Police post photos on Web to find owners of stolen items from sting
A Seattle police sting yielded items believed long-since lost. Among them: a sword, Western saddles, bikes, iPods and a practice defibrillator.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Stolen itemsTo view the stolen items: go to seati.ms/SPDitems
If you believe an item is yours: call 206-733-9616 to talk to a police detective.
Had a laptop stolen lately? How about a bike?
A sting operation run by Seattle police over 11 months recovered hundreds of stolen items that police are now trying to reunite with their owners.
The department has set up a Flickr photo set with 437 photos of recovered items. You won't find the kitchen sink, but there is a practice defibrillator, as well as guns, cars, passports, boats, bicycles, vehicles and laptops.
The items also include a sword; a laminated 1995 diploma from a Georgia high school; an ORCA card; a hand saw; and saddles.
"If you can prove it's yours, we'll get it back to you," Assistant Chief Jim Pugel said during a news conference Tuesday.
Owners must either have reported the item missing by last Monday or must be able to otherwise prove it's theirs, police said. For example, they could show a photo of themselves with the item and possibly get it back.
In the sting, called "Operation Oliver's Twist," undercover detectives set up a phony fencing operation in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood and purchased stolen items from unsuspecting thieves.
Suspects brought in more than 100 cars, most of which police weren't able to return for fear of jeopardizing the investigation. The cars were sometimes stolen from friends or neighbors. One car apparently was stolen from the suspect's mother, Pugel said.
"If we would've returned those, they would've known the game was up," he explained.
At the end of each week during the investigation, Seattle police talked to the National Insurance Crime Bureau to help expedite insurance payments to owners of stolen cars. Now, the insurer owns those cars, and their former owners may never know they were part of the sting.
Many vehicles were trashed by the time they were sold to the phony fencing operation, Pugel said.
Lark Turner: 206-464-2761 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @larkreports