A prolific burglary ring that targeted expensive King County homes and stole close to $3 million in property was busted earlier this week as the result of multiple agency investigation, law enforcement revealed Wednesday.
Police departments from Bellevue, Kirkland, Seattle, Medina and Clyde Hill joined together to investigate and apprehend a group of alleged burglars called the “Rock Smash Crew.” The three suspects — identified as Alonzo Severson, 25; Joseph Sims, 26; and Shon Shannell, 29 — allegedly burglarized more than 120 homes between April 2016 and their arrests this month.
Upon his arrest, Shannell was reportedly wearing a watch belonging to Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez, who home was burglarized in November 2016.
“It was compelling evidence, without a doubt,” Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett said of the watch, which was engraved with “King Felix.” Hernandez’s 2015 All-Star Ring and a 2000 World Series Championship ring he owned were also stolen and recovered by police.
The crew was smart and well-organized, and tried to throw police off of the case, he added. Several law enforcement agencies worked together on the case, and cited their collaboration as key to the success of the case.
“Crime doesn’t have borders. This is a great example of what we can accomplish by working together and combining resources,” said Carmen Best of the Seattle Police Department.
The nine-month-long investigation began when a Bellevue crime analyst had linked together home burglaries that were occurring around the county with a similar signature.
The group was named for their use of rocks to smash and disable alarm systems and gain access to the houses through glass windows. They would target homes that were generally valued over $3 million and were likely to contain expensive items, police stated.
The case took off after a Mercer Island resident discovered a phone on their lawn in October 2016 and called the police, Mercer Island Police Chief Ed Holmes stated. While investigating it and reports of a suspicious person who had been seen on neighboring property the night before, a call came in from a telephone number that was linked to one of the suspects.
The case was described by the Mylett as being the largest property theft crime in terms of loss value in Bellevue’s history.
Police have recovered more than $400,000 in designer handbags, jewelry and other items, including one Hermès handbag worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. In all, the value of the cash and other property stolen during the 123 separate incidents totals nearly $3 million.
The crew was reportedly active during the late afternoon and early evening — Sometimes entering homes with residents inside.
In one case, the suspects are alleged to have held a Kirkland homeowner captive, according to Mylett. While the victim did not see a gun, it is believed the burglars had one and video footage from a separate incident appears to show one suspect with a weapon.
The crew was driven by greed, Mylett said, and used the money they stole to rent expensive cars, go to strip clubs, dine lavishly and take trips to Las Vegas.
“They won’t be doing much travelling any longer, and their next meal will be served in the King County Jail,” he said.
At press time, 36 cases had been forwarded to the King County Prosecutor’s Office. Law enforcement officers are still sifting through the evidence, and indicated that it is possible the suspects could be linked to many more burglaries.
Any Eastside residents who believe their home may have been burglarized by the Rock Smash Crew can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.