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In Bellevue, Watch Thief Busted in Community Effort

Bellevue Mayor Charlie Cleves shared this story of an attempted burglary from his family's jewelry store. It has been published here with only light changes to the text and some punctuation adjustments.

On Tuesday, June 30, 2020, a man came into the Cleves and Lonnemann Jewelers and asked to see men’s and ladies’ Rolex watches. That is where this story begins.

I think most of you know that I have spent most of my life working in, owning and managing Cleves and Lonnemann, and have now turned the operation over to my son, Mike. I was supposed to retire, but Mike won’t let me so I work part-time in the store, and devote much of my time to being the mayor of Bellevue.

The gentleman who asked for the Rolex watches came back later after my son, Mike, left for lunch. My wife, Mary Lynn, waited on the customer in question both times.

On the second visit, he asked if he could see the watches again and immediately ran out the front door with the two Rolex watches.

Mary Lynn chased after him and yelled, ”Help! Stop him!” She alerted everyone on the (Fairfield) Avenue something bad was happening.

Larry Brondhaver from Avenue Brew across the street saw the guy run out the door and went after the culprit down Fairfield Avenue.

At the same time, a young Bellevue couple, Jason Bastin and Sydney Hiance, were jogging by Twice as Nice Antiques when they heard the shouting. Both Jason and Sydney joined the chase. Sydney passed Larry and continued down Fairfield while Jason passed Mary Lynn running down Taylor and then turning left down the alley behind Dobbling’s Funeral Home.

When Jason got to Lafayette (Ave.), he lost sight of the guy. Enter two more good Samaritans: Frank Faragone and Paul Rhoden, who work for the Whitehorse Freight company under Crawford Insurance. They saw the chase and directed Jason to where the thief was going. 

Next, an older gentleman, from Tom Rechtin Heating & Air Conditioning, pulled over his van and joined the chase on foot. The reference to the “older gentleman” came from Jason in the police report. I thought that was funny. Don’t you just love the way Jason described Mike Fitters of Bellevue? I do.

Mary Lynn now gets to Berry Avenue and runs across Frank and Paul who give her directions and let her use their cell phone. Mike and Jason have now caught up with the suspect and are being told by him that he has a gun. But Mike had his concealed carry gun with him and told the suspect so. 

All of this commotion was being listened to by the 9-1-1 operator. 

The chase now starts starts across the front parking lot of the Bellevue Plaza (L.A. Fitness building). Before the suspect reached Patchen, three police cruisers converge on him and arrest him. Both Rolex watches were recovered at this time.

The officers were Trevor Bonar, Michael Taylor and Jon McClain. Yes, there is a real Bellevue policeman named Jon McClain and not a fictional one from Die Hard movie. City Administrator Frank Warnock calls Jon, "Alpha Man."

There are not many communities where people go out of their way to help someone they don’t even know. Our family is so appreciative for everyone’s help. Thanks to you all.

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