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Ballard Walgreens robbed at gunpoint

Posted by Geeky Swedes on December 29th, 2009

Updated: Police are searching for an armed man who robbed the Walgreens at 6:45 this morning. Police say they believe the robbery occurred in the pharmacy. The suspect escaped in an unknown direction, and nobody was injured.

Moments after the robbery, a large police response flooded the area, briefly shutting down 15th and Market. A K9 unit has been called to the search, and as of 7:45 a.m., the dog has tracked the suspect near Ballard Commons Park. The 5’10” suspect is wearing all black, with black sweats, black backpack, black hoodie, grey scarf, tennis shoes with white soles, and was carrying a silver pistol.

We’ll be updating with more information as we receive it, and My Ballard reader Silver is updating reports on the ongoing search in comments below.

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47 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Silver // Dec 29, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    I'm not hearing much on the scanner right now. I think they're waiting for K-9 to arrive.

    Traffic does not seem to be having any trouble at 15th and Market, despite the pretty lights. That may change when and if they start running with a dog.

  • 2 Silver // Dec 29, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    K-9 has arrived and is tracking Northbound on 17th NW from NW 53rd. A person in dark clothing has been seen darting across the street nearby.

  • 3 Silver // Dec 29, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Market has been shut down so that K-9 can track across it if necessary.

  • 4 Silver // Dec 29, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    K-9 is tracking hard in an alley north of Market near 17th.

  • 5 Silver // Dec 29, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    K-9 tracking Northwest.

  • 6 Silver // Dec 29, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Police are closing down 20th Ave NW so the dog can track across it.

  • 7 Silver // Dec 29, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Containment has been shifted North. Now as far north as NW 57th.

  • 8 Silver // Dec 29, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    K-9 still working west. Coming up on 22nd now.

  • 9 Silver // Dec 29, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    I heard an officer say that the suspect may be the same guy that was responsible for a similar pharmacy robbery up on 88th. (Not sure about the 88th part.)

  • 10 Silver // Dec 29, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    K-9 is currently tracking behind the Viking Bank.

  • 11 LYx // Dec 29, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Thanks, as always, Silver! I was wondering what all those sirens were that woke me up. I love that I can bring up MyBallard and find out.

  • 12 Silver // Dec 29, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    ;-) Thanks, LYx! They woke me up too!

  • 13 Silver // Dec 29, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Now in the Ballard Commons park at 24th and 57th.

  • 14 Silver // Dec 29, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    I can see the FOX news van from here.

    Sounds like the robbery investigation officers have arrived at Walgreens.

    K-9 ran out of trail at Ballard Commons park. Backtracking to try to pick it up.

  • 15 Silver // Dec 29, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    K-9 still unable to track any further than the Viking Bank. Construction workers in the area “May be screwing with the dog's brain.”

    They are going to track backwards towards their starting point to try to pick something up. The dog's handler says that the dog was pulling pretty hard on the track until they lost the trail, so he feels confident that they were on to something.

  • 16 Silver // Dec 29, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    “We have media on scene here at 57th and 22nd.”

  • 17 Silver // Dec 29, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Okay looks like that's it for now. I'm going back to bed to warm my feet up!

    Have a good day, all!

  • 18 Tomas // Dec 29, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Thank you for all those updates! I was wondering what was going on when I drove into work this morning around 7:15

  • 19 Tony Tee // Dec 29, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Fits the exact description of the guy who robbed Rain City and Reckless Video.

  • 20 wtc // Dec 29, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Construction workers in the area “May be screwing with the dog's brain.”

    what does this even mean? I'm sure this is verbatim from the scanner, as you've got it in quotes.

    was it the noise from construction? or were the workers actually messing around, trying to throw the dog off track (maybe by laying sausages across the robber's path or pouring some gravy on the sidewalk)??

  • 21 Susan Brown // Dec 29, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    How did you find out about this? I checked the fire calls, and did not see anything.

  • 22 Ole Clunker // Dec 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    The police radio scanner is different than the fire dept. and medic radio show.

  • 23 bluelightspecial // Dec 29, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Silver great job on the reporting of whats going on, but one friendly piece of advice, I would suggest not giving away exact locations of officers. As officers when tracking a suspect we dont like out exact location given away (I highly doubt the suspect even knows about this site, though better safe then sorry). By all means let people know we are in the area and even narrow it down to a few block area but exact locations are not a great idea, at least for now.

    As of 0930 we have not located a suspect. You'll continue to see regular beat cars in the area but we have greatly scaled back the search.

  • 24 Dasha4ballard // Dec 29, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Nice to know what is going on…but I had the same exact feeling about giving too much info out…..better to let the boyz do their job and keep some things like exact locations a miff …at least until they catch the crumb! ;)

  • 25 NoraBell // Dec 29, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    See what ya miss when you don't boot up the computer first thing?
    Thanks for the great updates, Silver!

  • 26 Edog // Dec 29, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Love that a dog makes tracking this dude possible.

  • 27 onederfullone // Dec 29, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Thanks for the update, God bless the SPD. I get the impression that this suspect has been active in the area before, I hope that he gets caught soon.
    Thanks Silver for the info, but I'd second the suggestion to keep the locations vague while the search is ongoing. Although, some of these clowns have scanners, and would be knowledgeable of the activity of police anyway.
    Any word on how the Walgreen employees are doing? Is the store open?

  • 28 fatblackcat91 // Dec 29, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    If it's being broadcast on the scanner, isn't it more likely that a suspect could have a portable one & therefore already be able to get all this info directly… or an accomplice on a cell phone listening to a scanner from home?

  • 29 bluelightspecial // Dec 29, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    While yes that is a possibility, we have rarely run into that type of situation. Numerous departments across the nation are starting to encrypt their transmissions but until we see a rise in people using using scanners for ill intentions I doubt the department will encrypt the channels.

    In certain circumstances we will switch to a “secured” channel but for everyday calls the higher ups have yet to see the need.

  • 30 fatblackcat91 // Dec 29, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks! While scanners are great for keeping up to date on what's going on in our neighborhoods (my grandma kept us up to date until she passed, then my mom took over), I've always wondered about “smart” criminals using them (if there is such a thing). It's good to know that it hasn't been a problem yet… and for the safety of officers everywhere, I hope it stays that way :)

  • 31 Silver // Dec 29, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    My thoughts on giving specific locations on the blog:

    I do share your concern about posting information that could compromise an investigation or help a suspect escape. But now that I can listen to a scanner feed on my iPhone (should I want to) it seems that there is a far higher probability that a crook would do that than whip out their laptop and log onto the forums.

    I will keep it in mind though. Believe it or not, there is a lot of stuff I specifically avoid posting. Addresses of private residences, names of individuals, etc.

    In general I think that publicizing the description of a suspect or suspect vehicle is helpful for the police, since our readers are local to the area and may be able to call 911 if they spot them.

  • 32 Ole Clunker // Dec 29, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    The suspect probably lives nearby and can quickly hide after the robbery.

  • 33 bluelightspecial // Dec 29, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    This is true but at the same time not that many suspects have realized the use of the scanner or iPhone scanner applications.

    I know you leaving a lot out but giving exact locations as to where we are working makes officers uneasy. Instead of giving the exact location, give a vague area description, something like near by cross streets, or just the name of a particular business in the area like ” Officers are near the Ballard Library” or “near the skate park.” Officer safety is extremely important as we like to go home at the end of our shifts.

    Now as for giving out suspect information, that never hurts. The public are our eyes and ears in a lot of crimes. We catch a lot of wanted people because the public spots them and calls them in.

    I would like to stress this one piece of advice to all the readers though, NEVER put yourself in any danger and NEVER approach anyone that is suspect. Call 911 and someone will come investigate.

  • 34 Ernie_98107 // Dec 29, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Silver, I agree with your last paragraph 100%.

    Whenever there is police activity in the neighborhood people immediately check myballard to see what's going on. In this kind of situation I think it is much more likely that someone would spot the perp based on this information, which would greatly help the investigation.

    I mean really, if you were a criminal planning a crime, would you rely on blog posts to track the police tracking you? That seems a little far fetched. Personally I'd just invest in a hand held scanner or the iPhone app and get the info directly, but of course I'm too smart to waste my time being a crook.

  • 35 Condo Resident // Dec 29, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Actually, that info helps me know what area to avoid. I drive 56th every morning (7:05am this morning) and there was someone on the south sidewalk dressed in all-black with a black hoodie. I thought that person looked like a very nervous woman with blonde hair (it was dark). While doing this in real-time might not be what you “like”, the details of where the dog was helped me mentally retrace my route this morning and remember the people I saw on the way to work. I also saw two guys walking med to large dogs crossing from ballard library to sterling bank. They might've seen something…

    Besides bluelightspecial, it was the location of the K-9 officer only…most citizens would assume there's a heavy police presence in the area anyways (give us credit for some brains ya know!!!). Locals like me can use that info (which wasn't THAT specific) to stay out of your way (instead of being yelled at for no reason other than using my usual morning route) or figure out if we saw anything that might be relevant. Oh, and I know where a local officer tends to park in the morning at about that time…but I'm not saying where…

    The suspect may have used the construction zone as a spot to hide out. Or have used any of the many “tight” spots between the buildings in that area to hide or to change directions…lots of hidey holes there now that I think about it.

  • 36 davidtatelman // Dec 29, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Or maybe he went to the nearest coffee shop that had Wi-Fi so he could look up myballard.com and read these postings…..LOL.

  • 37 mikiec420 // Dec 29, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    “As of 0930 we have not located a suspect. You'll continue to see regular beat cars in the area but we have greatly scaled back the search.”

    Regular beat cars??? Hahaha thats pretty funny.

  • 38 blackhook // Dec 29, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    just a general question…why wouldn't all law enforcement want to encrypt their scanner transmissions? It's obvious that, today, anyone has easy access to scanners, and sophisticated criminals at least are using them.

    so…is it strictly a matter of cost?

  • 39 Adam // Dec 30, 2009 at 1:06 am

    It's cost, a huge cost. Some Federal Agencies have encryption and sometimes local municipalities have encryption for special units. Generally if police think a bad guy might be listening in they use all codes or just use their nextels/cell phones.

  • 40 SPG // Dec 30, 2009 at 2:07 am

    I think this poster just revealed that they really aren't a member of the Seattle Police.

  • 41 Silver // Dec 30, 2009 at 2:56 am

    Adam, or anybody who knows – I considered buying a digital scanner but decided to wait a while, as they are in the neighborhood of $500 dollars right now. Do you know if “encoded” is the same thing as “digital” in this case?

    If we get to the point where SPD transmissions are sent digitally, and I am trying to receive them with a non-digital scanner, the transmissions would certainly be encoded as far as I was concerned!

  • 42 Tomas // Dec 30, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    With all due respect, I just don't see a robbery suspect in the middle of a chase sitting down with his netbook to check myballard.com to get officer and K9 locations…as one of the other posters said it's much more likely that they'd have something to listen to the actual police scanner .

    Not that I think even that scenerio is likely for a walgreens holdup with the suspect leaving on foot.

  • 43 truefacts // Dec 30, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Clothes can be removed in 10 seconds – why no mention of what race the suspect was?

  • 44 Silver // Dec 31, 2009 at 3:01 am

    Truefacts – the answer to that question is kind of interesting.

    I don't know if the original suspect description came from a victim, a witness, or from the officers reviewing the security tape (which I believe they do have.) When the dispatcher relayed the suspect's description to officers in the field, she said (among other things) that he was wearing a gray scarf around his face and that it *matched his face.* When she said that last bit she sounded puzzled. ;-)

    So my *guess* would be that either the scarf was actually more of a tan color, or the suspect has an unhealthy-looking complexion. If he was black, he wasn't very dark skinned.

    There you go. I'm probably the only one that found that interesting. ;-)

  • 45 Ole Clunker // Dec 31, 2009 at 6:56 am

    SPD Blog reports: Armed Robbery suspect arrested

    On December 29th officers arrested a 29-year-old male suspect who is responsible for at least two recent armed robberies. On December 21st the suspect robbed a pharmacy located in the 8800 block of Roosevelt Way NE. The suspect robbed another pharmacy on December 29th, this one located in the 5400 block of 15th Avenue NW. In both robberies the suspect displayed a handgun, stole prescription drugs and fled the scene on foot.

    Investigating officers interviewed the suspect and subsequently booked him into the King County Jail for Investigation of Robbery. Robbery detectives are investigating the possibility that this suspect may be involved in additional armed robberies. This remains an active and on-going robbery investigation.

  • 46 Silver // Dec 31, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Awesome! Another bad guy off the streets! Yay SPD!!

    Thanks for the info, Ole Clunker! You made my morning! ;-)

  • 47 Silver // Dec 31, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    I just noticed that the Swedes have added a story about this to the front page. Doh!

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