• Madrona man takes matters into own hands to catch burglar

    Updated:

    SEATTLE -  A Seattle business owner said he is taking matters into his own hands because police aren't doing enough to catch a repeat burglar.

    Jim Mellilo said he is making sure one man’s face is a familiar sight in Madrona  -- on paper.  Mellilo said the burglar has been seen numerous times in person.

    "This is the type of person who ruins what is a very safe neighborhood,” explained Mellilo.

    Mellilo told KIRO 7 on Saturday that he plastered posters with the man’s picture everywhere offering a $1,000 reward for the arrest and return of his belongings.  He said on two occasions, cameras caught the man on video loitering in the office building Mellilo owns.  Both times, minutes later, workers returned to find computers and cellphones missing.

    Mellilo said that on Tuesday, his building was hit yet again and several others in this neighborhood have been, too.  He said one even caught the man trespassing and called police, but there was no arrest.

    "And the question you have to ask yourself is where are the police in all that?" said Mellilo.

    KIRO 7 took the question to police, who said the man on the surveillance footage is a suspect.

    "It takes time.  That's one thing that people need to remember and be cognizant of when police say we're investigating,” explained Seattle police detective Patrick Michaud.

    Michaud said it helps when people are pro-active like Mellilo.  Other businesses in Madrona said they have noticed his efforts and appreciate it. 

    “I've been seeing them all over the neighborhood,” says Brittany Kusa, referring to the posters.  She is a manager at the Hi-Spot Café.  “I think it's a smart thing to do, yeah for sure."

    Mellilo is frustrated -- he said he gave the police all the proof and he's doing his part.

    "Why don't you take care of the people and keep crime from the neighborhoods?  That's one of the most important things you can do for a city,” he concluded.

    Mellilo said he's offering the reward because the only pictures he has of his mother, who died last year, are on his stolen cellphone and computer.

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