By Chris Hendrickson, Contributing writer
Even as the Sultan community was aghast to learn that the mayor’s home was burglarized twice in three days last week, thieves brazenly returned to the residence of Sultan Mayor Carolyn Eslick a third time. Mayor Eslick described the sequence of events at Sultan City Hall during Thursday’s city council meeting.
It began on Sunday night, Feb. 23, when thieves broke into the mayor’s vehicle, which was parked at her residence. Monday morning, at approximately 10 a.m., the mayor discovered her car ransacked, with several items missing, including a digital notepad and a wireless router. She immediately reported the theft to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office who came and took a report.
Then, Tuesday morning at approximately 10:45 a.m., she left with her husband for an appointment. When they returned home at around 12:45 p.m., they discovered the front door unsecured, and upon entering the residence, found the living room in complete disarray. Her computer, a 17-inch Acer brand laptop that had been on the couch, was gone. As the mayor proceeded upstairs, she discovered her bedroom had been ransacked, as well.
All of her jewelry was missing.
“They took the pillowcase off the pillow and dumped my jewelry drawer into the pillow case,” said Eslick.
Again, the mayor called the police, who arrived very shortly thereafter, and took another report. There were no signs of forced entry and it is believed that the thieves, when they ransacked her vehicle on Sunday, had discovered a spare house key.
The mayor and her husband eventually left for an errand later on in the afternoon, never even considering the possibility that the thieves would return a third time.
“We left, and when we got home early that evening, they had been back,” said Mayor Eslick. “They came in and got my TV from my bedroom.”
She discovered that the thieves had taken other items, as well, including a brand new blanket that she had recently purchased for her husband.
“So what did I do wrong? (I) left my car unlocked, and stuff in the car that I didn’t want to give away,” said Eslick. “That’s the first thing that Monte (Chief Beaton) says at all of our Block Watch meetings; don’t leave anything in your car that you’re not giving away. I didn’t lock my car, so they didn’t break a window. Would they have? I don’t know.”
The mayor cautioned council and members of the audience to stay vigilant; to lock their homes and their vehicles and to always call 911 if they notice anything alarming or out-of-place.
“It’s frustrating and I’m just saying to you guys; I am smarter today than I was a week ago,” said Eslick.
The recent burglaries were also discussed during Friday’s Coffee with the Mayor event, which is held every Friday at 9 a.m. at Galaxy Chocolates in Sultan. Sultan Police Chief Lt. Monte Beaton outlined several precautionary tactics that can be used to avoid becoming a victim of burglary including always locking your doors and installing bright, motion-sensitive security lighting outside of your residence.
“If you can afford an alarm system, they work,” said Chief Beaton. “You need an audible alarm system.”
He also explained the importance of tracking all items of value with model numbers, descriptions, brand names, an appraisal of the item’s value, and most importantly, serial numbers. He said that without this information, the items cannot be properly logged and tracked in law enforcement’s stolen property databases. This information is absolutely critical so that when the police locate stolen property, they are able to return it to its rightful owner.
This important serial number information should not be kept on a home computer, in case that computer is one of the items stolen.
He also said to avoid common hiding places like underneath beds, pillows, or in closets and dresser drawers.
Chief Beaton strongly advocated for citizens to reach out to their neighbors and to try and find ways to work together to keep neighborhoods safer. Citizens can participate in programs like Sultan’s Block Watch; a program dedicated to developing relationships within the community so that citizens can work together in an effort to strategize against criminal activity in the area.
Sultan resident Susie Hollenbeck is member of Block Watch.
“Lock your doors and windows; illuminate those dark spots,” said Hollenbeck. “Learn to be aware of things that don’t belong.”
Hollenbeck said that they, as citizens, need to do everything possible to make things difficult for potential thieves.
“So many good people have been the victims of these burglaries,” said Hollenbeck. “We really need to step up and help law enforcement catch these guys.”
Most importantly, said Chief Beaton, is to always call 911 at the sight of anything odd or out-of-place.
“If you see something suspicious, call 911,” said Beaton.
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office is actively investigating the three burglaries at Mayor Eslick’s home and is seeking a person of interest who was seen driving a white 1991 Honda Civic in the vicinity of the burglary. The police are encouraging anyone who might have noticed anything odd, or observed the white Honda, to call them at (425) 388-6260. Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Detective Danny Pitocco is lead detective on the case.
For information on Block Watch or to be added to the email list, visit: http://ci.sultan.wa.us/mail.cgi/list/sultanblockwatch/, or contact Sultan Grants and Economic Development Coordinator Donna Murphy at Sultan City Hall: (360) 793-2231.