SPD officers fail to catch burglar in office, despite being at car dealership

SEATTLE — Newly released body camera video shows Seattle police officers responding to a burglary at a Lake City car dealership, admitting to each other that they don’t know in which of two buildings did the alarm go off, and then proceeding to only inspect one of the buildings while a person burglarizes the other.

The audio from the body camera video reveals one officer saying, “Side B, but it says…. A, this is ‘A’ building? I don’t know.”

The other officer says, “I don’t know…. Check both of them.”

It’s frustrating to hear for Wild West owner Randy Lindquist.

“They even say, ‘Well, we’ll check them both!’” he said. “Well, they never checked them both.”

The officers arrive at the dealership, Wild West Cars & Trucks, around 3:50 a.m. on the morning of Dec. 14. The business’s surveillance video shows a burglar arriving just after 2 a.m., leaving, and then returning at 2:59 a.m. and remaining on the property until after 4 a.m.

While the body camera video shows them inspecting the showroom building, it never shows them checking the office building, where Lindquist said the burglar was busy cutting through his safe.

About five minutes after the officers check around the showroom building, they walk back to their cruisers, griping about someone.

“They're sitting out here having a conversation while I’m being burglarized,” Lindquist said.

He said the burglar took a ring that was a family heirloom, a ring for which he’s offering a $10,000 reward.

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The thief also took coins and a handgun while leaving a tactical shotgun.

“Not only did they allow a burglar to burglarize me, but they put themselves in a lot of danger,” Lindquist said of the officer’s actions.

Surveillance video shows the cruiser sitting there when the burglar turns the lights on in the second building. And the police vehicle leaves as the same time as the burglar, around 4:26 a.m., when the man climbs out a window and moves quickly through the parking lot.

“He’s climbing out the window at the same time the officer’s still moving,” Lindquist said. “If this is the protocol they used to respond to an alarm, then they obviously need training.”

Police were at the property for about 40 minutes, but one body camera last only about seven minutes and the other lasts about eight minutes. Seattle Police’s Public Records officials said that’s when officers turned off their cameras.

When contacted on Dec. 14 regarding the incident, Seattle police told KIRO 7 it was reviewing the incident.

Two months later, Seattle police did not respond to questions from KIRO 7 about what that review found, nor did the department provide any explanations for the short body cameras videos and the apparent failure to check the other building.