A-1 24hr Locksmith. There are plenty of reputable locksmiths in the greater Seattle area.

Amanda Knox to face trial in Italy

Remember Amanda Knox, the Seattle student who went to Italy to study and got swept up in murder?

An Italian judge indicted the 21-year-old and her Italian ex-boyfriend today on charges of murder and sexual violence leading to the death of Knox’s housemate, British student Meredith Kercher.

The trial of Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, 24, begins on December 4. A third suspect, Rudy Guede of Ivory Coast, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted of the same charges.

[aol news]

Magnuson Off-Leash Dog Park Witnesses on 10/26

Witnesses Needed

Witnesses Needed

I met a couple yesterday who needs witnesses to a dog attack at Magnuson Off-Leash dog park, Sunday around 4pm. Their little pup was attacked by what appeared to be a lab or lab mix. The resulting injuries (broken bones, kidney torn in half) were too much for the poor dog who passed on later that day. The couple are looking for witnesses of the attack and were inquiring about the health of a 2nd dog who was also attacked. They stated that the dog who attacked theirs was later seen with a muzzle, indicating that the owners knew that their dog was potentially dangerous. If you saw what happened Sunday afternoon, please contact 206-484-9428 or 425-772-2389.

Downtown Explosion?

On my way into work this morning, about 6:00 AM, a cruiser and a couple of motorcycle units passed my carpool on 1st Avenue at Union, and blocked off traffic between 1st and 2nd. An officer on the scene, R. White, reported that someone had phoned in a bomb threat. A follow up call to the Seattle Police Department’s media line, revealed more information.

At about 5:55 AM, a passing bus driver on 2nd Avenue at Union saw what he believed to be an explosion, and called 911. SPD dispatched units to the scene and discovered a small hole in the structure of a parking garage on Union between 1st and 2nd. The SPD Bomb Squad is currently investigating.

At this time, the SPD believes that the only intent was property damage.

Update 9:15 AM: The latest release from Renee’ Witt of the SPD is that officers have completed their investigation of the possible explosion, and no damage has been found. Apparently the “hole” found this morning was unrelated? Witt specified that the parking garage in question is located at the NE corner of 2nd & Union. The SPD considers the investigation closed.

UVillage Parking Mishap

Everyone always complains how much space trucks and SUVs take up in parking lots, but this is a new low:

Parking Mistake

Actually, it appears this afternoon’s incident was the result of an under-the-influence driver, who fled on foot after an ill-fated attempt to negotiate the ramp down from 25th Ave. Police, fire trucks, and UV’s own Security are out in force to deal with the results.

The Summer of Belltown’s Discontent

Another week, another disturbing violent incident in Belltown: this one an (apparently unprovoked) beating near 2200 First Ave. I’m in that area from time to time myself, and although there’s occasionally some colorful activity near what seems to be a halfway house in the immediate vicinity, it wasn’t a block I was particularly worried about before now. Between Mcleod, Txori and the new Bad Juju Lounge, the area has a lot going for it beyond what many love to hate about Belltown, but now it appears some glancing over ones shoulder is called for, sadly.

Scary Seattle Summer

Downtown Seattle from Don Armeni Park, courtesy of Forrest Pangborn

I don’t know about you guys, but this summer is Seattle is starting to freak me out. I thought the feet washing up in B.C. was a little creepy and somewhat entertaining- but more importantly, far enough from Seattle to maintain some sense of distance.

Next, we had the spikes in Greenlake– and much like the B.C. feet, more and more spikes are showing up in the lake. I couldn’t imagine someone being evil enough to put that much effort into hurting swimmers and boaters, so I’m still clinging to the more benevolent explanations- plastic sheeting, theater, whatever. As long as some psycho’s not swimming around Greenlake in the winter to set up spikes intended to hurt people months later…

But then we had the case of the traffic circle gardener, who died after being punched during an altercation. (#) This was a story that just seemed… awful. Granted, there are multiple versions to any story, but the idea of a 60-year-old man dying from a single punch to the head while tending a public space- no matter how much of a cranky curmudgeon he may have been- it just seemed like the worst kind of tragedy, one that could have been easily prevented by someone taking a different approach.

And today, I run across news that suggests that some Critical Mass bicyclists may have attacked a driver after he (intentionally or not) hit one of the bikers. (#) Now, I understand both sides to the story- but again, this seems like a situation that could have been easily prevented by cooler heads. Bicyclists, don’t touch peoples’ vehicles during bike rides; Drivers, be patient with slower-moving bikes… being late isn’t truly the end of the world, after all.

Maybe it’s just my idealistic tendencies, and the fact that I had to stop watching the news shortly after we moved here because it was like seeing the worst stories from the last five years of living in my hometown all packed into one half-hour segment, but I just can’t quite seem to wrap my head around people being so angry here. Like another Metblogger said (#), Seattle, what’s wrong with you lately? You’re freaking me out…

Does anyone have any good, uplifting stories to help us see the brighter side? I’d kill for some good news…

Sleeping on the job

AP Photo/Monroe Police Department

Suspects Kyle Burress (see photo) and Allen Pierce Broke into Fred Meyer in Monroe, WA, stole a variety of goods, and then left a trail of dropped/discarded objects that led police to their hiding place. The boys had fallen asleep on said stolen goods when police found them. Photos were taken, the boys were awaken, and now face charges of second-degree theft. Alcohol is a possible contributor.

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