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Went for a training hike with some friends from the club last Saturday. Four of us from the WAC and a buddy from the Mountaineers. The Mountie had a big suburban so we let him drive. |
We went to Squak Mt. because it is less than 2000' high and didn't have any snow. The trailhead is a few miles south of Issaquah on highway 900, Renton-Issaquah road. After a pleasant little hike (and sending a V0- on the Bullitt chimney), we returned to the car by an alternate route. The return trip had us walking up the road a 1/4 mile or so -- this meant we came into the trailhead parking lot from the road instead of back down the trail (an important detail it turns out).
As we returned to the parking lot, it was a sociable place. All the parking spots were full, but there were a few people sitting in their vehicles, chatting and looking around. As we walked across the lot, one of our party noticed someone inside our truck. After a brief moment of confusion (did someone else park a big white SUV near our spot?) we realized it was a car prowler. Since there were five of us and only one of them, we quickly decided on a confrontational approach and a short chase ensued. Just as we got the bad guy on the ground, someone jumped out of a parked car to help out, but this caused even more confusion -- he didn't seemed to realize we were the victims and the guy on the ground was the crook. After some jostling around, the bad guy was on his feet again and the second guy was back in his vehicle (a dark green Jeep Cherokee with '913' in the license in case you happen to see it somewhere). Just as the second guy took off in the Jeep it dawned on us there was a reason he hadn't been much help. (So that's why his car was pointed toward the exit instead of parked normally -- duh!) No problem though, the first bad guy was still on foot and there were two more guys sitting in a BIG red Ford 4X4 diesel pick-up truck, conveniently parked where they could see everything that transpired (and keep an eye on the trail at the same time). They were probably already on a cell phone calling the police.
The WAC tackler was still picking himself up; the mountie had broken his glasses; WAC #3 was trying to find a pen to write down the license number and WAC#4 was just getting to the parking lot from the road, so it was up to me to run down the prowler. I dropped my pack in the middle of the parking lot and started off, but things got confusing again because now the big red truck peeled out and ran right over the top of my old Kelty Redwing. That wasn't what we expected from innocent witnesses, so now we had to conclude there were at least 4 assholes involved in this project. Since the odds seemed to be getting worse by the minute, I wasn't sure I wanted to get too far away from my friends so I broke off the foot race early. All we could do was watch the Jeep with bad guy number 2 back up and pick up bad guy number 2, while bad guys number 3 and 4 circled around in the red Ford. Then they all drove off toward Renton and who knows where.
We called the police on the mountie's cell phone (which bad guy number 1 had lifted from the suburban but he fumbled when we tackled him). After a longish wait (time for the hoods to drive to Tacoma?) King County officer showed up to take our statements and investigate. We gave him our conflicting stories (5 eyewitness = 7 different descriptions) and handed over the evidence - a pair of binoculars that the prowler had been wearing (I hope it hurt when they got ripped off his neck) and a key ring he dropped (with a penlight and 5 different Toyota car keys, good to know the world's Toyota owners are a little safer tonight).
Damage summary: the truck destroyed a $5 keychain compass in my pack and bent the hell out of the pack stays, but didn't damage the $1500 DLSR or the chocolate chip cookies left over from lunch that were also in there -- I guess it's a good thing I carry a lot of fleece this time of year. Our friend from the mountaineers had his prescription glasses broken, but he got his phone back and it didn't look like anything else was missing from his rig. WAC #2 had a cut over his eye but one band-aid seemed to be enough take care of all our injuries.
Moral: when you're out w/ the mountaineers, let them drive. And don't drop your pack in front of an occupied vehicle if you're going to chase crooks. And don't ever leave valuables in your car when you're hiking around here... ever.