Man takes to Web to retrieve stolen guns, belongings
February 22, 2011
By Warren Kagarise
Zack Judson hoped to settle in the Seattle area after escaping the hustle and bustle of Southern California.
Instead, a criminal or criminals in Issaquah stole the U-Haul truck carrying his possessions — including numerous handguns and rifles, plus ammunition.
In the days after the heist, Judson launched a website — www.communitycrimefighting.com — and started broadcasting updates about the case on Facebook and Twitter. Now, the Santa Monica transplant is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people responsible.
“I have little confidence that I’ll get any of my stuff back,” he said late last week. “I have high confidence that, with the help of this Seattle area community, we might be able to catch the people who did it and prevent them from committing another crime.”
Issaquah Police Department Detective Sgt. Kevin Nash praised Judson for sharing details in order to help solve the case.
“He’s the one who has lost his life. He’s the one who has lost everything,” Nash said. “I think it makes it more personal to the people that are out there. I’m glad he’s doing it and it’s not interfering with anything we’re doing at all.”
The criminal or criminals snatched the truck from the parking lot at the Hilton Garden Inn along Northwest Gilman Boulevard. Seattle police officers recovered a U-Haul truck stolen late Feb. 15 — about 48 hours after the theft.
The household belongings inside the truck — plus the rifles, handguns and ammunition — remain missing. Issaquah police continue to investigate the case.
“We have nothing to go on,” Nash said. The website “is an excellent way to get the word out there. He’s the victim, and it’s a person, so you’re seeing a face. You’re not seeing or hearing me on the radio or the TV. It’s him, it’s the victim.”
Seattle officers located the truck in the industrial area in the 9200 block of Eighth Avenue South after a citizen heard about the missing truck on the radio and called police. The caller recognized a Viking ship and the word “Minnesota” emblazoned on the side of the orange-and-white truck.
“You look at it at and you go, ‘Nobody’s around.’ If you’re going to dump a stolen truck, this is a good place to dump it,” Nash said.
Issaquah police said the truck disappeared between 1:30-8:50 p.m. Feb 13. In addition to the firearms and ammunition, the contents included 1,200 Australian silver coins dated from 2000 and 2008.
Judson is a digital artist and also does special effects for feature films. The truck held computer workstations containing years of digital artwork.
Police estimated the truck’s contents at more than $250,000. The digital artwork is priceless, Nash added.
Judson had locked the 20-foot truck and took extra steps to secure the goods inside. The criminal or criminals punched out the driver’s side door lock and the ignition.
“They were looking for an easy hit. I don’t think they had any idea there were firearms in there,” Nash said.
The incident did not sour Judson on the area, especially due to the positive response from community members.
Police said the effort to track down the perpetrators could bear fruit, although such crimes can be notoriously difficult to solve.
“It’s hit and miss. Sometimes you get great leads and sometimes you don’t,” Nash said. “We got the story out there and we got the vehicle back, so there’s a start.”
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.
On the Web
Send tips to Zack Judson about the theft of his belongings from a U-Haul truck at www.communitycrimefighting.com.