Police suspect turns informant, thwarts a burglary

July 30, 2008

By David Hayes

Craig Walker is grateful for the fine police work practiced in Sammamish. Acting on a tip from the interrogation of a petty, neighborhood criminal, Walker was able to protect his computer repair shop from a planned break-in targeting his high tech electronics.

“When you get a tip like this, it’s not a matter of if the break in will happen, but when,” he said.
Walker is the owner of Plateau Computer in the Klahanie Shopping Center.

In early July, Sammamish police apprehended an offender known for neighborhood car break-ins. Because the suspect had drugs on him at the time of his arrest, detective Bill Albright said he was looking to make a deal.

The suspect was a typical informant, he said, looking to get out of a more severe charge.

“He had information of some others planning to break into Plateau Computer for the laptops,” Albright said. “I wasn’t surprised about this information he gave up. We do get information from time to time that becomes fruitful.”

Walker, by contrast, was surprised, even a little shaken, as his store had never been targeted before.

“I was a little scared. My wife was scared. We have a little 18-month-old at home. This is my livelihood. It really made me feel vulnerable,” Walker said.

So, he heeded the advice and purchased a hefty safe for storing his more valuable high-end equipment.

He’d already been in the habit of taking home some of the most expensive items overnight. Now, he was doubly secure.

Sure enough, at about 4:20 a.m. July 22, someone did use a crowbar to break through his back door.
Fortunately, all the potential burglars found was an empty shop.

Unfortunately, the break-in did set him back $1,400 to replace the damaged steel door.

Albright said Walker’s store was the only one targeted in the area. He added that no suspects were caught, but he is awaiting lab results on fingerprints lifted from the scene.

“I think he was very prudent to listen to our advice,” Albright said. “It worked out pretty well.”

Thanks to the incident, Walker plans to better fortify his store against future break-ins.

In addition to installing a new steel door in back, he added a panic bar to help make it more impenetrable.
“A bulldozer couldn’t knock down this door now, the way it’s set up,” he said.

The store also has double-paned windows and a motion detector. But, Walker said, some criminals who are determined to break in, probably will. To get an edge on them, he’s working on a new surveillance system where the security camera footage records its images directly onto a Web site, so there is no tape to steal. 

“This is just something to learn from,” Walker said. “We’re fortunate to have a guy on the police force who got some information from a common thug.”

Reach Reporter David Hayes at 392-6434, ext. 237, or dhayes@isspress.com.

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