SEATTLE — A Seattle veteran says he was targeted by squatters, and now the Seattle Police Department is investigating a burglary that ended with the veteran losing many items in a priceless collection of antiques, along with other items that vandalized and destroyed.
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KIRO 7 toured the damage inside the warehouse in Interbay. The owner, Brooke Barnes, owns the warehouse and says the squatters simply walked out of the front door with classic motorcycles, antiques, vehicle titles, picture frames, even some of his military medals. Barnes says they used a wheelbarrow and carts to haul some of it out. He says almost all of it can never be replaced. Barnes estimates several motorcycles were taken. Barnes is a Vietnam veteran and says some of his pictures from his time in service were taken with their picture frames. Cabinets were left open, items were dumped in the hallways, some of his medals were missing.
Barnes explained that he's spent a lifetime collecting items he loves. He said squatters cut open a fence near the property in the 3000 block of 17th Avenue West. The squatters then smashed a lock and slept on his floors. Foam was set up on the floor with women's clothing strewn across it. Others appeared to sleep on couches in the garage that had cushions flipped and disturbed.
Barnes worries that if they had been there for a few days, they could have taken inventory of items and then decided what to steal. He says Starbucks cups, pizza boxes, even groceries were left behind. He says it was around Dec. 3rd when he discovered the break-in and what he'd lost.
"In life, you come across a few times where the road gets bumpy. This was a bumpy week. It's not small bumps this was a big bump. But it's heartbreaking to gather a few things you enjoy using and have here with your friends and it's suddenly gone."
Barnes said the range of items that were taken was also noteworthy. Some of the stolen items like bicycles were predictable. Others proved to be strange, like the burglars taking a Buddha statue off of its base. Barnes says it was a gift. "This is an antique… we estimate in (from) the 1880s."
Barnes says his 1976 BMW was vandalized, a plastic tool tray in the trunk was broken, and the trunk of the car was turned over and searched. In his library a set of shelves containing DVDs and CDs was totally bare. He says a 1939 Magnat-Debon motorcycle from France was also taken. It was still in working order and was a classic.
Seattle police confirmed the burglary and that a truck and scooter were stolen -- their investigation began around Dec. 4 though the items may have been taken before that date. At the entry to Barnes' warehouse fingerprint dust is still evident on many surfaces.
Barnes said when it comes to the stolen items, memories are more important than money.
"I would like them to turn in everything. If they find it hard to sleep at night, which I hope they do, it would be better to do things right."
Seattle police confirmed that they're still looking for the suspects and no arrests have been made.