A Seattle dad frustrated over property crime chases after knife wielding thieves

SEATTLE - You just have to look at Shawn Telford’s face to feel his frustration.

“I’ve never had problems like this before ever,” Telford said.

Telford rented a modest home on NW 48th Street sitting between Fremont and Ballard in 1998. He finally bought the home in 2011.

“It took years and years and years to buy this house, I still struggle to make the payments on this thing,” Telford said.

But this past year finances have taken a back seat to public safety.

“Fifteen hundred dollars in damages and stolen property on my house alone,” Telford said.

In the last year his house has been stripped of decorative lighting and a 60 pound garden mermaid was hauled away.

Then in October a thief broke into Telford’s camper, stealing a lot of sentimental outdoor gear.

“We had a busted window; I didn’t know what to do so I slept in our camper,” Telford said.

Telford says the same man came back the next day to steal some more and this time the thief grabbed a plastic container with his dad’s ashes. But Telford was ready for him and pursued the suspect for several blocks.

“I tackled him off the bicycle, he pulled a knife on me,” Telford said.

Telford got back the ashes but the criminal got away.

Then it happened again.

In April, Telford says he saw a man breaking into his neighbor’s car. He confronted the perpetrator and the criminal ran off with Telford on his tail.

Telford says the car prowler pulled a knife out as well, but this time his efforts eventually led to an arrest.

“None of this property is worth losing their life or my life,” Telford said.

Yet his frustration has boiled over into anger, especially after seeing the car prowler back in his neighborhood just days later.

“He had a felony warrant for burglary, he chased me with a knife, pattern of running and coming at me with a knife several times. Am I surprised to see him a few nights later? Yes,” Telford said.

Jason Glen McMacken has been charged with vehicle prowling and an unlawful use of weapons.

The City Attorney's Office says the defendant pleaded not guilty at arraignment. The prosecutor asked that he be held on bail while the defense asked that McMacken be released on personal recognizance. Judge Faye Chess sided with the defense releasing McMacken on personal recognizance.

The felony warrant the defendant had was out of King County

Telford says some of the criminals are living in RVs nearby. Telford says he’s repeatedly written to elected city leaders about the property crime problem.

“Nothing; silence, crickets. Nothing, nothing except your tax bill, here you go,” Telford said.

Telford says he and other homeowners feel forgotten, but no matter how bad the crime gets he isn’t going anywhere.

“Why should I have to leave what I’ve worked so hard for and what I want to leave my son?” Telford said.

Telford says he is not a vigilante or a tough guy but just a dad who is fed up with what is happening in Seattle.

He’s armed himself with a baton, bear spray and a flash light in case someone breaks into his home.

“You don’t do this in Seattle, this is New York in the 70s,” Telford said.

Telford’s jurisdiction in South Ballard saw a slight jump in property crime when you compare 2017 and 2018. The number of cases going from 1413 incidents to 1,567.

Fremont saw a bigger jump of 748 cases in 2017 increasing to 1,166 incidents in 2018.

Ballard and Fremont are among seven neighborhoods that the city will be targeting in their 30 day pre-summer emphasis program. Seattle Police are expected to increase patrols and in some cases amp up their criminal investigations in certain hotspots.

City Council Member Lorena Gonzalez sent a letter to the Mayor’s Office asking for details on the program. She wrote out seven detailed questions, including whether or not SPD anticipated making more arrests and how they would measure their success. Gonzalez also wants to know if the strategy had undergone a Racial Equity Toolkit analysis and whether officers will use Terry Stops.

Representatives with SPD and other city departments are expected to provide answers to city council members on Wednesday at 9 a.m.

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