Three young men have been sentenced to 18 months in prison for robbing a stranger at gunpoint in downtown Bellingham.
On the night of Feb. 7, a man reported that two or three masked men exited a white car when they saw him walking in the 1100 block of North Garden Street. The suspects ordered the man to throw his stuff on the ground, according to charging papers. One man aimed a handgun at him. So he surrendered his backpack, cell phone and wallet. Another man with a switchblade collected the items. The suspects rode off in what looked like a Honda Civic or Accord on Chestnut Street.
Over the next half-hour, the 22-year-old man’s Chase credit card was used at a 7-Eleven on Lakeway Drive, and at a McDonald’s on King Street, the charges say.
Police used security footage from those purchases to identify the suspects. One of the suspects, Jesus Ruiz, 17, wore a bandana around his neck in the footage, according to court records. Another suspect, Israel Acevedo San Juan Jr., 19, wore the same jacket in the 7-Eleven as a photo posted to his Facebook page.
Detectives identified Ruiz, Acevedo San Juan Jr., and Manuel Morado, 17, as the trio who jumped out of the car, said Deputy Prosecutor Brandon Waldron. All three were charged as adults, and pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery. They were handed sentences of 18 months each.
A fourth suspect in the car, Gilbert Adrian Longoria, 17, was charged as an adult too. On Wednesday he admitted to second-degree identity theft in Juvenile Court for participating in the post-robbery trip to McDonald’s. He was sentenced to 30 days in juvenile detention and a year on probation.
The Bellingham Herald names minors who are charged in adult courts.
The driver, Randi Ann Marie Reppart, 20, pleaded guilty to second-degree rendering criminal assistance. She told police she knew Longoria but not the teens who carried out the robbery. (They were friends of friends, she said).
Reppart acknowledged driving the young men around after the robbery, however. She was sentenced to a year in jail, with all but 15 days suspended.