Police: Unwitting suspects break into SPD evidence facility

SEATTLE -- Two men appear to have unwittingly broken into the Seattle Police Department's SoDo evidence facility when the trailer they were living in was impounded there in March. According to police, it's the first-ever security breach at the facility the department is aware of.

According to police, an officer found a stolen truck with a trailer attached March 30 and had it towed to the Airport Way Center, a complex containing the Seattle Police Department's vehicle-holding area, as well as its SWAT unit, training offices and other evidence facilities.

The officer checked inside the truck but couldn't open the trailer, which was locked from the inside, according to police. Instead of getting a warrant to break the lock himself, the officer decided to leave that to the auto-theft detectives. That was a Saturday night.

When an auto-theft detective showed up on Monday morning to check the trailer, they discovered two suspects had been hiding inside all along.

According to police, the two suspects got out of the trailer, which contained mattresses, drug paraphernalia and stolen items, sometime between Saturday night and Monday morning; sprayed the inside of the trailer down with a fire extinguisher in a failed attempt to cover their tracks; and left the vehicle-holding area.

Police do not believe the suspects intended to break into the facility or that they had access to the nearby evidence warehouse, quartermaster offices or vehicle-processing room. However, there were six vehicles in the vehicle-holding area that are involved in active investigations, meaning those investigations could be impacted.

According to police, detectives started hearing about the break-in from other criminals in May and opened an investigation in July after a burglar facing unrelated charges gave more details about the event.

Police believe they now know the identities of the two suspects, one of whom is already in jail for investigation of an unrelated crime.

The Seattle Police Department is currently evaluating the security plan at the Airport Way Center.