FERNDALE - A burglar has been sentenced to a year in prison after a rash of burglaries beleaguered downtown Ferndale businesses late last year.
In one month, police took more than a dozen reports of break-ins at downtown consignment stores, flower shops, restaurants and a dentist's office. All of them were later connected to Ryan Scott Cockerel, 25, who is also known as Ryan Scott Ludwigsen.
In each case, the burglar ransacked registers but touched almost nothing else. The biggest cash loss was $200; the value of the shattered glass was almost always more costly. Often the suspect got away with nothing.
A plainclothes officer caught Cockerel in the act of shattering the windows of a business at 3:30 a.m. Dec. 9, according to charging documents filed in Whatcom County Superior Court. Further investigation found more stores had their windows smashed early that morning.
In Cockerel's backpack, police found two bottles of wine - stolen that night from a property management company - and a flashlight. He later wrote a confession admitting to breaking into "less than 10" Ferndale business.
Some of the businesses were struck more than once. Floralescents Flowers & Gifts, for example, was hit three times in four nights.
Cockerel admitted that he was looking for fast cash so he could buy "smokes, alcohol and marijuana," according to the charges. Almost all of the shops he targeted were local businesses that, at the time, didn't have alarms or security cameras.
At his sentencing hearing Thursday, Feb. 7, he briefly addressed the court: "Sorry for what I did. I (got) in with the wrong crowd. I'm ready to show improvement."