Wal-Mart security officer helps apprehend rape suspect

Nov. 3, 2008
Officer found suspect by cross-referencing archival and live surveillance footage

When a man accused of entering a North Seattle home and sexually assaulting a woman last week walked into an Everett Wal-Mart store on Wednesday night, he already was on the mind of one store security officer.

The female officer was scrolling through week-old surveillance videotape that showed a man identified by police as the suspect in the attack. When the officer looked away from the video and focused on a live feed of goings-on inside the South Everett store, she saw the same man.

"It was one of those freaky coincidences," Seattle police spokesman Mark Jamieson said.

The Wal-Mart employee immediately called Everett police and stayed on the phone while officers were dispatched. She tracked his every move and relayed details about his whereabouts to police, said Everett police spokesman Robert Goetz. Officers were waiting for the man when he walked outside.

Goetz declined to say whether the man had any of the victim's belongings with him when he was arrested.

Goetz said the security officer has long been a source of information for Everett police; he said what she did Wednesday night "is not unusual for her."

A spokeswoman for Wal-Mart said officials were pleased with the security officer's work.

"We, of course, are grateful that our associate was able to help the community in this way and the safety and security of our customers is always our top priority," Anna Taylor said.

According to Seattle police, the man entered the woman's house in the 1600 block of North 52nd Street in the Wallingford neighborhood Oct. 20 after her husband had left to run an errand. The woman was attacked while her two children and nanny were in their rooms, police said.

After sexually assaulting the woman at knife point, the man stole several items before fleeing, police said.

Jamieson said detectives are unsure why the man attacked the Wallingford woman.

Seattle police said the man tried to use the victim's credit card at a Lynnwood Wal-Mart shortly after the attack. Police obtained a copy of the store's surveillance photos, identified the man and released copies of the photo to the media.

The suspect, who is being held without bail at the King County Jail, has a criminal history that stretches into Idaho and Florida. He has convictions in Idaho for escape and burglary, and convictions in Florida for vehicle theft, larceny, drug possession and the possession of drug paraphernalia.

Seattle Times staff reporter Sonia Krishnan and news researchers Gene Balk and David Turim contributed to this report.