BELLINGHAM -- The Bellingham Police Department is searching for a suspect likely linked to two attempted abductions on Friday, March 1, near Bellis Fair mall in north Bellingham.
At 8:20 a.m., a 13-year-old girl was waiting for the school bus on the 700 block of West Bakerview Road when a man approached and told her to come with him. When the girl refused, the suspect punched her in the face and sprayed her in the eyes with an unknown substance, according to police.
The suspect did not follow the girl as she ran home to report the assault to her parents. She was checked by medics and taken to the hospital as a precaution but did not suffer any injuries.
In the second incident, which occurred 11 hours later but less than a mile away, a 24-year-old woman was walking on the 4100 block of Aldrich Road at 7:10 p.m. when a suspect came up behind her and grabbed her arm. The suspect in that incident also sprayed the victim with an unknown substance and told her to come with him. The woman refused and yelled, and the suspect was last seen running toward West Bakerview Road. The woman was checked by medics and she had no injuries.
In both cases, the victims described the suspect as a white male in his 20s with lighter-colored facial hair, between 5 foot 5 inches and 5 foot 7 inches tall with a thin build. He was wearing dark-rimmed glasses, blue jeans and a dark-colored jacket.
Both areas were searched by police but no suspect was found. There was no vehicle reported in either incident.
While police are not certain both incidents involved the same suspect, Bellingham police spokesman Mark Young said the general description of the suspect and the details of both assaults make it highly likely they are related.
Young also said the substance sprayed in both victims' faces was not pepper spray, but caused a similar irritation.
Anyone with information about either assault should contact Bellingham Police Detective Jana Bouzek at 360-778-8826.