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This goes beyond mere shoplifting: Today So Far

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  • Retail theft in Seattle is highly organized and strikes some corners of the city more than others.
  • Have you looked into the other big election in Seattle?

This post originally appeared in KUOW's Today So Far newsletter for July 26, 2023.

Quick hits

Seattle isn't facing a rising trend of mere shoplifting. The city's shops and stores are under constant attack from organized retail theft rings that operate in a massive underground supply chain.

That basically sums up a report from Seattle's City Auditor's Office that looks into the recent rise of organized retail theft. In a nutshell, there are fences and boosters. Fences are like the managers. They look at the market to find what buyers want. Fences give a list to boosters. On that list are items for them to steal from stores. Once the goods are acquired, the fences pay the boosters, then turn around and sell the merch, most likely online.

“One of the things that we learned is that a bottle of perfume may be stolen in North Seattle and within 24 hours, it is on a shipping container destined for sale overseas,” researcher Claudia Shader recently told the City Council's Public Safety and Human Services Committee.

According to the report, Rainier Valley Square has been hit the hardest by this type of organized theft. That's where Seattle police have been called the most in recent years. Westwood Village Shopping Center in southwest Seattle comes in second, followed by the Northgate Target, the Northgate Shopping Center, and the Target at Westwood Village to round out the top five.

The city's auditor says Seattle could be doing more to counter this type of crime, such as using video instead of calling police officers to every incident. Read the full story, and see other shopping areas that are hit hard by this, here.

A lot of attention is on the Seattle City Council this election season, which is understandable since seven of the nine seats are up for grabs this time. But there's another election in town that has a decent share of seats up for a vote — the Seattle School Board.

KUOW's Sami West has done a great job rounding up all the candidates in three school board races. There are 10 total candidates running across Districts 1, 3, and 6. Seattle Public Schools has a lot of challenges right now. The district recently handled a $131 million budget gap. Students are still recovering from pandemic-era schooling. And the shooting at Ingraham High School is also a topic that has emerged for this school board election.

If you're voting (and why wouldn't you?), check out how these candidates approached the top issues facing Seattle schools.


caption: The Hanford site, seen from Washington State Route 240.
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The Hanford site, seen from Washington State Route 240.
KUOW Photo/Gracie Todd

The Hanford site, seen from Washington State Route 240. “Oppenheimer” opened this weekend, Hollywood’s version of the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb.” The film gives a cursory look into how thousands of workers relocated to Los Alamos, New Mexico; Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and Hanford, Washington as part of the secret race to finish the bomb before the Nazis. Some of those workers faced an elevated level of scrutiny because of who they were suspected to be — lesbians. (Gracie Todd / KUOW)


President Biden's dog keeps biting Secret Service agents. I know, this is not much of a factoid, but it's a story that I just found a bit amusing, before fully realizing the very real concerns this raises for the agents. Apparently, Biden's dog Commander bit agents 10 times between October 2022 and January 2023.

Biden's other dog, Champ, reportedly bit agents, too, before he passed away. These dogs are German shepherds, so a bite can potentially be a significant injury.

I'm just going to throw out there that if anybody can get Cesar Millan on the phone at a moment's notice, it's the president of the United States. Reportedly, some new training is already in the works, along with "additional leashing protocols," which I translate as keeping the dog on a leash in the first place.


caption: Rudy Giuliani speaks with reporters as he departs the federal courthouse, May 19, 2023, in Washington.
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Rudy Giuliani speaks with reporters as he departs the federal courthouse, May 19, 2023, in Washington.
Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani concedes he made false statements against 2 Georgia election workers

Rudy Giuliani conceded in a court filing that he made false statements when he said two Georgia election workers mishandled ballots during the 2020 election. In a declaration signed by Giuliani, he acknowledges that he made statements that "carry meaning that is defamatory per se" and that those comments were "actionable" and "false."


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