Following a major uptick in burglaries around King County, prosecutors and burglary detectives from around the county compiled a list of the top 20 most prolific burglars in the area. Late last month, prosecutors filed their first case against one of the top 20. Now, at the ripe old age of 19, Michael Vong is facing charges for 15 counts of burglary, attempted burglary and auto theft in King County Superior Court.
According to court documents, Vong is accused of stealing money, electronics, shoes, cell phones, iPods, cash and a microwave during, prosecutors say, a “crime spree” which began in September 2008.
Vong was finally arrested in December 2008 after he was caught breaking into a home in the 1700 block of 14th Avenue South along with three juveniles.
Following his arrest, court documents say, two detectives from the Seattle and Renton police departments interviewed Vong about other burglaries he’d been involved in. "As they drove around, Vong would direct them to specific houses he burglarized,” court records say. “Vong would tell the officers who was with him [during the burglaries], how they got in and what was taken." During the interview, records say Vong told detectives that "If windows or doors were locked, one of the crew would 'shoot' a window or glass door with a BB gun" to gain entry to homes. Court records say Vong showed officers approximately 20 different homes he’d burglarized all over King County, 13 of which were in South Seattle.
Prosecutors "stacked" 15 counts against Vong in the hopes of getting Vong off the streets for a maximum of six years.
In an interview earlier this month, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg told me that he believes "a very small number of offenders are responsible for the vast majority of burglaries" and estimates that about 150 people are responsible for the majority of the 15,565 burglaries reported in King County in 2008. "If we get longer sentences, when they're in prison they can't break into your house," Satterberg said.