Purse snatching suspect jumps in Whatcom Creek, arrested downstream


BELLINGHAM - A suspected purse snatcher couldn't outswim the law Wednesday evening, May 15, when he jumped into Whatcom Creek during a failed getaway.

A tall man snagged the purse from a 61-year-old Bellingham woman at 5:04 p.m. while she walked to her car in an alley behind the 100 block of Unity Street. The woman told police that just as she reached for her car keys, the man came up from behind her. He pulled the purse with such force that she spun around and fell down. She wasn't seriously hurt.

Moments later, an officer saw Roy Joe Taylor Jr., 33, a 6-foot-5 white man, carrying the handbag near Whatcom Radiator and Battery, 1800 N. State St. Taylor took off running and, during the brief foot chase, ditched the purse, then jumped into Whatcom Creek, said Bellingham police spokesman Mark Young.

Officers welcomed him ashore about 100 feet downstream from the Meador Avenue bridge, handcuffed him and booked him into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of second-degree robbery, second-degree possession of stolen property and obstructing law enforcement.

Taylor, a Bellingham resident, had been released from jail less than a month ago after serving a 15-day sentence for riding a stolen bicycle worth $1,400, according to court records. Someone had painted the frame with dull-black spray paint. But a friend of the owner recognized the bike's red brake cables, green handgrips and leopard-print seat when Taylor was riding it April 8 in Sunset Square.

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