International fraud alert

Bellevue Police are seeing an increase in fraud, theft, and ID theft cases involving people claiming to be Chinese government or law enforcement officials. The suspects contact the victim, claim they are in trouble and must pay money to fix the problem, even threaten that they may be arrested or deported. The scams take many forms, wiring money, purchasing and electronically sending gift cards, or telling someone to withdraw cash and hand it over. 

Fraudulent credentials

In one case, the suspects cloned phone numbers from a local cell phone company and even sent the victim “official-looking” credentials, which prompted the victim to believe it was real. These are scams! Victims are losing tens of thousands of dollars to these frauds.

Please do not reply or cooperate with anyone claiming to be an overseas official asking you for money. If you don’t know them, don’t trust them. Instead, call your local police department, and they will check it out. It is better to take the time to verify than to be out thousands of dollars.

Celebrate Black History Month

Black history is American history. It is more than simply a month to remember the too often-neglected accomplishments of Black Americans. During Black History Month, we should all be reminded to continuously recognize the incredible contributions made and tremendous struggles overcome by Black Americans throughout our nation’s history.

The Bellevue Police Department works diligently to create a space for intentional learning and authentic understanding. The African American Advisory Council and the Bellevue Police Department value their partnership and look forward to continued growth as we work together to make meaningful changes in our community.

Chief Shirley appointed CALEA Commissioner

Chief Wendell Shirley

We are pleased to announce the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) has appointed Bellevue Police Chief Wendell Shirley to its Board of Commissioners. CALEA accreditation is the gold standard in public safety. The Bellevue Police Department has received its CALEA accreditation six times since 2005. CALEA accredits only about five percent of all law enforcement agencies in the country.  

A CALEA seal confirms an agency’s voluntary commitment to the pursuit of excellence by meeting an established set of professional standards through annual reviews and achieving other assessment measures. A CALEA accreditation is the “Mark of Professional Excellence” for today’s public safety agencies. 

Chief Shirley will assist the CALEA commission with reviewing agency applications for accreditation, provide policy guidance for Commission operations and further promote this high standard of excellence in law enforcement.

“I am honored to have been selected to serve with the CALEA Commission,” said Chief Shirley. “This is an opportunity to help guide other agencies to achieve the CALEA level of excellence and maintain our department’s commitment to exceptional public service.”

The Bellevue Police Department will partner with the Northwest Police Accreditation Coalition (NWPAC) to host the CALEA Conference this fall, November 8-11, 2023, in downtown Bellevue.    

Dangerous robbery crew arrested

Three prolific robbery suspects have been arrested and charged in a series of violent crimes throughout King County. The two-month-long crime spree began October 12 when Daniel Recinos, Cesar Sandoval, and Ricardo Valencia-Alvarez began using vehicles they stole during violent carjackings and kidnappings to commit armed robberies at gas stations and convenience stores. These crimes occurred throughout King County, including Bellevue, Burien, Kent, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Redmond, and Seattle. The trio allegedly threatened the clerks with pistols and even fired a shot inside the Renton business.

“These three suspects are charged with violently robbing multiple businesses without regard for the employees they traumatized,” stated Captain Shelby Shearer. “We appreciate our partners in the Seattle Police Department and King County Sheriff’s Office who worked closely with us to ensure these dangerous individuals were taken off the streets.”

During the investigation, detectives uncovered evidence of the suspects bragging about the robberies. Working with Seattle Police, the King County Sheriff’s Department, and other affected agencies, investigators were able to identify and arrest all three suspects. Investigators with multiple agencies served warrants at Recinos’ apartment in Bellevue, Sandoval’s home in Seattle, and Valencia-Alvarez’ apartment in Auburn. Detectives recovered pistols used during the robberies, stolen property, and other evidence tying the suspects to the crimes.

Racinos is charged with five counts of First-Degree Robbery, one count of First-Degree Kidnapping, and two counts of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm. He’s in jail on $1 million bail. Valencia-Alvarez is charged with seven counts of First-Degree Robbery and is in jail on $750,000 bail. Sandoval is charged with nine counts of First-Degree Robbery and is in jail on $1 million bail.

Case # 22-57117

Storage locker theft alert

There has been an increase in storage locker thefts, including in public storage facilities and storage at apartment complexes. As a result, Bellevue police urge you to use caution and not store valuable personal or sentimental items in these lockers.

There are some precautions you can take, such as keeping an inventory of all items in storage. Also, keep a list of serial numbers and photograph your belongings. Never share your access or key code, and make sure you have a high-quality lock. 

Additionally, ask if the facility has video cameras, then find out where they are located and if they are monitored. It’s also important to verify that the access gates are protected for employee and customer-only access. Plus, ensure there is adequate lighting around the property.

These simple steps can help prevent you from becoming a victim.

Four teens in custody following an armed carjacking and pursuit

Bellevue police arrested a 13-year-old and three 15-year-old males and recovered two vehicles following an armed carjacking in Renton. A Seattle police captain notified Bellevue police at about 9:30 am that they were following a stolen car in the Phantom Lake area of Bellevue. The SPD captain attempted to stop the vehicle, and when the driver refused to stop, they did not pursue it.

KC Sheriff Air Support Video
Stolen Hyundai Elantra

As Bellevue officers were responding to assist, they located the stolen Hyundai Elantra, which had been abandoned. Moments later, a resident called, reporting a suspicious person in their backyard. Officers contacted the suspect, a 12-year-old male, and determined he was connected to the stolen car and arrested him.

Other officers on scene noticed another vehicle, a Dodge Charger, that had been involved in an armed carjacking in Renton earlier in the morning. There were three 14-year-old suspects inside. Officers attempted to stop that car, but that driver fled. The officer pursued the vehicle because the driver was suspected of having been involved in a violent felony.

The driver drove through Bellevue to West Lake Sammamish Parkway and eventually up Lakemont Blvd., where two of three suspects fled into the woods in the Coal Creek Trail system. One of the suspects remained in the car and was immediately arrested. The other two ran and attempted to hide in the woods.

King County’s Guardian One helicopter assisted Bellevue Police in following the suspects during the pursuit and as they fled onto the Coal Creek Trail.

Once enough officers arrived to secure the scene, the suspects were warned twice to give up. They eventually surrendered without incident. There were no injuries to the officers or the suspects.

For information about the armed carjacking, please contact the Renton Police Department.

We appreciate the support of the King County Sheriff’s Department’s Guardian One, Seattle Police, Issaquah Police and the Washington State Patrol.

Case # 23-1717      

Shooting investigation

Just after 6:00 pm this evening, an officer approached a vehicle with no license plates in a parking lot in the 300 Blk 120th Ave NE. During the interaction, the officer fired his weapon. A sergeant in another patrol car also struck the suspect’s vehicle. The female driver fled the scene. Officers attempted to pursue the vehicle but stopped because the suspect was driving recklessly. There are no known injuries.

As is routine, both the officer and the sergeant have been placed on administrative leave. Kirkland police are investigating this incident and will provide any additional information.  

Sharp increase in DUI arrests

Bellevue police officers have arrested 236 drivers for Driving Under the Influence of drugs or alcohol from January through November 2022. That is a 36% increase in DUI arrests compared to last year and a 71% increase from the pre-pandemic arrests in 2019. With extra DUI patrols scheduled through the end of the year, that number will climb.

DUI Arrests January – November

“Most of these arrests stem from officers who witnessed erratic driving and pulled the drivers over for traffic violations,” said Major Dave Sanabria. “The arrests very easily could have prevented a tragic collision.” Of the DUI arrests in 2022, 30% involved collisions, and 90% occurred at night.

Bellevue police officers will be participating in high-visibility DUI emphasis patrols through the end of the year. So far in December, officers have arrested 13 additional drivers for DUI.

“We want everyone to get home safely to their loved ones,” Sanabria added. “Unfortunately, more than 50% of traffic fatalities involve impaired drivers, and those deaths are completely preventable.”

The best thing you can do if you plan to celebrate over the holidays is to make sure you have a plan.  Either designate a driver or line up a rideshare to make sure you get home safely.

The increase in DUI arrests is due partly to the department’s participation in the King County Target Zero DUI Emphasis Patrols and the anti-crime initiative Bellevue police launched earlier this year. The anti-crime initiative focuses on targeted operations in area hotspots where thefts and criminal activity is on the rise. The anti-crime initiative includes high-visibility patrols to combat collision-causing violations like DUIs.

Increased holiday patrols to continue

Foot patrols at Bellevue Square

More Bellevue police officers will be out as you finish shopping and enjoying Bellevue this holiday season. Bellevue police have increased patrols in high-volume shopping areas; they’re on foot at the malls and stores and in cars patrolling parking garages and congested areas.

“Throughout the holiday season, we want everyone coming to Bellevue, whether it’s to shop, enjoy Snowflake Lane, or dine out, to know that we are committed to ensuring your safety and security while you’re here,” said Captain Landon Barnwell.

Barnwell stated that the high-visibility patrols are designed to not only be a crime deterrent but also to reduce the fear of crime for people enjoying all that Bellevue has to offer. “Community members are very concerned about the reports of crime they hear about on the news, and that’s perfectly understandable,” Barnwell added. “To help everyone feel safer, we are putting more officers in those high-volume areas. We encourage people to come here and be confident that the Bellevue Police Department takes their safety seriously.” 

You are encouraged to take safety precautions, such as not leaving your bags, purses, or wallets unattended while you shop or dine out. Also, never leave packages visible in your cars, and don’t bring bags out to your car in the garage as thieve frequently monitor parking areas. And always be aware of your surroundings. Finally, if you see something suspicious, say something.

The extra patrols will continue through the end of the year. 

Threat suspect held on $1,000,000 bail

The 18-year-old suspected of making threats against Sammamish High School remains in custody on $1,000,000 bail. The King County Prosecutor’s Office charged Isaiah Foster with Felony Harassment and Felony Cyber Harassment in court today. Foster allegedly threatened to kill a student at Sammamish High School. The student received the threat while at school on Friday, December 9, and reported it to school officials. Foster was arrested at his Seattle home less than three hours after the initial report.

Multiple Bellevue police officers responded immediately, secured the building and remained there throughout the day. Officers also provided patrols at the other Bellevue high schools as a precautionary measure.

“We understand the fear this incident caused for not only the students and faculty at Sammamish High School but the community at large,” said Chief Wendell Shirley. “We are committed to working with the Bellevue School District to ensure a safe learning environment for everyone.”

Foster’s next court appearance will be his arraignment on December 22, where he will enter an initial plea.