Thieves hit the neighborhood impacted by the Bellevue landslide but didn’t get away with much, thanks to one brave 77-year-old woman.
Residents have been evacuated from seven homes in the neighborhood since the slide on Monday, and burglars tried to take advantage.
Neighbor Dan Thai said looters even took a couple of bags and some bolt cutters from the partially collapsed home, which is still leaning in a precarious position. He said neighbors used the bolt cutters to steal two bikes from his home.
But when criminals targeted the home of George and Judy Olson, they found someone was home and ready to defend their property.
Judy Olson was home alone Thursday morning. She said she was worried someone would try to break in.
“I think this is bees to honey, with all these empty houses,” Olson said.
And sure enough, around 7:30 a.m. Thursday, she says she heard a noise.
“Somebody was outside on the deck trying the doorknobs, so I took my gun and my mace,” Olson said.
“Then I heard, ‘Bam, bam, bam!’ And I thought, ‘Did something fall over in the deck?’ And that’s when I came over right here (to the top of the steps). He got in in 10 seconds,” Olson said.
She says she held a pellet gun firmly at her side and got ready. She couldn’t see the intruder’s face – just his legs, because of the angle.
“I thought, ‘OK, I’m going to use my biggest voice, my most aggressive-sounding voice. It’s happening, the thing I feared the most is happening, and I can handle this,’” Olson said.
“I said, ‘You get the hell out of my house!’ And he went, ‘Holy crap!’ and left,” she said.
Olson is 77, and her husband is nearly 82.
“We’re no young spring chickens. But I’ve lived for a long time and I’m not going to let somebody come in and do that to me,” Olson said. “They’re not afraid, they’re aggressive — until he saw my gun.”
“I was scared and I was proud. They picked the wrong house because, as it turned out, we were the second house they attempted to burglarize, and they got out of the area,” said her husband, George Olson.
Neighbors checking on their homes Friday say they believe Judy Olson stopped thieves from getting away with more.
“Brave lady, my goodness. Very admirable,” said Jeiling Zhang, a neighbor.
“Just, like, oh wow! She’s our hero now,” said Roy Goh, another neighbor.
Bellevue Police are providing 24/7 security in the neighborhood, which residents say brings great peace of mind.
Crews restored power to the neighborhood Friday. Bellevue Police said officers won’t stop residents from returning, but the city of Bellevue said until the collapsed house is stabilized, people really should avoid the area.
When that work will start is still being figured out.