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  • Prolific Serial Burglar Lands City Job

    From the For What It's Worth Department

    Prolific Serial Burglar Lands City Job
    Failed Background Check Under Review
    Chris Halsne
    KIRO 7 Eyewitness News Investigative Reporter

    Posted: 1:49 pm PST November 4, 2009Updated: 11:20 am PST November 5, 2009
    KIRO Team 7 Investigators have discovered a career criminal, nicknamed "the obituary burglar," is out of prison and into a new job.

    It's one that has victims, police and taxpayers alike shaking their heads in disbelief.

    Now, Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne reveals who hired a 22-time felon to work around senior citizens.

    Terry Lee Alexander gained notoriety a decade ago by ransacking the homes of elderly victims while they were away attending funerals.

    With that resume, the City of Kent thought Alexander would be a good employee and handed him the keys to the publicly-funded Senior Activities Center.

    It's Saturday morning, time for building attendant, Terry Alexander, to open the Kent Senior Center for a full day of scheduled activities. His job entails helping set up tables for parties, maintenance and security.

    A KIRO producer visited the facility and spoke with Alexander last month.

    He told our producer that he normally keeps the front door locked because he’s worried a homeless vagrant will wander into the facility and cause a safety issue. While he spoke, several elderly visitors arrived for a party.

    Alexander: “You gotta protect the elderly from, you know, they're so vulnerable -- and kids -- from these people."
    KIRO Producer: "I'd worry about old people getting robbed and stuff."
    Alexander: (Pause) Yeah. Yeah."

    Of course, KIRO Team 7 Investigators knew the truth when we are speaking with Alexander.

    His rap sheet is lengthy: Theft, Vehicular Assault, Attempt to Elude Police, Possession of Stolen Property, and Burglary, Burglary, and more Burglary.

    State records show he’s spent half his adult life behind bars -- six stints totaling 14-plus years.

    In 2000, King County Deputy Prosecutor Hugh Barber sought an "exceptional prison sentence" for Alexander. Police caught him selecting burglary targets from the obituary pages.

    “He tracked people down while they were away burying their spouses and robbed them! He really targeted an extraordinarily vulnerable group of people at the more vulnerable time of their lives.”

    We spoke with one of Alexander’s elderly crime victims. She asked we protect her identity. Her family home was burglarized while she attended a memorial service.

    “We opened the front door and saw things moved about and in shambles. I couldn't believe it. I could not believe we were burglarized and I thought who could have done that?"

    This widow also feels strongly that the city of Kent needs to listen to her warning.

    “I certainly would not have him around seniors. He would know their location, their homes. He could burglarize them at any time. There's no way they can get away from their previous habits.”

    Alexander isn't speaking with KIRO Team 7 Investigators, so we went to the Kent Senior Activity Center to talk to his boss, Facility Manager Lea Bishop.

    Halsne: “He has keys to the place, yes?"
    Bishop: "Mm-hmm."
    Halsne: "A guy with 22 felonies, mostly burglaries, isn't that a concern?"
    Bishop: "Well it is a concern. I didn't know this. We knew about some of his issues, but not about that many issues.”

    Bishop says she never asked specifics, but Alexander told her he was a felon.

    In light of that, the city assigned him to work weekends and nights, so he had less direct, daily contact with the large number of senior citizens who attend activities here.

    Halsne: "Does Kent do criminal background checks?"
    Lea: "Yes."
    Halsne: "So you know he's a criminal."
    Lea: "Yes. He indicated that on his form, but we got excellent references from his school and he has done an excellent job."

    Mercer Island Police Commander Leslie Burns was one of the detectives who helped catch Alexander during his 1999 crime spree. She was surprised that Alexander was even out of prison, let alone working at a senior activities center.

    “I would be concerned the fact that he is working with the same group of people that he victimized repeatedly. These are typically vulnerable people."

    Deputy Prosecutor Barber hopes Alexander has cleaned up his act, but still questions the wisdom of trusting him to work around the elderly.

    “It seems a bit like letting the fox guard the henhouse. This guy was a prolific serial home invasion burglar who targeted the elderly," Barber said.

    KIRO Team 7 Investigators spoke with Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Kent, Jeff Watling, just prior to airing this investigation.

    Watling tells us that Alexander’s job status is now “under review.” Because of our investigation, the City of Kent is also reviewing their criminal background check policies and procedures.

    Copyright 2009 by KIROTV.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
    One must think like a hero merely to behave like a decent human being.

  • #2
    His next employment stint will be in the Law enforcement community.

    WTF

    Comment


    • #3
      Maybe we'll see him in "Ask a Cop."

      Comment


      • #4
        What a joke

        Comment


        • #5
          Let's let a "reformed" child molester work at a day care to.

          Comment


          • #6
            Every body deserves a second, third, fourth ... chance. It's not like he killed anybody yet.

            WTF were they thinking!

            Comment


            • #7
              This was in Western Washington, yeah we got a few idiots here

              Comment


              • #8
                Well, it seems that when an athlete is the criminal, people utter such brilliancies as "he has paid his debt to society" and should be allowed to go back to work. I do not see any reason why that principle should be limited to celebrities. In the interest of fairness and equality, he should not be penalized for his criminal record.
                Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

                Comment


                • #9
                  WHAT in this world is "fairness and equality?" I realize they are words, but that's about it...they are merely words...not concepts having anything to do with the criminal justice system and victims.
                  sigpic

                  I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It's only a matter of time until we see Alexander posting on "Ask a Cop" if his record will DQ him from an LEO job

                    Wait a minute! What do we tell him???
                    sigpic
                    Our houses are protected by the good Lord and a gun.
                    And you might meet 'em both if you show up here not welcome son.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Smurfette_76 View Post
                      WHAT in this world is "fairness and equality?" I realize they are words, but that's about it...they are merely words...not concepts having anything to do with the criminal justice system and victims.
                      I don't think they have any real meaning. Everyone has a different idea of fairness, although it seems to me that it usually seems to be that the person using the term, or a person or group he favors, should get better treatment than others. Equality also has varied meanings, but generally seems to be used in the sense George Orwell used it in Animal Farm: All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
                      Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                      Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Tell me you don't feel that way about cooperate f'n thieves like Madoff, stole billions and when he gets out we should give him a position in say a lending institution because he's done his time, in all fairness....

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I like this line the most

                          Halsne: "So you know he's a criminal."
                          Lea: "Yes. He indicated that on his form, but we got excellent references
                          What is Perseverance?
                          -Perseverance is commitment, hard work, patience, endurance.
                          -Perseverance is being able to bear difficulties calmly and without complaint.
                          -PERSEVERANCE IS TRYING AGAIN AND AGAIN.


                          BOP - BPA - ICE

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by StainlessSteve View Post
                            Tell me you don't feel that way about cooperate f'n thieves like Madoff, stole billions and when he gets out we should give him a position in say a lending institution because he's done his time, in all fairness....
                            Madoff definitely should be given a job if he gets out of prison at the age of 120+.
                            Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                            Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DAL View Post
                              Madoff definitely should be given a job if he gets out of prison at the age of 120+.
                              Only if he can pass the physical lol!
                              "Naw officer, I was hanging with my cousin"

                              "Sooo, real cousin or play cousins ?"

                              Originally posted by JasperST
                              I'm thinking a battalion of menstruating bearded women could kick some serious booty!

                              Comment

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