BELLINGHAM - Before his arrest, a Bellingham man confessed to his girlfriend he tried to kidnap a teenage girl and a woman using pepper spray he stole from her car, according to prosecutors.
Charging documents filed this week allege Jake J. Unick, 27, grabbed a 13-year-old girl early March 1, while she walked to her bus stop on West Bakerview Road. He allegedly told her to come with him, "or else." She shouted, "No!"
So the thin white man - who wore round glasses, a dark hoodie and jeans - punched her in the face and sprayed something orange into her eyes, according to the charges filed in Whatcom County Superior Court. She collapsed and struggled to breathe.
"I thought he was going to kidnap me and do bad things to me," she later told police. But the man ran off.
Eleven hours later, a woman in her 20s called police saying a thin white man - who wore glasses, a dark hoodie and jeans - tried to kidnap her. She'd been walking home from the Fred Meyer on West Bakerview Road when she saw a figure trailing her in the dark.
"What's the matter?" she had asked. "Do you need something?"
The man ran at her, grabbed her arm from behind and shot her in the face with an orange-red spray that burned in her eyes, wrote Deputy Prosecutor Mac D. Setter. As she bent down to wipe her eyes, the man ordered her to come with him. She agreed, but then he sprayed her again. So she pushed him away and screamed until she got home.
Police couldn't find the attacker.
Three nights later, a 2-year-old girl got separated from her parents at the Bakerview Fred Meyer, where Unick worked. Employees guarded every exit in the store. They couldn't find the toddler for 10 minutes. Then a manager saw Unick, who wasn't working at the time, return from a parking lot with the girl in his arms. Catching his breath, he claimed the girl told him, "Mommy outside," so he'd taken her to the parking lot to look for her parents, according to the charges. He jogged away.
The next day curious coworkers found security footage allegedly showing Unick grabbing the girl by the hand when she briefly separated from her parents. He hurried past the customer service desk, past the sliding glass doors and into the dark parking lot, according to the charges.
Detectives found out the girl didn't speak English and didn't know the word "outside." A medical exam showed she hadn't been hurt.
Just before Unick's arrest, his girlfriend confronted him.
"He finally admitted to her that he was the attacker and that he had used her pepper spray kept in her car," Setter wrote. "She asked him what he intended to do with the 13- and 24-year-olds. He would only say he didn't know."
She dug out her pepper spray. It weighed less than before. She told Unick to go to his parents' home and confess, according to the charges. Officers arrested Unick last week when he agreed to go to the police station on Grand Avenue.
He's now being held in Whatcom County Jail on charges of two counts of first-degree attempted kidnapping, two counts of second-degree assault and one count of luring a child.
Friends of Unick said he has a history of mental illness. Even if he can post $1 million bond, he must undergo a mental health evaluation before getting cleared for release.
His court record lists two recent homes: a house in the 200 block of East Pole Road and an apartment down the street from the Bakerview Fred Meyer.