Burglars Pulled Fire Alarms to Assist Robberies

by | Jul 30, 2018

pulling fire alarm

It seems that criminals will go to any length to get away with their crimes. A pair of clever burglars pulled fire alarms in Seattle area apartment complexes to help their robbery efforts.

String of False Alarms Strike Seattle Buildings

As soon as frightened residents dashed out of the building, the suspects raced through the hallways, trying apartment door handles. When they found any left unlocked, the burglary suspects entered. Working quickly, they grabbed credit cards and computers, according to local police and media reports.

The two suspects reportedly struck apartment complex buildings throughout the Ballard, Phinney Ridge, and University of Washington neighborhoods. They committed an estimated dozen burglaries.

Suspects Immediately Shopped With Stolen Cards

The two burglary suspects illegally forced their way into the buildings by prying open locked entry doors. Once in, they pulled fire alarms found in the main hallways. After the building emptied, they went door to door looking for easily accessible valuables.

“They immediately used the credit cards before the victims knew they’d been burglarized,” said Crime Prevention Coordinator Mary Amberg of the Seattle Police Department in a report to area residents.

From resident witnesses and video surveillance footage, police compiled a description of the pair. One suspect was a 40-something white female, 5’6″ and 156 pounds, with long dark hair. The other was a white male in his mid-30s with a shaved head, weighing around 200 pounds.

Police Nab Pair Near Store Where Stolen Credit Cards Used

The suspected pair’s pattern of using stolen credit cards immediately helped the police nab them. After repeating their pattern of pulling a fire alarm to rob apartments—this time in the Greenwood neighborhood—Major Crimes Task Force Detectives quickly arrived at the scene. While they were interviewing a burglary victim, she began receiving text messages that someone was using her credit card at a nearby store. The officers hurried over to the store. There, they found two people who matched the description they had. When they searched the pair, one had the victim’s car key.

The officers arrested them. They went to King County Jail under investigation for burglary, fraud, and multiple warrants.

Lock Doors During Fire Alarm

In the wake of these fire alarm robberies, fire officials are urging people to continue to leave their homes or office buildings when they hear an alarm in case the fire is real. They encourage people to lock their doors if possible, but not to lock deadbolts. Locked deadbolts could pose a hindrance to fire crews if they need to get into an apartment while fighting a fire.

Deep Sentinel

If you are concerned about false fire alarm burglaries and other crimes, consider installing home security cameras. Deep Sentinel can call the police even if you can’t, using a combination of advanced AI and live security camera monitoring by real human guards.

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