Man arrested in downtown Bellingham burglary spree - again

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJanuary 22, 2014 

BELLINGHAM - Two days after Douglas Leif Jones was released from jail for his role in a series of Bellingham burglaries, similar break-ins began at downtown businesses.

In each crime spree, front door glass or windows at downtown businesses were broken out with scrap concrete, according to police. Cash from registers and items that could be carried were stolen.

Jones served a six-month sentence for trafficking in stolen property after the first spree, which hit 20 businesses from December 2012 to March 13, 2013.

He was released from Whatcom County Jail on Aug, 29, 2013. By Aug. 31, police were taking reports from downtown business owners who found broken doors and missing items when they arrived at work.

At least 25 businesses were hit during the latest spree, which ended Tuesday, Jan. 21, with Jones' arrest. The 44-year-old was jailed on suspicion of second-degree burglary, malicious mischief and theft, with more charges likely, according to police.

After the smash-and-grab burglaries started again in August, police immediately suspected Jones, but he could not be tracked down, said Bellingham police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht.

Jones traveled up and down the Interstate 5 corridor, making it difficult for police to find him, Vander Yacht said.

Meanwhile, businesses up and down the corridor reported similar-style burglaries, including in Marysville, Mount Vernon, Burlington and Arlington.

Places hit during the sprees varied, from antique malls to coffee shops. The weekend of Nov. 22, 2013, a restaurant, a nonprofit thrift shop and a pet groomer were all targeted.

In most cases, what was stolen was worth less than the cost of replacing the broken glass.

Police finally caught a break when they learned Jones might be staying with a friend in the 2800 block of Victor Street in Bellingham. For about a week patrols kept an eye out for him in the area. He was spotted Tuesday and detained about 11:30 a.m., Vander Yacht said.

Jones admitted to involvement in many, but not all, of the recent spree of concrete smash-and-grab burglaries, Vander Yacht said.

In the earlier spree, Jones and Darlene M. Connor, then 56, were convicted for their involvement. Investigators believe Jones acted alone this time.

Detectives from Arlington, Mount Vernon and Burlington police agencies are questioning Jones about burglaries in those jurisdictions.

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