For years, the Seattle Police Department and the Washington State Patrol worked to arrest and bring charges against Seth Germain, the man responsible for breaking into a multitude of Seattle-area homes and businesses, stealing valuables and vehicles. Germain frequently targeted high-end automobiles; vehicles often left in open garages with the keys in them because owners assumed they were safe within gated communities.
In the end, Germain willingly gave extensive confessions to two law enforcement officers who were knowledgeable and patient enough to build a solid case against him.
“Tom [Zielinski] and Scotty [Bach] are both extremely skilled interviewers, and it was their persistence and thoroughness that provided us with enough evidence to effectively prosecute this case,” said Doug Young, senior deputy prosecuting attorney who works with the car theft initiative group.
Bach, of the Seattle Police Department, and Zielinski, who worked for Washington State Patrol at the time and is now with the King County Sheriff’s Department, picked up Germain several times and took him on drives with them. The officers built a rapport with him so that he was soon telling them about burglaries he committed and reciting to the officers specific lists of items he stole that matched crime reports. Germain told Bach and Zielinski about drive-by shootings he had been involved in and eventually plead to a previous assault along with residential burglaries, car theft, and unlawful possession of a firearm.
“Sometimes we have to decline cases with insufficient evidence to prosecute. Scotty and Tom understood what we needed and provided us with everything necessary to put this guy away,” Young said. “We’re happy if we can get 3-4 years for car theft; that’s about the most that Washington’s sentencing scheme allows. Here, we had enough so that the judge sentenced Germain to 10 years in prison. All the credit goes to these two for the work they did.”