Mugging at Matthews Beach worries neighbors

by: Frank Field Updated:


SEATTLE - Seattle police have few leads in a violent mugging that happened Wednesday night at Matthews Beach Park in northeast Seattle.

Eighteen-year-old Mason Lanphear was lagging behind some friends leaving the park Wednesday night when he says someone jumped him from behind.

"I just felt this ‘wap’ and my phone was out of my hand. And then before I could really say much, I was out, on the ground and they were gone,” Lanphear said, relating the attack Friday morning.

He was hit on the left side of his head, leaving a nasty gash on his ear that required several stitches.  The crooks got his iPhone and backpack and ran off.  Lanphear says he vaguely recalled 5 or 6 young men in the parking lot prior to the attack, but thought nothing of it.  He's keeping a stiff upper lip about it the attack.

"It's a little bit traumatizing, but I'm doing good.”  Asked by a reporter if he’d consider returning to the beach, he hesitated, and then said, “Eventually, yeah."

Cathrine Cates is concerned that the muggers are the same young men she saw burglarize a house Monday afternoon, just a few blocks from Matthews Beach.  She saw three men in their 20s walk between these garages with a computer and some boxes under their arms. She went inside to get her phone and call police. By the time she got back outside, they were gone.  Now she's worried her neighborhood is targeted by thugs.

"People go to Magnuson and down here to Matthews Beach at night. And we've never felt threatened or uncomfortable to do that. And now we do,” she said.

Seattle police say they have no information showing a pattern of related crimes in the area. But Lanphear and Cates say they’re telling their friends to avoid the popular park anyway.