BELLINGHAM - Police are asking for help in finding the man who tried to rape a coffee stand barista early Saturday, Aug. 25.
The incident happened at about 4:20 a.m. at the Cruisin Coffee in the 1000 block of Lakeway Drive, according to the Bellingham Police Department
The 25-year-old barista told police she was getting ready to open the stand for business when a man approached and asked her when it would open. She told him she would take his order in a few minutes. The man then reportedly reached in the stand, unlocked and opened the door, shut it behind him and attacked the woman.
He grabbed and groped her, pulled off some of her clothes and pushed her to the floor. She was able to fight him off and get him to leave. She received minor injuries that didn't require treatment, police said.
The man was last seen walking across Lakeway Drive toward Carl Cozier Elementary School. Police responded and used a dog to search the area, but were unable to find him.
The suspect was described as white, 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10 with a medium build. He was last seen wearing dark Carhartt-style pants, a gray hooded sweatshirt with a red stripe, and a baseball cap. He appeared to be in his 20s and had dark eyebrows.
Police spokesman Mark Young described the attacker as "brazen," and anyone who sees him should call 911. Anyone with information about the suspect is encouraged to call Detective Pauline Renick at 360-778-8754.
Cruisin Coffee's human resource director Kathleen White said that in 19 years of being in business, nothing like that had ever happened at any of its coffee stands. She said the company takes security seriously - the coffee stands have cameras, panic buttons and other safety features - but she said they are procedures to make sure employees are safe.
The company is doubling up on opening staff so no one is working alone in the morning, and is reviewing opening and closing procedures.
"Safety is just the most important thing to us," White said. "If there's anything we need to change to make sure our employees are safe, we'll do it."
White said the company has been working with the police department to help catch the suspect, and said they might have a good camera shot of him taken at the coffee stand.
The police contact number was updated Tuesday, Aug. 28.
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