BELLINGHAM - A Bellingham man suspected of trying to kidnap a teenage girl and a woman turned himself over to investigators Thursday afternoon, March 7.
Jake J. Unick, 27, of Bellingham, is suspected of trying to abduct a 13-year-old girl and a 24-year-old woman March 1, in separate attacks near Bellis Fair mall. Both times, police said, he ordered the victims to come with him and, when they refused, sprayed a strange substance in their eyes.
In the first case, the stranger ordered a teen to come with him at 8:20 a.m., while she waited for the school bus in the 700 block of West Bakerview Road, said Bellingham police spokesman Mark Young. When she refused, the suspect - described as a thin white man in his 20s, wearing jeans, a black hoodie and glasses with dark rims - punched her in the face. He then pulled out a spray bottle and squirted an unknown liquid into the girl's eyes, according to police. She ran home to tell her parents. By the time officers responded, the man was gone.
Eleven hours later, a 24-year-old woman told officers a man wearing glasses grabbed her arm from behind as she walked on the sidewalk in the 4100 block Aldrich Road. She screamed when he told her to come with him. He sprayed her in the face, too, and then ran toward West Bakerview, Young said. Police dogs couldn't find him.
Both victims described the suspect as 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-8, with light-colored facial hair.
Unick had been identified as a suspect earlier in the investigation, Young said. At 3 p.m. Thursday, police got a call from his attorney, who agreed to have him come down to the police station on Grand Avenue.
Police booked Unick into jail on suspicion of two counts of attempted kidnapping and a third count of kidnapping.
No details about the third charge are expected to be released until Friday. But it's not related to two other recent assaults on college-aged women near Western Washington University's main campus, Young said.
Unick has no history of felony convictions in Washington state.
A day before Unick's arrest, officers released two police sketches of the spray bottle suspect.
University police are still taking tips in the WWU assaults. Phone 360-650-3555 if you have information.
And if you see anything suspicious, call 911.