5 juveniles arrested in Federal Way after robbery in Ballard, driving stolen car

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — Five suspects under the age of 18 were arrested at The Commons at Federal Way shopping mall Thursday after allegedly using a stolen vehicle in a robbery in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.

Seattle police said they got reports of a stolen vehicle in the area and later learned that was connected to a robbery that took place in the 6500 block of 15th Avenue Northwest.

The Seattle Police Department said officers from the North Precinct were able to spot the car heading down Interstate 5 and were able to locate the vehicle with the assistance of King County Guardian One, the air support helicopter used by the King County Sheriff’s Office to aid in locating runaway suspects. Other agencies like the Federal Way Police Department and Washington State Patrol were also involved in the arrest.

“We actually had King County Guardian One assist us as well as Federal Way and also Washington State Patrol,” SPD public information officer Judinna Gulpan said. “So this was a city-wide effort to keep tracking this vehicle and be able to have a great outcome here where the suspects were able to be placed in custody.”

Once the car arrived at The Commons, all five suspects in the vehicle took off on foot and ran inside the mall, putting the entire property on lockdown for a short period of time. KIRO 7 caught up with one mall employee named Sofia who was inside when all of this happened. She even claimed to have seen the five suspects go by her store.

She says it appeared that the suspects were in ski masks when they went by.

“People were running, screaming and scared. And police officers were screaming too,” Sofia said.

“With everything that is happening this year and these past couple of years, I’m like super on edge working here just because I am located right in front of the entrance,” Sofia said. “So, I felt really scared, but I kind of froze in fear and didn’t know what to do.”

She said she’s thankful police were able to catch these suspects, but feels this sort of crime has become a new normal.

“But it’s so normalized now, so we are kind of just like trained to just go through the motions,” Sofia said.

And because this sort of crime feels normal, some people KIRO 7 spoke with said they always keep their guard up.

“I feel like the crimes are getting worse and worse. So, it’s really important that you pay attention to these things and just not be so oblivious,” David Lu, who just moved to the area, said.

The five teens who are accused of being involved had their first appearance in court Friday at the King County Juvenile and Youth Services Center.

The judge asked to hear from parents on whether the teens should be released but ultimately ruled they remain in custody.

“At this time I’m ordering him held in secure detention,” Judge Nelson Lee said. The arraignments for the five teens will be held Jan. 11 at 1:30 p.m.