Police searching for suspects in smash-and-grab burglaries at Southcenter Mall, surrounding area

TUKWILA, Wash. — Southcenter Mall in Tukwila was full of shoppers, and the parking lot was jammed with cars for Black Friday — a full house, despite the amount of crime the mall has seen in just the last week.

“It’s actually kind of scary — we were in that same area when that happened. We actually just left that parking lot,” Vienna Goodman, a shopper, said.

Goodman is referring to the shooting that happened in a parking garage at the mall last week.

Christopher and Mary Wesolowicz were returning to their car when they were alerted that someone was trying to steal it.

Mary Wesolowicz was shot in the hand, and Christopher Wesolowicz died at the scene.

“It’s actually really sad to see that it’s actually happening like that, you know,” Goodman said. “And it’s (a) holiday, you know, like, I just feel bad for that family.”

The Tukwila Police Department is showing a larger presence at the mall to help ease people’s minds.

“I think they just need to have a lot of cops around the area, especially now during (the) holidays, because a lot of people are bringing bags out and bad people are just out there waiting for you,” Goodman said.

When KIRO 7 arrived at the mall on Black Friday, our crew noticed several boarded-up windows.

Tukwila police later confirmed that officers had responded to a burglary call at the mall just one day earlier.

Just before 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving, a vehicle was stolen from a business at the mall. The suspects fled the scene in two vehicles: the one they arrived in and the one they had just stolen.

Less than 10 minutes later, the suspects drove to the 300 block of Strander Boulevard, where they used a vehicle to ram into a business, which they then stole merchandise from.

They then proceeded one block north, where they used the stolen vehicle to ram the entrance of another business. They successfully gained entry to the building and stole merchandise once inside.

When officers arrived at the scene of this burglary, the suspects and stolen vehicle were still on scene.

The suspects fled the scene in the two vehicles.

Tukwila officers did not pursue them as the crimes did not meet the criteria to pursue, according to TPD.

“It has become common knowledge amongst criminals in the region that officers cannot pursue them if the crime doesn’t rise to meet the new standards for a pursuit,” reads a TPD news release. “This has resulted in people fleeing from law enforcement officers daily across the state during attempted traffic stops and crimes.”

Police said these smash-and-grab burglaries caused thousands of dollars in damage and lost merchandise.

Anyone with information on these incidents is asked to contact the Tukwila Police Department at (206) 241-2121 or tips@tukwilawa.gov.