SEATTLE - A man was arrested after he allegedly stole from a Seattle Bartell Drugs store and stabbed an employee in the leg Wednesday afternoon.
The man ran from the store along Rainier Avenue and even ran onto I-5 at one point but was captured a few minutes later.
Violent attacks inside businesses across Seattle are nothing new.
Businesses have become punching bags for prolific offenders and this is a relatively small group of people impacting public safety in a big way.
On Tuesday, Q13 News reported on the one year anniversary of the “System Failure’ report.
The publication was commissioned by Seattle businesses with the goal of tracking 100 prolific offenders as they cycle in and out of jail. In the past year, 93 of the 100 offenders have been arrested again, some of them multiple times. Collectively they have 320 jail bookings.
Of the 100 repeat offenders tracked in the report, Ileana Bozarth stands out.
She has been booked into jail 12 different times in just the past year.
She has a lot of theft cases, especially at Goodwill, but the problem is not just shoplifting, it`s what follows after: The violence against employees and fighting with security and police after she is caught.
In one incident at a Ballard Safeway, she is described as going ballistic.
Another prolific offender is Steven Geno Rich. He is homeless and since 2006 has accrued 77 criminal cases.
Since 2015 he`s had 25 cases alone in Seattle Municipal Court for misdemeanors. This past year he`s been arrested 11 different times for crimes like assaulting store employees, harassing random people and property destruction.
Last summer Rich had three different incidents in one day where he targeted Starbucks.
Police reports say he tried to steal from Starbucks and also attacked workers. It took about 3 months for the City Attorney’s Office to charge in that case.
The office does point out that so far the vast majority of the cases referred to them have been processed and charged when it comes to Rich.
Records indicate the 35-year-old suffers from mental illness and substance abuse.
We do know that in 2018 the court agreed to release Rich to Sea Mar, which is a behavioral health clinic.
The people behind the ‘System Failure’ report say there are no records of Rich meeting with mental health counselors, at least in connection with that case.
They may just be two individuals, but their actions are dangerous to public safety while draining police and court resources. Defendants like them are often referred to treatment but fail to follow through with those orders.
Because judges do not have the authority to mandate someone into treatment, many are eventually released without the help needed to change their lives around.
Rich’s next court appearance is March 5.
A judge has ordered a mental evaluation because the question of competency was raised. The findings of the evaluation will be made available during the March hearing. Even if a judge finds Rich incompetent to stand trial, it is no guarantee that he will receive the mental health services needed.