Seattle police say a young couple confessed to committing nearly 200 burglaries in which they typically broke into apartment buildings’ secure garages and prowled cars for valuables in order to support their drug habits, according to criminal charges filed Wednesday.
Patrick D’Andrea, 20, and his girlfriend, Sabrina Mitchell, 21, were arrested Sunday in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood and have since been charged with two counts of residential burglary, court records show. D’Andrea was also charged with theft of a motor vehicle and Mitchell was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, according to the charges.
On Monday, a judge released both on personal recognizance despite the state’s request that D’Andrea be held on $100,000 bail and Mitchell on $25,000 bail, said Casey McNerthney, a spokesman for Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. Arrest warrants were issued for them Wednesday after prosecutors rush-filed initial criminal charges, he said.
A Seattle police detective assigned to the department’s Major Crimes Task Force wrote in charging documents that he expects to refer additional cases to prosecutors as the investigation into D’Andrea and Mitchell’s alleged burglary spree continues.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, nonviolent offenders have increasingly been released from jail, reducing the average daily population by about 30% to around 1,300 inmates, the Department of Adult & Juvenile Detention announced this week.
The prosecutor’s office has been assessing each person in jail to determine who can be released pretrial without endangering public safety, according to a Wednesday news release.
“This case shows why it’s important to look at the whole person when making charging decisions — including current investigations, criminal history, prior responses to court orders, and behavioral concerns,” Satterberg was quoted as saying in the release about the case against D’Andrea and Mitchell. “The best way to address both public safety and the safety of those in jail is to examine each case and each offender specifically, rather than simply not booking people for a specific crime type.”
According to the charges:
Around 2:30 p.m. Sunday, patrol officers were driving in the 1700 block of Bellevue Avenue East and spotted a Mini Cooper with several people inside. When the officers stopped nearby, the people inside the vehicle scattered, drawing the officers’ attention. They ran the vehicle’s license plate number and it came back clear. But the officers then ran the vehicle-identification number and learned the car had been stolen during a burglary on April 6 or 7.
Other officers stopped two suspects nearby; they were identified as the car’s occupants when the first officers reviewed footage from their dashboard camera. It turned out they had swapped the Mini Cooper’s license plates to avoid police detection, the charges say.
The Mini Cooper was stolen from the garage of an apartment building in the 700 block of Boylston Avenue East after thieves prowled the owner’s Honda and found keys to the Mini Cooper inside, the charges say.
On April 9, the property manager of an apartment complex in the 100 block of 10th Avenue East called police and reported that she had video-surveillance footage showing two thieves damaging the call box and tripping an emergency button, allowing them to get inside. The footage showed they went into the parking garage, where they prowled two vehicles. Officers recognized D’Andrea and Mitchell in the footage.
Following their arrests, D’Andrea and Mitchell were interviewed separately by detectives. Police say they both confessed to the two April burglaries — and each of them drove around with officers, pointing out other locations where they had committed burglaries, often hitting the same buildings multiple times, the charges say.
Mitchell pointed out 11 additional locations where she and D’Andrea committed a combined 24 burglaries and D’Andrea showed them 29 new locations where 142 burglaries were committed, say the charging papers.
Police say both suspects admitted they support their drug habit through burglaries, and usually use a crowbar or screwdriver to gain entry to an apartment complex, though D’Andrea also researched call boxes and how to defeat them, according to the charges.
In an item posted Monday on the department’s online blotter, police estimated the duo committed 100 burglaries in the East Precinct and 80 more in the North and West precincts.