Monday, September 26, 2016

Homeless Man Seen Regularly In Laurelhurst, Known To Chase People Home And Act In Aggressive, Frightening Manner

Photo from Neil Wright

The Laurelhurst Blog Staff has received, over the last many months, numerous emails about a homeless Caucasian male, 27 years old with shoulder length brown hair, that has been seen frequently walking around the neighborhood, as well as in other northeast Seattle neighborhoods.

The individual, named Andrei Peter Strejac, was for many months, wearing very dirty tan pants torn at the bottom, dark jacket, at times a blue poncho, knit hat times a surgical mask over his face, hiking boots and wears glasses.

More recently he has cut his quite dirty hair to above the shoulders, still has a scraggly beard and now wears jeans along with the same black jacket and more recently white tennis shoes.

Andrei told a neighbor that graduated from Roosevelt High School in 2008 and attended Laurelhurst Elementary School and that's why he likes coming back to the neighborhood. He added that he had never been on an airplane and this his mother lives outside of Seattle and he doesn't know where father is. 

For many months in the early spring and summer, Andrei was regularly seen walking eastbound on NE 45th Street in the late afternoons, sometimes walking northbound on 46th and 47th Avenues NE and usually walking around the Park many times in the early evening.

The last few months he has been seen less frequently in the park and surrounding streets. He was most recently seen at the Rite-Aid in Wedgwood on Friday. Neighbors report seeing him regularly on the Burke-Gilman Trail, asking for food at various restaurants, such as St. Helens and  over the summer was seen in Bryant, Wedgewood, Hawthorne Hills.

This summer, Andrei was seen many times sleeping in the Laurelhurst Park near the Tennis courts, sometimes sleeping next to another male.  He has also been seen sleeping amongst the bushes by the garbage enclosure just outside of the Community Center to the south.    Neighbors said that he hides his brown sleeping bag in a clear plastic bag under the brush during the day.

The Laurelhurst Blog received many reports from neighbors, one in particular who reported, as detailed below, being chased by Andrei to her house in Laurelhurst from the Burke-Gilman Trail.

In November, 2010 Andrei followed a North Seattle man home and tried to steal his bag from the man's porch. Andrei was charged with attempted second-degree robbery.

The information says:

A North Seattle man is in hot water after he allegedly became angry at a fellow bus rider, followed him home and then urinated on the man's porch. He then tried to steal the victim's computer bag and punched him, according to charges filed in King County Superior Court.  The victim said he followed the men and Strejac dropped the bag. But one of the other men began threatening to fight the victim. Strejac then punched the victim in the face, breaking the man's glasses, charges said.

Here is a record of Andrei being booked by King County Department of Detention in March 2016.

Here are reports regarding Andrei in the last year as received by the Laurelhurst Blog: 

I was walking the Laurelhurst Park track loop and saw a dog rushing out of the big bush area just south of the Community Center, next to the garbage enclosure. A homeless man was growling at the dog, chasing him away. The dog didn't hurt the man. He fled from him.


The homeless man behaves aggressively toward neighborhood dogs, gawking at young girls and ladies in shorts playing at the Park and around the neighborhood. We saw him look into a bag holding athletic supplies once at the park.

We have called the police about this young man. Police encourage 911 calls if he is seen behaving suspiciously or inappropriately in our neighborhood. They also say to call 911 asap if he's seen camping anywhere in Laurelhurst as this is illegal. 911 calls must be made immediately, upon observing him. They encourage the calls so this man doesn't become entrenched in Laurelhurst as a homeless resident.

Unfortunately, I didn't stop one of my morning walks to call 911 when I saw this man leaving his camp site in the trees at the Park and growling at a dog.  I believe that most neighbors need to be told and/or reminded to call 911 immediately upon seeing any unsavory behavior or sign that he's camping in our neighborhood so we can nip this in the bud, before this man and/or any other homeless folks become entrenched in our neighborhood. I believe we all need this reminder and information that he's become a "regular" in Laurelhurst - camping in our park. This would help us become aware of the situation and stay on top of it.

I saw the homeless man sleeping on the grass strip, opposite Chase Bank and the condominiums, above the gas station, on NE 50th Street. He goes in the various shops for candy and has asked for coffee at Windermere.  He also hangs out at the bus shed at Sand Point Village resting about mid day. He's been s fixture for quite a while. I am worried for him, not about him.  Neighbors have been wondering where he sleeps.
I don’t know if he is a threat or not. He certainly looks healthy, but ragged. 
The Laurelhurst Blog Staff contacted Seattle Police Department's Officer Michael Lanz ( with pictures and reports of his behavior who responded saying:
Regarding Suspicious male in / around park. Officers did a check of the Park and spoke to Parks Department staff, who reported they had seen this male before and they are aware of him (they do not know his name).   He is seen at times in the Park and at time in other areas of the U-District.  I did a check and it does not appear Officers have made contact with him yet.   I will send this information to district officers so they are aware and can do more checks of the park.  I will also pass this info onto our CRT unit (who looks into subjects possibly suffering from mental issues).  If people using the park see him and are concerned about his behavior feel free to call 911 and have an officer come out. If the suspicious / homeless man is seen and there is some public safety concern / or the male is some kind of crisis call 911.   Request contact with the officer to give them all details necessary and request the officer document the incident in a police report and get a case number for the report. The police report should get forwarded to our Crisis Response Team (CRT) for follow up. Remember, all police officers are trained in Crisis Response.  Officers have the training and resources to make the appropriate decision if the person is contacted.   The parks department is aware of this information as well.

When I ate at Sand Point Grill on a Friday night he was at the inside entryway.

The homeless man  is seen very often recently in Laurelhurst. Several neighbors and I have seen him daily in Laurelhurst Park, sleeping under bushes near garbage enclosure, behaving aggressively toward neighborhood dogs, gawking at young ladies in shorts.   I saw this man leaving his camp site in the trees and growling at a dog several days ago. 

I have seen this man in the neighborhood many times, including walking up the hill from the Beach Club, walking by Laurelhurst School and walking up NE 45th Street toward the Park. Because we have been told to phone 911 for activity like this, I phoned 911 and was switched to the non-emergency line. I waited 45 minutes on hold to report this man since it's illegal to sleep in our Park. 
Laurelhurst Community Club Security Patrol reported that on May 18th, they "followed up with the Seattle Parks Department and Community Center regarding transient in the park - he moved along out of the park." 

Laurelhurst Elementary has reported him to police more than once this year, Eckstein Elementary has reported him several times for trespassing and not leaving when asked, and have heard from other neighbors that other schools or organizations have as well.  
Laurelhurst Elementary School sent this information to parents:  
Over the past few weeks, we have received reports of a “homeless man” lingering around the neighborhood. As a result, we stepped up our security (you may have seen our Head Teacher biking the perimeter in the mornings) and responded that if he ever steps foot on campus, or is perceived as a threat, we’ll call district security and/or the police. Today, at about 12:00, a man approached our kitchen door asking if we had any spare food. We immediately radioed for staff to keep their eyes on him and called security who advised us to call the police. The Head Teacher followed the man for a few blocks until he was called off by the police. Again, security is our paramount concern here, so thanks to all the vigilant families and neighbors who called the school to alert us of this situation. We have been advised by security and police that if you see an individual or situation that feels suspicious or threatening, call the police. Don’t confront or engage, as you could be putting yourself in harm’s way. After you have reported it to the police, if it is something that feels relevant for the school to know, please call or email the school office to keep us informed. 
I saw him and another homeless man asleep in Laurelhurst Park one morning.  Another man was asleep under a blue tarp next to him and he looked like he had most of his clothes off and there was debris and food and alcohol bottles scattered all around them.  The homeless man obviously needs social services and ignoring his needs may lead to his further decline. We noticed that a young jogger was scared of him, saying he was walking erratically. 
We were walking our dog one early morning in the park and saw two homeless tents.  They were set up on the north west side between the soccer field and the tennis courts.  The next day the tents were gone.   
The homeless man knocked on our door and asked if we needed any help with yard work.  We told him that we didn't and he proceeded to step forward towards us, becoming angry, aggressive and argumentative telling us he really needed the work and that we weren't nice.  From this experience we feel this man is threatening and scary to interact with or be near. 
I am a female and about 7:30pm one evening, Andree chased me while I was jogging on the Burke Gilman trail all the way to my home on the corner of 49th Avenue NE and NE 50th Streets.  He was walking on the trail towards me and then turned around before I passed him to face the same direction as I neared the Princeton bridge. He even looked back to see if I was still coming before I quickly passed him. He then apparently followed me running as I ran up the steep hill on 50th Avenue NE by the gas station and Chase Bank to my home, about a ½ a mile and most of it is up hill. I didn't look back to notice and even ran across Sand Point Way from the trail ramp to the trail. When I got home and certainly wasn't thinking he would have run up the hill after me, I was in my front yard fixing plants before I took out me key to go inside. When I looked back and before putting the key in my door, there he was across the street watching me. I am a competitive runner and he must have been running fast to chase me. It was very scary. I called the Police, but it took them almost two hours to arrive.   He isn't safe as many thought. We have learned from a neighbor he is schizophrenic.   Be careful and walk in the neighborhood and on the trail with a friend. I now run on the trail and in our neighborhood almost daily, with a lot more caution.  Andrei not only knows where I live, but he is targeting random people who are alone in the neighborhood. We don't allow our children outside, to go to the park or even around the block without an adult or at least one other older person.  I was fast enough in my running to get home and when I turned to look he was behind me, but many won’t be fast enough.  
We talked to him one evening and he told us he went to Laurelhurst Elementary School and graduated from Roosevelt High School, so he may have grown up in the area. He said he doesn't know where his father is and his mother is in Federal Way but said "she can't help me."  Perhaps he isn’t looking to leave since he is from this area. 
This man is not stable and has trespassed at three northeast neighborhood schools, more than once, and his actions are getting more aggressive.  
I have seen this man in the neighborhood while walking many times.  He appeared to be minding his own business then started chasing me.   
Several neighbors have said that he has tried to jump at them while they have been biking on the Burke-Gilman Trail, trying to knock them off their bikes.  
I heard that he has yelled obscenities at the Safety Patrol crossing guards at Laurelhurst Elementary.  
He's been around the University Village and Viewridge area for several months.I've seen him go in local restaurants in area to use the restroom. Sometimes he stays for tea or coffee.  
He and another guy have been trading off sleeping on the previous bus stop bench on the north side of NE 45th Street at 43rd Ave NE. I saw the other guy leaving the bench at 6am.  
My concern is we have two schools very close and many kids around. My friends daughter was walking their large dog in the morning and left when she saw him as she was scared. Where is the neighborhood private Security Patrol we pay for?  
I will be calling next time I see him. I feel bad for him and he obviously needs help.  
The police walked through Laurelhurst park on May 23rd with a photo of Andrei and many of those in the Park confirmed they had seen him and that they saw his things by the tennis courts. The police found the items but not Andrei.

After my scary incident being chased from the Burke Gilman Trail in May, the police contacted me and said that Andrei had been brought in by police for an outstanding previous warrant just a few days before we talked, but let out again, which the officer said usually happens with not enough evidence.  The Officer added that Andrei has had “extensive dealings with the police” with the incidents escalating in the past few years. The officer said that in the past three years, more reports have been filed against him and that they had been escalating in type of incident. The Officer shared that if he and his family lived in this neighborhood, he would want to know about this and share with his wife and children to be extra careful, never walk or exercise alone in the surrounding neighborhoods. The police can’t bring him in unless he actually touches someone or does something more aggressive than chasing people, but can’t bear to let that happen to anyone. It was scary enough being chased as a full grown adult when the sun was still out. I no longer feel safe in my own neighborhood. Thank goodness I am ok but my family has been in lock down mode, per Police advice.  This man has been known to be violent in the past and possibly off his mental health medications.


A friend said that Andrei had tried to scare him, by jumping towards him on the Burke Gilman Trail while he was riding his bike, to try and make him fall. He barely got by him and headed home.   
Following up again after the May scary chasing incident with Andrei, the SPD Officer continues to be in touch with me to see if I have seen him near my home lately. My friends and next door neighbor say he continues to walk by.

Several neighbors report that they wished they had immediately called the Police as they were  threatened by Andrei while riding on the Burke Gilman Trail near the Princeton Bridge. Others have seen him many times walking around the neighborhood.   
I have seen a white male approx age 25-30, dark brown almost  black hair leaving on a bicycle in the morning from Laurelhurst. Yesterday he was on bicycle with a backpack and wheeling a blue suitcase along side him.  He was coming from the Center for Urban Horticulture area.   
I was driving next to him and the light at NE 45th Street was red and when the light changed the homeless man crossed NE 45th Street and went into the Lakeside Medical Dental building covered garage. Another time we saw him  carrying several items in his hands while riding a bicycle and came from Surber Drive.  With Laurelhurst burglaries and car prowling, I found this behavior suspicious. 

For the past month we are seeing more homeless in the playfield. Please be aware and be cautious. Some parks have developed serious problems with drugs and needles.

We saw Children's Hospital Security parked on NE 45th Street near the Park with their lights flashing and they said that Andrei had been looking into cars and trying to get in to some in the Hospital parking lot.  Security was parked there as they were waiting for the Seattle Police to arrive talk with him about the incidents and remove him from the Park where he was sleeping near the tennis courts.

I am the female runner who was chased in May.  We still see Andrei in the neighborhood.  We don't let our children take the public bus to school, as we know Andrei takes the City bus as we saw him around 3pm on a Wednesday walking into the back side of Children’s to wait at the bus stop. 

No comments: