Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Police Blotter: The Cedar River Trail Harasser

He looks clean cut, an approachable and professional white male, 6 ft. 3" tall, thin and slender build, babyface and in his 30's. In the mornings from 6am til 8:30, Monday through Friday, when the world is waking and people begin their day with some exercise on the Cedar River Trail, he is intimidating and harassing the people who use our lovely local resource through intimidation by running and or knocking people off the path, cursing and spitting at them as he goes. He targets young and old, with or without dog or companion and seems to get off on taunting and provoking others into some kind of altercation with him. Worse, he lives right in Downtown Renton - he is our "neighbor".

We the community, need your help in reporting such occurrences - whether you were a victim in the recent past or if this unfortunately happens to you or a loved one next time you walk the trail. The man is known to the police, but we the public need to follow up on any incident and help us to get this "pressure cooker" off our path. Just calling 9-1-1 will not be enough to stop this individual.

The new signs that have gone up on the Cedar River Trail were distributed by the Renton Parks Department. A couple that I have been in contact with recently (who will remain anonymous), had just such an incident with a man on the Cedar River Trail one morning in winter and have been galvanized to spread the word and try to make Renton safe from someone who acts like a walking time bomb of anger and malice. Through the assistance of Terry Higashiyami of the Parks Department and Cyndie Parks of the Renton Police Department Crime Prevention Unit, the story is getting out.

The couple have been walking the trail for 15 years now, every morning and each day of the week. When the young man came upon them that morning of December 20th, they tried to avoid him, get out of his way, but when he targets you, there is no escape. The man is a verbal abuser - racial slurs, cursing and he likes to spit on you as he does so. So as the couple tried to veer out of his way, the man stiffened his shoulders and ran into them, sending them off the path. Totally unprovoked, other walkers have shared the same story. Men with sturdier builds have been his victim as well. The man seems fearless and aggressive. He has "stalked" women on the trail and seems to enjoy it. His actions are becoming bolder and more alarming as his violence escalates. The City of Renton trash cans that have been vandalized were the result of his karate style kicks (he was identified and seen by another walker of committing this act). Since reporting this, the man has changed his clothing and his hair, but he likes to circle the trail from the lake to the library and seems to be savvy enough, like Robert Di Nero's character in the movie "Cape Fear, with just what he can get away with in regards to the law.

So, what can you do? Well, if you see or are the victim of this kind or intimidation or harassment, first call 9-1-1. Please then follow this up with a call to either Terry Higashiyami of the Renton Parks Department or Cyndie Parks of the Renton Police Department Crimes Prevention Unit, who are teaming up to handle this situation.

If you have already been a victim of this type of incidence - please call Terry and Cyndie as well. They are pulling together a file and would like to hear from you. It is important - let's get this guy off the trail before something worse happens to a neighbor or a friend.

Walking groups are being formed so that in numbers, those who walk the trail can find safety. There is mention of having Cyndie Parks give a talk on "Safety on the Trail". In the meantime, please keep safe out there and don't take matters into your own hands - just call the police. I will give updates when I can.

Cyndie Parks
Community Programs Coordinator/Crime Prevention Unit

Terry Higashiyami
Administrator Community Services/Renton Parks Dept.

UPDATE 1/28: Our guy, who has changed his look by getting facial hair and jogging in dark clothes , "probably" got taken in on other charges the night before last, according to our Mayor, but not on the charges listed above. We still need to help call in, help the police build a case. Remain vigilant but not turn into vigilantes.

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Anonymous said...


An armed society is a polite society.

Paul Balcerak said...

Well this is disturbing. I'll pass this post along to Dean and the folks at the Renton Reporter to see if they want to publicize it and I'll Tweet it to get the word out some more.

Scary stuff. Stay safe out there and stick to the buddy system.

Thanks for the heads up.

Barbara said...

Not sure how the police feel about this but, whenever I walk anywhere alone, I always, always, have my pepper spray/mace IN MY HAND ready to spray in the face of anyone (who appears to be deranged, intimidating, etc.)that I don't know who gets even 5 feet in front of me! As a letter carrier, I have found it a mighty handy item. Can be purchased in Gun shops.

Anonymous said...

The guy may be in police custody, according to sources at City Hall Tuesday afternoon.

Anonymous said...

Would it be a bad idea to have your "camera phone" out and ready when you are walking? Would seem to certainly help the Police ID him if needed as positive proof.

He has caused lots of property damage in the area too.

Do you have broken mirrors on your cars? Broken mailboxes, garbage cans, signs, plants? All of these seem to be targets of his Kicks and Hits.

FYI he also seems mentally unstable, so be cautious

Lady P said...

To the last Anonymous Comment-

I had to edit out the part where you described where the guy lives - don't want to support vigilantism in the burg. The police and the neighborhood DO KNOW who this guy is - that has not been the problem. The problem is building the case, one call from an unfortunate victim at a time.

Paul Balcerak said...

Our people over in Renton just posted a story that the police have increased patrols on the trail in lieu of all the harassment reports.

I'm no security expert, but I used to live on Capitol Hill where we had a bit of street crime. Best practice was always to travel with a buddy and keep your head on a swivel (re: don't tune out noises by stuffing in your iPod earbuds). This person sounds like he could be a little unstable, though, so I don't know. Hopefully the increased police presence dissuades him or leads to them catching him doing something they can prosecute him for.

rcwant2be said...

looks like there's an official statement & a "person of interest" is in custody on an unrelated matter. Too bad those who filed the police report couldn't ID him.

There's been some random property damage in my neighborhood & my landlord thought maybe someone tried getting in their car...it was late Dec-ish...hmmm.

Lady P said...

Thanks Paul Balcerak and Celeste Gracey of The Renton Reporter for following up on the case and for posting information for all of us. Let us keep safe and call in any intimidation and or harassment that we may be victim to - please.

Paul Balcerak said...

@LadyP - Much thanks to you, too. I wouldn't have heard about this if not for your blog, so thanks for keeping everyone informed. We'll keep sharing information and publicizing it—with regard to this story and any others—no matter where it's from, especially when public safety is one of the issues.

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