Pair pleads guilty to pawning jewelry burglarized in Bellingham crime spree

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 7, 2013 

BELLINGHAM - A Mount Vernon duo will serve jail time for pawning valuables stolen in a recent burglary spree at Bellingham businesses.

And this might not be the last chapter in the case against Darlene Marie Connor, 57, and Douglas Leif Jones, 44. According to prosecutors, they're still the prime suspects in 20 burglaries from early February to mid-March.

"That's not a big secret," said Deputy Prosecutor James Hulbert.

In each caper, thieves threw chunks of scrap concrete through storefront windows, then climbed in to steal cash, entire cash registers, jewelry and other goods.

On the night of March 13, witnesses saw a red Dodge Caravan parked in front of Fairhaven Antique Mall, 1201 11th St., according to charging documents. The driver honked the horn when he saw a bystander making a phone call. Someone lugged a cash register from the mall but dropped the loot while running into the van.

Officers traced the license plate of the van to its owner - Connor.

Police later learned that she and Jones had sold stolen jewelry - a butterfly brooch, an eagle pendant and other trinkets - to pawnshops in Skagit County.

Last week, Connor pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree trafficking in stolen property in an agreement that would put her in jail for six months. If the plea bargain is accepted by a judge, she will owe $17,600 in restitution.

Jones entered his guilty plea to identical crimes Thursday, June 6. Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Charles Snyder sentenced him to three months behind bars.

Detectives are trying to determine who stole the goods in the first place. Neither Jones nor Connor has been charged with burglary.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Dispatcher blog at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher or follow him on Twitter at @bhamcrime.

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