Seattle small business owners frustrated with lack of police response for property crimes, theft

A man and woman burglary team got away with thousands of dollars of merchandise from a Seattle business, and local shop owners believe their crime spree extends throughout the city.

Around 4:30 a.m., surveillance cameras captured video of two crooks breaking into Sfingiday, a boutique in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. 

The owner, Christine Olson, says it’s heartbreaking to watch thieves rifle through your business.

"It’s very unpleasant. It feels very violating," she said. "They were just in so fast. Their whole M-O is they climb in, two minutes, and roll out," Olson added.

Olson says the burglars got away with $12,000 in merchandise, and caused damage to their business, which they have to pay to fix.

Olson posted the surveillance video to social media to try and get more attention on the burglars, only to learn the two crooks are already very well known in the area.

"They can’t be, like, hitting every single business every week and nothing happening. Like, I can’t believe that they hit us last May, and they are still hitting small businesses in our neighborhoods," said Lois Ko.

Ko is the owner of Sweet Alchemy Ice Creamery in the University District neighborhood. She told FOX 13 Seattle that when she saw Olson’s surveillance footage, she knew it was the same people who broke into her business in 2023.

Both Olson and Ko say they have not heard any updates on the investigations into their cases, and they feel like they are the ones doing the police work.

"We are being detectives. We are talking with our neighbors. We are recognizing the people," she said. 

Olson said it took SPD nearly two hours to respond to 911 calls when Sfinigday was broken into. She says things need to change.

"I’ve contacted the mayor. I’ve contacted the city of Seattle, and they don’t seem to care about property crime," said Olson.

FOX 13 Seattle spoke with Seattle Police who told us they are investigating the break-in at Sfingiday and are looking into the possibility of the suspects being connected to other crimes.

The mayor’s office also sent us a statement regarding the concerns of small business owners:

Seattle’s small business owners deserve to be heard and have their concerns addressed. The City’s Office of Economic Development has been a part of our recent One Seattle Community Safety forums for exactly this reason, to help understand the safety concerns of businesses and share available resources.

Mayor Harrell remains committed to a holistic approach to improving public safety and reducing crime in Seattle and has made addressing SPD’s staffing crisis a top priority. We have been seeing encouraging signs through our Comprehensive Recruitment and Retention Plan to attract more officers, with an average of nearly 275 people applying to SPD each month – the highest rate in over two years.

The new contract for rank-and-file police officers, signed into law by Mayor Harrell yesterday, is also an important step to boost recruitment and retention efforts by making wages more competitive with other departments in Washington and nationally, helping us towards our goal of a well-staffed police department that is responsive to community needs. 

In addition to law enforcement, we will also continue to implement community-based solutions, neighborhood activation, enhanced lighting, and beautification efforts to prevent crime.

Recognizing the important role small businesses play in our community, the City has also launched the Storefront Repair Fund, which provides tangible financial support to business owners to help them get back to baseline and recover following property damage.