Shane Harms
Randy Brinker in his store, Sweet Mickey’s Candy Shoppe at 2230 N.W. 57th St. The store was robbed over Labor Day weekend.

Sweet Mickey’s owner talks crime in Ballard after armed robbery

Sweet Mickey’s Candy Shoppe near Ballard Common Parks was the site of a Labor Day weekend armed robbery and owner, Randy Brinker, is talking about the incident.

According to Brinker Saturday September 3, a six-foot-tall white male wearing a baseball cap, sunglasses and a headband covering his mouth, entered the store around 7 p.m., and demanded all the money in the drawer from the 20-year-old female employee. The Seattle Police Department reports that the victim said his voice was deep and quiet, and she couldn’t hear what he said. She said “Pardon?” and the man pulled out a silver revolver and raised it up. She gave him the money, and he walked west toward QFC grocery store. She told police she was “Terrified.”

“It was still light outside and usually there’s people in the park, people walking their dog, there’s people coming out of Jo-Ann Fabrics — just activity in the area, and for some reason at that particular moment of time there was no one around – that’s when it happened,” said Brinker.

Police searched the area and found a man matching the description. They apprehended him and brought him back to the store for a show-up identification. He wasn't the suspect. The store employee said the suspect had a red nose.

A K-9 unit was dispatched but stopped their search because there was too much foot traffic in the area.

The Ballard News-Tribune stopped into the shop at 2230 N.W. 57th St. last week and found Brinker installing a new security system. He said the one that he had during the robbery was outdated, however it was still able to provide some footage of the incident though problematic to deliver. Also, since the robbery occurred, he said he’s been working in the shop more because the employee who was victimized during the robbery has taken a leave of absence and another employee quit.

“They just don't feel safe here,” said Brinker, “The girl that it happened to is great but she’s only 20, and so she’s a little scared by herself now, so I’m trying to put better options for them to be able to monitor what’s going on.”

“Unfortunately it caught police between their second and third shift so there was a delay in them being able to get here. They have some other issues going on.”

Brinker said the SPD response time to the armed robbery was 15 to 23 minutes, he could not determine the exact time.

“They were great when they got here and really worked with her and calmed her down.”

Specific details could not be revealed about the investigation, but there is a belief that the man who robbed the store is linked to other robberies in the North Seattle area, including one at a tobacco shop off 15th Avenue N.W. in Northern Ballard and one in the University District.

“It sounds like they have an idea who it is, and I really hope they get him.”

Sweet Mickeys Candy Shoppe is adjacent to the Ballard Commons Park, a location in the area known for frequent complaints and 911 calls.

“You know that’s the main thing for people I know, with all the issues that happen in the Ballard Commons Park, this had nothing to do with it. If I could tie those two together and make that problem go away I would, but I know the homeless and transients, I know who they are. I’m confident that none of those people had anything to do with it.”

Brinker said he has not had any problems with theft in the past, even though he keeps the doors open as much as possible to invite people inside.

“I want it to be inviting here. It’s just a little store, and I never really thought that we’d become a statistic.”

Incidentally, the statistics on the SPD Dashboard shows that from January of this year to July, there were 43 robberies in Ballard compared to 33 robberies during the same period in 2015. In 2010 there were 32 total for the year.

Brinker was asked if a new centrally located precinct would help with response times.

“I don’t think it’s going to match the response times better or worse, I think what would help it is having sub-precincts or simply having more officers in this area. … There are a lot of people here. It’s growing and with growth comes crime, and when there aren’t officers in the area it’s easier to target places. I don't have a criminal mind, but I didn’t see police officers on a regular basis before the robbery.”

The new North Precinct is planned to be located in Aurora Avenue North and set to cost $149 million to construct, which has been named “the bunker” by activists.

Last week Mayor Ed Murray stalled plans for bonding the project to next year’s budget in order to examine racial equity. With such a high price, the Mayor emphasized racial issues to be included in the plans moving forward. Currently the North Precinct is located at 10049 College Way N. North of Green Lake Park and serves 40 percent of the Seattle populous.

Though he didn’t think the new location would help with response times, Brinker wanted to emphasize he supports Seattle Police.

“Anything that helps our Police in this city is something I support.  I am a huge advocate of providing them the state of the art facility to encourage more and better officers to want to come here.”

Since the robbery Brinker said he’s seen more officers in the area, including bike patrols and officer parked near the park.

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