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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 1, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 5
Armed robbers target Capitol Hill
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Armed robbers target Capitol Hill

SPD makes two arrests, says one man used sex as a lure

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Seattle police announced over the weekend that they had captured the man who has been 'terrorizing' residents in a series of armed street robberies stretching from Capitol Hill to Madison Valley to the University District. In addition, SPD officials also arrested a man who they allege lured his Central District and Capitol Hill victims with a Craigslist sex ad, and then robbed and beat them.

'SILVER PISTOL' ROBBER
'The suspect terrorizing Capitol Hill residents was arrested last night,' SPD officials said in a brief sent to local media Monday morning.

Police said the suspect may have robbed up to five Capitol Hill residents.

The most recent mugging happened January 18. Police say a man called 911 to report his mother had been held up at gunpoint and had her purse taken on the street near 27th Avenue and Thomas Street.

The suspect was described as a Black male in his 20s, wearing a long black jacket and brandishing a silver pistol.

According to radio dispatches, the victim said the suspect chambered a round as he threatened her during the course of the robbery.

It was the third holdup in the area this month. Local neighborhood blog Capitol Hill Seattle (CHS) has reported on a suspect threatening his victims with a silver pistol.

On Sunday, patrol officers spotted the 19-year-old suspect near Mount Baker and chased after him on foot. Officers were able to catch up to him, arrest him, and book him into the King County Jail for robbery.

Officers also found a handgun not far from where they arrested the man.

CHS also reported on a gunpoint holdup near 21st Avenue and John Street Monday afternoon, and a woman told police she had a gun held to her head in a robbery at 21st and Mercer on Thursday, January 10.

The King County Prosecutor has identified the man charged in connection with the string of Capitol Hill stickups as Tamir Thomas, for his part in a North Seattle home-invasion style robbery. Hezekiah Greene, 20, is charged along with Thomas in the first-degree robbery case.

There are no charges yet related to the string of armed robberies around Capitol Hill.

Greene was convicted last year of first-degree residential burglary for a South Seattle break-in. He was sentenced to six months. The felony conviction also means the 20-year-old is ineligible to possess a firearm.

SPD officials were able to make the arrests because concerned citizens called in saying they had seen the criminal.

SEX AS THE BAIT
Police have also arrested David Hansen, 25, who is suspected of using sex as the bait in a string of robberies, including an early January incident in which he allegedly pulled a gun and mugged two victims in an East Howell Street apartment.

Hansen was taken into custody by SPD Friday night outside an Aurora motel after 'information was received' that the suspect was staying there. Tuesday night, Hansen escaped capture after an arrest attempt in the Central District.

Hansen is a suspect in a November case in which a man reported he met Hansen for sex but was brutally beaten and robbed.

Following the Central District arrest attempt, SPD provided Hansen's photo and asked for assistance in tracking him down.

Last week, after reading about Hansen, police say another possible victim came forward to say they had been involved in a Gay sex social networking app, Hookup with Hansen, only to become another of his victims.

The victim told police he and another man were robbed by a person matching Hansen's description inside their East Howell Street apartment.

According to state records, Hansen was busted in 2009 for second-degree escape after he failed to report back to his work-release program following convictions for residential burglary. He was sentenced to a year in jail but we don't have information on how much time he served. A King County Jail record indicates he was arrested earlier this month and spent a day locked up on an apparent Department of Corrections violation.

DRAG QUEEN ROBBED
Local drag personality Fraya Love was robbed at gunpoint last week, in broad daylight, on Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood.

'I wasn't harmed, thank God,' Fraya Love told Seattle Gay News.

The day started off normal enough for Fraya. There was nothing out of the ordinary. Fraya went to run errands and, upon returning to her apartment, normalcy left the equation. About 10 feet from her doorstep, a man she had noticed crossing the street asked her for the time.

'I was still walking when I pulled out my phone and informed him it was 5:25 p.m. and, never stopping, continued to walk up the stoop of my building,' recalled Fraya Love. 'I pulled out my keys to unlock my front door and all of the sudden I heard someone walk up the steps behind me.'

Fraya Love said an African-American male in his mid-20s said, 'I'm not playing around, give me your phone.' 'I turned about to say 'No!' and saw that he had a gun in his right hand hugging his hip, pointed at me,' said Fraya Love. 'Then he said, again, 'I'm not playing, give me your phone.'

Fraya said she hesitated for a second, and then finally relinquished the phone. He quickly turned around and began to leave. Again, Fraya Love attempted to go into the building where she lives when the criminal returned and demanded Fraya's wallet.

'I quickly, and half-annoyed, showed him there was no money in my wallet,' she said. 'Then finally, this time, he vanished.'

Without hesitation, Fraya says, she burst through the front door, locked it behind her, ran to her roommate, and used his phone to call 911.

PRAISES SPD RESPONSE
Fraya says SPD took 'no time to get to me after I had called.'

'In fact they were there within minutes,' said Fraya. 'They made me feel very comfortable and confident that they were on an immediate search for the culprit.'

When asked if she was possibly targeted because she was perceived as Gay, Fraya said, 'No, it had nothing to do with my being perceived as a homosexual. Just wrong place, wrong time.'

'What I would have done differently is told him to fuck off when he asked for the time,' said Fraya Love. 'Other than that, nope.'

'Next time a stranger asks for the time, tell them to fuck off,' Fraya said, half-jokingly.

'I filled out the police report because it was my duty as a citizen and to do all I can to keep this from happening to someone else,' she said. 'Also to keep people like him off of these streets.'

Because Fraya Love filled out a report and, due to the news reports about the rise in crime, the perpetrator was apprehended by police.

'WRONG NIGHT TO STEAL'
Janson Holloway is a hero to drag queens everywhere. Okay maybe that is an exaggeration, but I can say with a good amount of certainty that he is a hero to Gaysha Starr, at the very least.

On Saturday, at Neighbours Seattle, Holloway was working as a bartender. Gaysha was celebrating her birthday and 20 years as a drag queen. Much like the situation that Fraya Love found herself in, there was nothing out of the ordinary for Holloway and Gaysha Starr.

But, said Holloway, 'As I was pulling out my cash drawer at the end of my shift [about 2:30 a.m.], when I looked over to the end of the bar by the exit. Aleksa Manila was sitting behind Geisha Starr, who was currently holding a conversation with a gentleman. Both were facing the dance floor with backs to the bar.'

A man about 5-feet-9 and in his mid 20s, with black hair, a beard, and a huskier build, slipped behind Aleksa while both were distracted from their clutches lying on the counter.

'I watched the man reach across slowly and grab Gaysha's phone off of her clutch,' he recalled. 'I at first thought he was a friend but then I noticed him starting to back towards the exit. I yelled at him to drop the phone, but he turned and ran. I slid my cash drawer down in front of Aleksa, as I knew she is a trusted employee in good standing with the club, and told her to hold it, and I jumped the bar after the man.'

Holloway gave chase down the alley, up Pike Street, and across Broadway.

'I yelled that if he dropped the phone, I'd stop chasing,' he said, realizing that the suspect was bigger than he was, and he didn't know if anyone was coming to back him up. 'He did, and I returned the phone to Miss Starr.'

THEFT ALSO INCREASING
This isn't the first time something like this has happened. Along with the rise in violent crime, petty crime has also begun to rise as well. In fact, Aleksa Manila had her phone stolen the week before.

'We activated the GPS locator, and found the person who had taken it caught onto what we were doing,' says Holloway. 'They gave it to a homeless person to try to ditch it, we suspect, but it was recovered.'

Holloway says he believes that thieves are the lowest of the low. 'I don't care if you're doing it to feel, I don't care if you're doing it to survive, I don't care if you are doing it to just see if you can ... When you steal from someone, I want you think of it this way: Instead of a stranger, replace their face with someone that you care about the most in your life, and then try to go through with stealing from them,' he said. Or ask yourself 'how they would feel if they'd been stolen from.'

He recommends to customers, 'Keep items close to you. Just as you'd keep your eye on your drink, not to be slipped something, you need to be careful of what you do with your things.'

Throughout the ordeal, Holloway admits he did not think of his own personal safety. Instead, he says he thought about 'community first.'

'It doesn't matter how many times you've been to a bar or club or who knows you there, or how many of the employees you know ... there are new people who filter in and out of places all the time,' he said. ' Most are harmless, but some have other motives. You never know what someone is thinking or planning, so be on your guard and protect yourself. More so, keep an eye out for those around you. Next time, they might be more inclined to keep an eye out for you or someone close to you.'

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