Bellevue police chief says looters are part of organized crime ring

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Bellevue’s Police Chief Steve Mylett said looters from Sunday night are part of an organized crime ring.

Chief Mylett said the looters were separate from the peaceful protesters who were demanding police accountability in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.

He thinks they’re exploiting the moment and connected to the other scenes of violence in the area.

“There are groups paying these looters money to come in and they’re getting paid by the broken window,” said Chief Mylett.

Viewer video shows the rush of looters who ran into Bellevue Square Mall. Another video shows one man walking out with several handbags from Lincoln Square.

According to Chief Mylett, the looters are organized and after high-end stuff that can be resold.

“This is something totally different we are dealing with that we have never seen as a profession before,” added Chief Mylett.

Chief Mylett explained that the group works under the camouflage of the peaceful protest to try to defeat police resources.

“We did have officers that were in different areas that were chasing these groups,” he explained. “When we make contact, they just disperse.”

Chief Mylett said his priority is the preservation of life. He said some of the looters are armed and he worries their crimes could escalate.

“It kept me up last night and it’s been keeping me up because my fear is that it may be coming,” Chief Mylett said.

Bellevue Police arrested 14 people on Sunday. He said the youngest was 13 years old.