BOTHELL — There was a pattern and a game plan.
When someone broke into a car and stole a purse at a nearby LA Fitness parking lot Tuesday, Bothell police immediately headed toward the supermarkets in town.
They’d done their homework. They’d studied the surveillance video from similar thefts when credit cards were used to buy gift cards before they could be reported missing. Officers had a good idea what the suspects looked like.
At the QFC, they found a man in the self check-out line. He’d bought an energy drink, a birthday card and two $50 VISA cards. Inside his wallet, they allegedly found six credit cards belonging to the woman who reported her car had been broken into.
In the parking lot, they found his friend in a Jeep. And in the Jeep, they found the woman’s gray purse, a tool for punching out car windows, and a pair of leather gloves.
“We had 12 vehicle prowls in that location since November,” Bothell police Sgt. Ken Seuberlich.
Similar break-ins have occurred from Everett to Renton. Bothell plans to share information with other police agencies to see if the suspects might have committed other crimes.
Both suspects are 21. One is from Burien, the other from Mountlake Terrace.
Seuberlich said athletic clubs can be a popular spot for thieves. They know many people are stopping off to work out on their way home from their jobs and often will leave laptops or purses in their cars.
Those thieves also know a workout can take more than a half hour, which gives them time to break into the car and get to a store to buy gift cards.
“When people go to fitness clubs and leave work stuff in the car, it’s as if (they) are just hiding it in a glass box,” Seuberlich said. “It’s easy to break into a glass box.”
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; email@example.com.