Updated: A woman was raped inside the bathroom at Carter Volkswagen on Leary Way on Monday morning, according to court documents.
The 40-year-old woman had taken her car in for service just after 7 a.m. After getting some coffee, she went to the restroom, which is in a temporary area due to ongoing construction.
After following her into the women’s bathroom, a homeless man forced open the stall door despite the woman’s best efforts to hold it closed, according to the documents.
After hearing the commotion, employees ran to the bathroom, but the door was locked. According to the probable cause documents, the suspect admitted to locking the door after he walked in.
“They got the door open and a few employees came to her aid,” said Jennifer Moran, executive manager at Carter Volkswagen. “They detained him until police arrived.” A customer also helped detain the man.
The suspect was identified by KOMO News and Q13 as Christopher Edward Teel. Court documents say he admitted to the rape and was “resisting, aggressive and non-compliant” with officers. His address listed in the police report is “99999 Homeless St. Seattle.”
Teel is shown on King County Jail records as being booked for charges of rape, assault and unlawful imprisonment. He also shows a prior arrest for trespassing in a home in Magnolia.
A November story in the Seattle Times shows photos of a “Chris Teel” as a resident of Ballard Nickelsville. The man is shown getting ready for the move to the Northlake Nickelsville camp.
The woman was taken to Ballard Swedish Hospital.
“We’re shaken,” Moran told My Ballard, who says her thoughts are with the victim. “The effects on all the employees are no where near what this customer was assaulted is experiencing. There’s a widespread concern about her.”
Moran said she’s also concerned about the rising homelessness and crime in the neighborhood.
“We’re a company that’s been around since the 1960s, and nothing like this has happened,” she said. “We used to not see tents on the sidewalks, or part of the sidewalk, even a couple years ago. And now we do. We see an increased number of vehicles that people are living in. The challenge that creates — not all of them are bad and criminal, but some of them are. And we’re trying to navigate through that as employees and a business here in Ballard.”
It looks like the first tip about Monday morning’s rape — which occurred several hours before the head tax vote — appeared on the Safe Seattle Facebook page Tuesday evening. The first media reports appeared this morning.
Seattle Police has yet to post details about the crime online, as it typically does for newsworthy events. We have reached out to SPD, which has yet to respond.
“Ballard is such a great community,” Moran said. “I sure hope that something gets figured out and something changes, because what’s going on isn’t working and getting worse and it’s affecting us greatly.”
Monday’s rape is the latest in a series of crimes in the Leary Way area of Ballard. Last month a man was shot and killed just two blocks away from Carter Volkswagen. A week before that, a man was found murdered in a camper on 15th Ave. near the bridge. In November on Leary Way, a man was set on fire and critically injured.
Last year a sex offender was arrested for attempting to rape a woman in the Golden Garden’s restroom. He was sentenced in March.
(File photo from Google Maps)