Arson suspect in custody, another being questioned

This morning, 46-year-old Kevin Todd Swalwell was booked into the King County Jail on investigation of arson after being taken into custody several blocks away from a warehouse fire in Shoreline last night. Swalwell has a long history of arson. According to this Seattle Times article from 1995, he has convictions both in the 1990’s and 1980’s. The Seattle Times is reporting that a second person-of-interest is also being questioned.

According to Nancy McKinney, the director of the Ballard Food Bank, Swalwell had his mail delivered there. “I actually talked to him within the last five days,” she tells us, but doesn’t know who he is. “I couldn’t pick him out of a line-up.” He is one of about 600 people to use the food bank for their mail service.

PhinneyWood has complete coverage of the arrests, the Shoreline fire and reaction from the Greenwood business community.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

74 thoughts to “Arson suspect in custody, another being questioned”

  1. I hope this is the right guy! It's no way to live wondering each morning if your house or business is still going to be standing in the morning. :(

  2. Yeah, I really hope they got this a-hole at last.
    All that extra oxygen out there is from the whole of Greenwood holding their breath.

  3. This is great news. I imagine the arsonist saw the news story last night that listed the dates and times the Greenwood community planned to walk the streets on arson partrol. Knowing they were going to be around, said arsonist probably moved on up to Shoreline.

  4. ” Swalwell's most recent mailing addresses is for the Ballard Food Bank.”

    What a surprise…..not.

    Add him to the level 3 child rapist housed at the Church and Ballard's 'Save thee Vagrants' campaign is doing wonders for the community.

  5. The Ballard Food Bank serves all sorts of people, including people just like you who, due to the economy, find themselves out of work for the first time in their working lives. We should applaud their work. Also please remember that everyone whose looks don't appeal to you isn't less worthy or a criminal.

  6. Hey, if you want to feed the pigeons, be my guest, just don't complain to me when you get a pigeon problem and they **** all over your property.

  7. The Ballard Food Bank serves needy people. They also serve criminals, and sex offenders. That isn't hyperbole, it's just plain fact. Sugar attracts insects, good ones and bad ones and it's apparent that the food bank is frequented by a lot of scum. What a neighbor.

  8. QFC, Safeway, the public library, and many other needed facilities also serve “criminals and sex offenders.” Should we close them all? How do you know who's a criminal or a sex offender? By the way they dress? Couldn't your next-door neighbor, to whom you might say hello every day, be one or the other without your knowing it?

  9. “QFC, Safeway, the public library, and many other needed facilities also serve “criminals and sex offenders.”

    Yes, but not as many by percentage so why add to the problem by busing in bums?

  10. As QFC and Sagfeway are private, the can in fact “86” bums, who are drunk, disorderly, stink, and generally do not fufill the “social contract” the rest of us have with each other.

    The Library has become the Hobo Hotel and Porn Emporium, and all of us taxpayers pay for the privilege of providing them a warm place to watch portn.

    Years ago, the food bank was called “Neigbors in Need” and it was in fact…for neighbors…and I worked as a volunteeer for a dinner program at a church. Trust me, the clientele has changed….and snce Ballard seems to have embarked on a “Save the Vagrant” prpgram, as someone else wrote, the rights of the rest of us have taken second place to the rights and desires of the vagrants/drug addicts/drunks/criminals.

    I'm sure that there are plenty of people who use the food bank who aren't bums….but we've attracted a whole population of vagranats here, now, good luck trying to get rid of them. (unelss we enact the same panhandling laws that they did in Tacoma…that wuold get rid of a lot of miscreants.)

  11. I'm a neighbor, I'm well aware of the food bank's clientele. I also know that the food bank has its own “social contract” and will likewise refuse to serve anyone who's disorderly. Just because some people look like your definition of a “bum,” doesn't mean they are “vagrants/drug addicts/drunks/criminals.”

  12. True fact: Ted Bundy volunteered for a rape crisis line in Seattle back in the day. Does that mean that the rape crisis line was a terrible service that attracted serial killers?

  13. Do a little research before you throw around those accusations about the Ballard Food Bank. For one thing, they only help residents in Ballard. For another, their clientelle is not “mostly criminals and sex offenders”. Come back and have this discussion after you've spent some actual time there talking with the staff and going over the actual numbers of who they help. Right now you just sound like a reactionary blow-hard.

  14. Disorderly , where, in there line? That's not where I'm worried about disorderly bums, it's all over the rest of Ballard that's the problem. I'm sure even the wildest bum can keep his **** for a free square.

    How about only feeding people FROM Ballard at the food bank?

  15. Can we call the cops on the bums watching porn in the library? Isn't that kind of like indecent exposure? There's got to be a decency law for that…

    And Sidran's trying to get an aggressive panhandling law passed this month- but the Real Change CEO is lobbying hard against it. So it's most likely not going to pass. Seattle might as well roll out the welcome mat for losers.

  16. So………
    It's the food bank's fault? The Ballard food bank doesn't encourage arson. And there are many non-arsonists glad the food bank is there.

  17. Yep. There have also been several murderers who attended UW – should we shut that down too? Several homeowners have also committed violent crimes – should we ban home ownership? Let's also not forget the 40,000+ people violently killed by cars each year (more than guns, arson, Al Qaeda, pit bulls, swine flu and the Taliban COMBINED, BTW) – should we ban cars?

    2 criminals out of the thousands served by the food bank isn't that much – probably no worse than the rest of society.

  18. I hope someday you're unemployed and unable to buy food. Maybe then you'll pull your head out of your ass and stop being an insensitive douchebag!

    Not everyone who uses the foodbank is a bum. One of the families on my street rely on the foodbank because they're both unemployed (through no fault of their own) and have a child. Unemployment doesn't cover their mortgage and grocery bills.

  19. Really? Can you please present your proof or are you just pulling this out of your ass? Where are you getting your “facts” from? Please enlighten us, oh wise one!

  20. Swalwell may be the person who tried to burn down a building in the historic Ballard district in July. The police arson squad investigated the arson. I helped put the fire out. However, police and My Ballard did not report news of the attempt to destroy one of Ballard's most important buildings. Had they done so, we might have captured this person long before the destruction spiraled out of control.

  21. …and the rest of them are drunks, addicts, thieves, sex offenders, etc,
    I'm kidding, but only kind of really as the vagrants are generally a lousy bunch when it comes to ethics and morals. Some of it has to do with surviving in that situation but more often it's the person's choices that put them there.

  22. Just a theory here and I'm NOT saying I feel sorry for the guy, but I had the feeling he was out to be caught and now it makes more sense to me. He’s been in prison for 12 of the last 26 years, a transient whose mailing address is the Ballard Food Bank, a “three strikes and you’re out” mandatory life sentence… Perhaps, for him, life imprisonment (or even in a mental institution) is just a more comfortable, more predictable existence than life on the street?? Yes, yes, I'm sure he got off on seeing the big blazes too, but perhaps there's a little more to it??

  23. How is it they only help residents of Ballard if they accept mail for 600 people? I highly doubt all 600 of those folks lived in Ballard before they started accepted services at the Ballard Food Bank.

  24. Hey Christophe, yer not going anywhere here with your thoughts. Not in Berkley North. Too many feelings. Too many chiefs. Too many freaking bleeding hearts. “If you're not part of any solution you're part of THE problem”. I too am sick and tired of seeing bums get stuff where people “in need” get shorted or miss out. They'll rationalize just about anything that makes 'em feel good. Sober for almost 8 years, I know about enabling. I knew this guy too was an abuser. Time for many here to find the “real needy” and help them help themselves. How's that hope/change working for ya all!

  25. I disagree with Christophe entirely but these ad absurdum arguments (should we close the supermarkets then? The streets? The preschools? Paseo? etc) are attacking his lack of nuance, not the substance of what he is trying to say.

    Seaspider, I think, best (and preemptively) gets back at the substance Christophe took several hours to articulate outright:

    “2 criminals out of the thousands served by the food bank isn't that much – probably no worse than the rest of society.”

    I'd venture that for various reasons (poverty impels crime, sociopaths for various reasons tend to be or hide among the homeless/poor, etc) the population served by the foodbank has a *slightly* higher percentage of “criminals” than society at large, but that this is far, far outweighed by the service it provides to good people in need.

    Of course the foodbank shouldn't be scapegoated for the fires. It is a service that should be supported by the community.

  26. That is a terrific theory drake58. When you invent the magic comb that does this kind of instant sorting in reality please let us know. Until then we'd better shut that bad old foodbank down.

    I'm sick of the “bleeding heart” slur being thown around indiscriminately. There is a difference between blind sympathy and knowing that because there are not perfect solutions is not a reason to give the less fortunate a hearty FU.

  27. If you actually WENT to the foodbank to find out who they help a lot of the people they help lost their jobs and can't afford to pay the mortgage and feed a whole family on unemployment. Many are elderly and their medicare won't cover their medication so they pay for that and not for food. Some were doing great until the primary caregiver got cancer, couldn't pay the 20% the insurance wouldn't pay on their six figure+ healthcare bill, along with not being able to work.

    But then I guess it's pretty easy to call these people bums and be a troll when you're hiding behind the anonymity of the internet. And probably from the sounds of it can rely on your hefty trust fund to get you through.

  28. Don't blame the Ballard Food Bank for that. They help thousands of people and have been around since I believe the 1950's. Maybe it was the 1940's. If someone comes to the foodbank from out of town or another part of town they may give them food once, but they send them to another food bank because they are already over-stressed by helping our neighbors here in Ballard.

    You know, I'm starting to think you're a troll who doesn't even live in Ballard and I wouldn't even respond to you except the misinformation you are spreading needs to be corrected.

  29. Once again, go to the food bank and find out who they serve. You're slandering a hard-working non-profit that helps thousands of good people in Ballard every month with food. Go ask about your programs and if you get all the truthful information and are still enraged then make it public. Just pulling it out of your *ss makes you look stupid and spreads disinformation.

  30. BM, I think that Christophe was trying to say that there's a difference between our neighbors who need some help and the vagrants who enjoy drinking all day on the street.

  31. Convicts tend to have a hard time getting decent work (unless you're on Wall Street) and therefore will wind up being poorer on average. In todays job market are you going to hire the just released level III sex offender, the addicted thief, or the college grad?
    Makes sense to me.

  32. It's interesting that you make it a point to mention he was a food bank client. If he had been a business or condo owner, would you stress that he shopped at Safeway?

  33. Apparently this guy set a lot of fires to cover up his crimes, or botched crimes. Somehow I doubt that he was ever just a hard-working person down on his luck.

    I am curious about sometihng…IF we closed all the shelters and IF we got the city to pass ordinances prohibiting panhandling, (like Tacoma did) I wonder just how many people would in fact be using the Ballard food bank…besides the elderly, and people who are just temporarily out of work and need a little food assistance? Instead of all the vagrants we seem to have atttacted here with all of our “programs.” My bet is that usage would drop dramatically.

  34. Well, he's not saying it very well. I understand that difference, you understand that difference. Ballardmom understands that difference. I'm not getting that Christophe does.

  35. I guess you don't speak fluent Douchebag then, I'll keep on translating for you.
    just kidding Christophe! I don't think the tone comes across well on the internets and add in some frustration and it starts to sound really bad.

  36. Lets get our minds out of the gutter and imagine some homeless people are still regular people like you and me. With the economy being what it is, some of us may be rubbing elbows with those porn-searching, job-searching folks at the library. I know people right now who have to choose between paying rent and being on the internet and they are now going to the libary to access the internet. Being homeless or without an internet connecton, the library may be their only way to connect with family and friends and apply for jobs. Lets be a bit more understanding of people in these tough times. All of those folks are not bad and once again the topic always gets swayed here…Hopefully, we'll get back to Kevin Swalwell and lets all hope he is the person responsible for all or at least most of the arsons.I know he has admitted to some of them. It would be great to move on. However I still think block watches and neighborhod patrols are something that should always be in place….Afterall..Seattle is a BIG city.

  37. okay sure but in grand scale the vast majority of cause flows the other way.

    And who ends up in prison in the first place? Almost exclusive people who were poor to start with …

  38. Hey the Dead Kennedies wrote a song that mirrors your sentiment. Like minds think alike?

    “Kill The Poor”

    Efficiency and progress is ours once more
    Now that we have the Neutron bomb
    It's nice and quick and clean and gets things done
    Away with excess enemy
    But no less value to property
    No sense in war but perfect sense at home:

    The sun beams down on a brand new day
    No more welfare tax to pay
    Unsightly slums gone up in flashing light
    Jobless millions whisked away
    At last we have more room to play
    All systems go to kill the poor tonight

    Kill kill kill kill Kill the poor:Tonight

    Behold the sparkle of champagne
    The crime rate's gone
    Feel free again
    O' life's a dream with you, Miss Lily White
    Jane Fonda on the screen today
    Convinced the liberals it's okay
    So let's get dressed and dance away the night

    While they:
    Kill kill kill kill Kill the poor:Tonight

  39. “And who ends up in prison in the first place? Almost exclusive people who were poor to start with …”

    …and ignorant and ethically challenged. It takes more than being poor to wind up in prison, though being wealthy will do wonders at keeping you out.

  40. In this economy and with his record… = nowhere and another cold winter on the street.
    Sadly we don't have more programs to help people get back on their feet after being homeless or imprisoned. Not to say that would have helped in this situation, but if there were more programs to help people re-enter society, seems to me we'd have less homeless.
    I think we have identified a problem on this blog, i.e. the homeless in Ballard, but so far all anyone can come up for a solution is make the homeless go away. I think it might be time for a more progressive approach as your wish it away policy doesn't seemto be working.

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