Boy home alone when surprised by suspect on crime spree

VIDEO: Boy confronts intruder

SEATTLE — Seattle police say a boy was home sick from school when he was surprised by an intruder with a long criminal history breaking into his house in West Seattle last month.

The 11-year-old boy was at his home in the 5000 block of 35th Avenue Southwest on the afternoon of March 21 when his mother stepped out to pick up some food.

The boy was home alone, lying down in the living room, when he heard glass shatter and saw a man outside breaking a window, according to Seattle police probable cause documents.

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Startled, the boy yelled out, “Who the hell are you,” before fleeing to his next-door neighbor’s house.

The burglar, later identified as 33-year-old Joseph Haavisto, left the home and headed north, where he entered a detached garage on another property through an unlocked door, stole a golf club and continued north on 35th to another home, where a husband and wife were inside, according to court documents.

After hearing their gate open, the woman inside saw the burglar quickly walk past her windows and then heard him open the screen door as she realized the front door was unlocked.

Before she could lock it, Haavisto opened the door, held the golf club above his head in a menacing manner and moved toward the woman, a SPD case investigation report said.

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Believing she was going to be attacked, she called out to her husband, who later told police he heard his wife scream and saw the suspect chase his wife through their house, according to charging documents.

She ran into the office where her husband was working, told him what was happening and then the two shut the door. The husband armed himself with a gun and called police. The couple remained in the room until they were called out by arriving officers.

Meanwhile, the suspect left the home and made his way west, about two blocks from the previous home, to the 3600 block of Southwest Hudson Street, where he began rummaging through a man’s work truck.

The owner of the truck saw what was happening and verbally confronted Haavisto, who had a golf club next to him. Police say Haavisto got out of the truck, took what the victim described as a “fighting stance” with a raised fist, and then charged at the victim, according to police.

The victim sidestepped Haavisto’s advance, causing the suspect to fall to the ground. The victim then saw that the suspect had taken his phone’s battery pack/charger and was able to take it back. When another man walked over to the truck during the altercation, Haavisto charged him, but the man was able to shove Haavisto backward, according to the police report.

The suspect then ran away westbound, leaving behind a backpack, hooded sweatshirt and the golf club.

Police said multiple citizens reporting seeing a man matching Haavisto’s description heading westbound, including two people in a car who said he threw beer bottles at their vehicle, but did not hit it.

Police took Haavisto into custody near 40th Avenue South and Southwest Hudson Street.

Court documents said upon his arrest by Seattle police, Haavisto yelled at officers, “I am a convicted offender from when I was 12 just because I want to rape little girls,” and that while he was being taken to be booked into jail, Haavisto stated that he would get a gun and kill the innocent.

Haavisto’s criminal convictions include child rape, failure to register as a sex offender, harassment, burglary, theft, trespassing, forgery and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Haavisto was charged with first-degree burglary, residential burglary and attempted residential burglary in the series of incidents.