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Surveillance in serial killer case draws mixed reaction

News that a person of interest in the Bremerton serial killer investigation is under round-the-clock surveillance by police, combined with the fact that surveillance video shows him purchasing a knife shortly before one of the attacks, drew a bit of a mixed reaction from Bremerton residents this week.

Sidney Collins, a Silverdale resident who has owned Fraiche Cup in the Harborside district for more than three years, summed up what many others feel about the ongoing investigation.

“I know I had heard that they know who he was and hadn’t arrested him,” Collins said. “We were like, if you know who he is and what he did, then why haven’t you arrested him. We’re just confused.”

On the other hand, the fact that the person of interest remains under surveillance, is somewhat comforting, Collins said.

“If they do know who it is, I guess we do feel more comfortable walking from our garage four blocks away at 4 o’clock in the morning,” Collins said. “And, as the owner, I feel better about the young twenty-something girls that work here.”

One of those girls is Collins’ daughter who picks up another coworker before the pair walks together from the garage to the coffee shop.

“They still have mace on their key rings that they carry in their hands,” Collins said.

In the end, Collins believes that police are doing everything they can to keep people safe.

“I do trust our police department,” she said. “There must be a reason they have not arrested this guy.”

Karen Holt, who works for the Kitsap Health District at the Norm Dicks Government Center, said she has followed the investigation.

“I’ve seen the posters up and the Bremerton Police Department sent an alert out to all the tenants in the government center,” Holt said.

But, even though she’s aware of the ongoing investigation, Holt isn’t very worried about her own personal safety.

“I don’t feel afraid to be downtown,” Holt said. “I guess I’d be really loud if something happened. I’m not down here when I’m vulnerable or alone so I’m not very fearful. Perhaps I should be.”

Like a lot of people, East Bremerton resident Sheenah James says she’s aware of the investigation, but doesn’t really follow the news.

“One of my friends was commenting about it a couple of months ago on Facebook, but I don’t really watch the news a whole lot,” James said. “When it’s not brought up, people forget about it and kind of get comfortable.”

When asked about the fact that a person of interest is under surveillance, James expressed some discomfort and wondered about the legality of such an operation.

“It’s kind of weird that they would have somebody under surveillance,” James said. “If they don’t have evidence, it seems like that would be profiling.”

The Bremerton Police Department put out a pair of sketches of the person of interest before locating him and interviewing him. The police have also executed five search warrants where the person of interest was seen or thought to be staying. No arrests have been made and police have released very little information about the investigation. After the person of interest was interviewed, many residents and business owners were confused about whether they should take down or leave up the posters with the sketches. That confusion, in large part, still exists.

 

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