Bellevue Police say 2 thieves dressed as workers, raided homes for high-end appliances

BELLEVUE, Wash. - Caught on camera, Bellevue detectives need your help to identify two men that are accused of dressing like construction workers in order to steal thousands of dollars worth of appliances.

Police believe the duo is very experienced and have been targeting homes that are for sale or under construction in and around the Bellevue area over the past two months.

Investigators say the thieves know what they are doing and are highly coordinated, they've already made off with a number of high-end items, including; a $20,000 refrigerator, a $15,000 oven and a $2,000 microwave.

The video, just released by Bellevue Police, shows men at work inside a home that's for sale wearing safety vests and gear.  Investigators say they look like they are going to do a remodel, but instead they are accused of raiding a handful of houses on West Lake Sammamish Parkway SE and elsewhere, ripping out high-value appliances, and making off with them before anyone notices.

"It can be isolated. It can be pretty quiet around here, said Kevin Salt, a Bellevue resident that lives near one of the vacant homes that was targeted.

Salt says if someone was dressed as a construction worker, they wouldn't appear out of place.

"You don’t take notice of a lot of people coming in and out, especially with all the new building and then all the new houses that are out here," said Salt.

Police say the thieves may have been responsible for as many as eight similar-style burglaries in the area over the past few months.

We stopped by four addresses that were hit, all newer construction, for sale, or serving as a model home.

"These suspects are clearly targeting a specific type of home. It’s a home that’s either vacant or under construction that has been staged for sale," said Officer Seth Tyler, Bellevue Police.

Burglaries of two homes off of West Sammamish Parkway SE were reported on the same days, Dec. 7 and Feb. 28, with thieves coming back a third day at one of the homes on Feb. 29, according to police.

"In certain cases, they would actually go in the night before, they would stage everything in the garage, and then they would come back the next day with a truck.  They would load everything into a truck and take off in a matter of seconds," said Tyler.

A man was arrested in connection to a burglary at another home after an ad was posted online for one of the stolen appliances.  

"We were able to arrange a meeting, confirm the serial number and make the arrest," said Tyler.

Tyler says as for the men in the newly released video, they didn't count on the camera rolling.

"Wearing official-looking clothes, anybody could be anywhere," said Salt. "You just don’t know, and it’s kind of hard to think it could be in your backyard or could just be across the street."

Tyler suggests that if you are going to sell your home, you place both indoor and outdoor cameras and alarms at vacant residences that contain an alert system so that it notifies you if someone is inside the house.  He says you should also write down the serial numbers on your appliances.  If they turn up for sale somewhere, that may be the only way to identify them.

A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered by Crime Stoppers for information leading to an arrest and conviction in this case.  If you leave a tip with Crime Stoppers, you can remain anonymous.


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