Detectives Investigating Strange Delridge Arson

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SPD Arson/Bomb Squad detective are searching for a group of young men seen running from a burning home in the Delridge neighborhood in West Seattle Thursday afternoon

Police are still working to piece together the strange incident, but officers initially received reports of gunfire in the 7300 block of 16th Avenue SW just before 4 pm, and then received information that a house on the street was engulfed in flames.

At then scene, firefighters extinguished the blaze as police spoke with a man who lives in a very small shack behind the burning home.

The arson investigating took a strange turn when the resident of the shack told officers he had heard sawing sounds on the roof of his shack shortly before the fire.

The shack resident told officers he walked outside the shack and found a man—described as a white male in his 20s, with long hair—standing on the shack roof.

The shack resident then heard two loud pops—which may have been fireworks—and saw flames climbing the side of the house adjacent to the shack.

The lone man inside the burning home was able to escape, but sustained minor burns in the process. The shack and its resident were not injured by the fire.

Witnesses reported seeing a group of three young men running from the scene of the fire. It’s unclear if they had any connection to the man spotted on the roof of the shack.

Officers searched the area and called for a K9 unit, but were unable to locate any of the possible suspects.

We’ll have more on this bizarre case as it develops.



West Seattle Crime Watch: Stolen car; stolen motorcycle

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Please be on the lookout for these two stolen vehicles reported by WSB readers, and call 911 if you see either:

STOLEN CAR: From Thad, “… my 91 Blue Honda Civic 4-Door was stolen last night between 10 pm and 5 am from around 34th and Trenton st. It has been reported to SPD.”

STOLEN MOTORCYCLE: Justin just let us know about a motorcycle stolen from the Link Apartments garage (38th/Alaska) in The Triangle two weeks ago, “silver 2003 Harley Davidson V-Rod motorcycle, MN plate, license #88-686MD,” July 14 or 15th, when, he says, the garage door at the building was broken and stuck open overnight. Police have a report on this too.

West Seattle Crime Watch: ‘Flasher’ suspect Duane Atwood charged, re-jailed, under investigation in other cases

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37-year-old Duane Atwood, arrested in connection with a “flasher” incident on Beach Drive last week, is back in jail, charged with two felonies – indecent exposure and failure to register as a sex offender – and court papers say he is expected to be charged in another case soon. We first reported on his arrest last Saturday; his bail was set at $100,000 and, after posting bond, he was released that night, with a court date set for this afternoon. At today’s appearance, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office tells us, Atwood’s bail was increased to $250,000 and he was re-arrested. Court documents include more information on this case and on the conviction that led to his status as a Level 2 Registered Sex Offender, and they say he is under investigation for the two recent, similar incidents – both also reported here (July 15th report here, July 18th report here) – as well as an unrelated crime last year.

As noted in previous reports, Atwood’s arson/burglary conviction was from 2000, and aside from a docket notation that it was a conviction for arson and burglary with sexual motivation, no other details were available online. In the charging papers, however, we find:

… the defendant set a fire on the deck of a residence of two adult females and using paint, wrote the word “Rape” on the sliding glass door. The defendant also left pornographic pictures on the door to the residence. The defendant entered the residence through a broken window and burglarized the residence, taking a purse and other personal items. When the females woke up the next morning, they discovered a fire smoldering on the deck, as well as the “rape” on the window and the nude photos of females attached to their front door. Shortly after, the phone rang and it was the defendant, telling them that he was the one they were looking for. He stated, “I wanted to f— you but you wouldn’t let me, but now I’m coming back for you.” The females called 911. The defendant was identified by his fingerprints and admitted what he had done.

He went to prison until 2002 but did not get sex-offender treatment, though he has been classified as a “dangerous mentally ill sex offender.” The court papers say he moved out of state and then moved back here in late 2010 but has not registered. They also say that while investigating this case, detectives discovered an allegation that he made telephond death threats against a female acquaintance last year – starting with sexual insinuation, then telling her he would rape and murder her – and that charges are expected in that case soon. And, the documents say, he has threatened to kill his ex-wife and is the subject of a restraining order because of that.

We’re still reading the documents for anything more to add. Atwood is scheduled for arraignment in two weeks. His arrest followed information given to police by the woman who told them she saw him exposing himself in a silver SUV the evening of Tuesday, July 22nd, at Beach Drive/Orleans (near Cormorant Cove Park); as she commented here, she got a license plate number, and that led police to a car owned by the defendant’s father.

Is your party signed up? One week from tonight: Night Out 2014

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One more nudge: One week from tonight, thousands of people all around the city will be out having block parties, as part of Night Out 2014 – the official time slot is 6-9 pm Tuesday, August 5th. Provided you’re not on a major arterial, if you’d like to close your street for the occasion, you need to sign up – here’s the place to start. As we do every year, we’ll be out covering West Seattle’s Night Out, and we’re always happy to hear where you’re having your party, so we can stop by for a photo and add your neighborhood to our coverage –

West Seattle Crime Watch: Seen this stolen white Acura?

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Last stolen car reported in Crime Watch here was found by a reader – so maybe it’ll happen this time too. Keep watch for the car stolen from Michael, who sent this note today:

Yesterday I found that my car was stolen from the front of my house on the 5000 block of Beach Drive SW [map] between 11:30 am-8 pm. A report has been filed already. The car was a white 1998 Acura CL 3.0, license 609-MMM. If anyone notices anything, could they please contact me at, or police.