BELLEVUE, Wash. — Two suspects were arrested in connection with "dozens and dozens" of car prowls, ID thefts and a robbery in King County, according to the Bellevue Police Department (BPD).
The suspects are accused of using a window punch to break into cars, steal credit cards and use them to buy or attempt to purchase gift cards, according to BPD. The suspects face 12 felony charges in connection to their alleged crimes.
Detectives were able to identify the suspects using surveillance video taken of multiple car break-ins at the Coal Creek Trail Head.
One of the suspects is also accused of at least ten other car prowls with a different accomplice at a trailhead in North Bend where the pair is accused of firing shots at victims who interrupted the break-ins. The pair also allegedly assaulted a woman and stole her car as they fled the scene, according to BPD.
Bellevue and King County detectives located the suspects on June 8. When deputies arrested the suspects, they recovered a stolen .357 revolver and found stolen credit cards, identification and fraudulently obtained gift cards after a search of one of the suspects' residences.
Law enforcement have been anticipating a surge in smash and grab robberies near trailheads during the summer. The Washington State Patrol (WSP) has already seen an uptick in smash-and-grab robberies in 2022.
In May, a parking lot across from the popular Poo Poo Point trailhead in Issaquah was targeted.
The WSP said it is working with other law enforcement to increase patrols at trailheads.
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission shared the following tips to keep hikers safe from trailhead car prowls:
- Park in well-lit areas
- Do not leave any valuables in your car
- Make sure doors and trunk are locked
- Report any signs of worrisome behavior
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Store your registration in your trunk or lockbox that is attached to your vehicle
- Create a safety circle when you go on a hike (tell someone where you’ll be and how long you anticipate to be gone)