BELLEVUE—Bellevue City Council member Grant Degginger knew there was a problem when two members of his wife's book club were victims of burglars.
"It’s troubling to hear we have a spike in burglaries because we have had a safe city,” said Degginger.
So Degginger asked the police department to look into it. Detectives found burglary rates had more than doubled in the first three months of the year.
According to the Bellevue Police Department, 108 burglaries occurred in the first three months of 2011 while property crimes actually dropped by more than 4% in 2010. According to detectives, the majority of the burglaries occurred in the Lakemont or Lake Hills area of Bellevue.
“I was mad,” said 9 year-old Carlos Herrera Enrique after thieves broke into his family’s home and stole his beloved xBox and games. ”If i know them I would be mad at them. If I don’t know them, they are bad people,” said Enrique.
Along with the games, the burglars stole family jewelry and a cell phone.
“I instantly panicked,” said 19 year-old University of Washington student Charlotte Anthony after thieves broke into her family’s Bellevue home during the middle of the day.” I said oh no my laptop. I instantly knew it was probably gone," said Anthony.
Anthony had her laptop with all her college papers and pictures on it.
The family suspects the thieves were small because they crawled through a small doggy door and took items that only a teenager would be interested in,
Anthony said, ”They took silly things you wouldn't think are valuable like hair clips.”
Since learning about the crime spree, detectives have been busy tracking down the criminals. Already 16 people have been arrested, mostly teenagers, and 10 more persons-of-interest have been identified. 27 burglaries have been solved.
Detectives have increased patrols, are using Automatic License Plate Readers and highly trained Crime Scene Investigators to crack down on crime.
Council member Degginger says,“The police department is putting additional resources to this including adding marked patrols and unmarked patrols.”
Herrera-Enrique would like to see the burglars punished for stealing his one prized possession.
”So they can get into big trouble. So they feel what it is like to be in big trouble," said Enrique.