BELLINGHAM - A home-invasion robbery in Sehome neighborhood ended early Thursday, July 24, when the robbers were stabbed with pruning shears, according to the Bellingham Police Department.
Detectives said they believe Matthew Joseph Wright, 21, and Anthony Luis Delgado, 22, were armed with handguns around 3 a.m. when they broke into a home in the 800 block of Newell Street. Three residents in their early 20s were awake playing Xbox in the living room, said Lt. Bob Vander Yacht.
The robbers ordered the three men to get down on the floor and to surrender their cellphones and wallets. A fourth resident heard the commotion and locked himself in his room.
One of the gunmen pistol-whipped one of the victims, 21, three times in the head, Vander Yacht said. One gunshot - possibly fired during the beating - left a fresh bullet hole in the ceiling.
Another resident grabbed a pair of pruning shears with 3- or 4-inch blades and stabbed Wright in the back of his head and in the back. He then struck Delgado, who ran outside with a slashed face. The suspects left a trail of blood as they fled.
Vander Yacht didn't know, off-hand, how the man got the shears; detectives were still piecing together exactly what happened as of Thursday afternoon.
The 21-year-old victim was given aid but didn't need to go to the hospital.
Officers, sheriff deputies and police dogs searched the neighborhood, but didn't find the men.
Vander Yacht said one of the residents said he recognized Wright, and that Wright knew the resident had a medical marijuana card and that there might be marijuana in the home. So police don't think it was a random break-in, although they have yet to confirm whether the robbers plotted to steal marijuana, Vander Yacht said.
Both suspects were arrested when they showed up at a Skagit County hospital claiming they had been robbed, Vander Yacht said. Wright needed staples to close his wounds; Delgado had a less serious cut to his face.
Mount Vernon police responded to take victim statements but soon made the connection that Bellingham detectives were looking for Wright and Delgado. They were stitched up before being booked into Whatcom County Jail at 9:50 a.m.
Wright and Delgado face charges of first-degree robbery, first-degree assault, first-degree burglary and reckless endangerment. Police believe a girlfriend of one of the suspects, Corey Marchell Patzer, 24, drove them to the hospital. She has been taken to jail on suspicion of aiding and abetting the men.
Wright and Patzer have ties to the Spokane area; Wright and Delgado had been listed as "transient" in police files.
So far, police have not recovered the handguns, Vander Yacht said Thursday afternoon. Detectives continued to investigate and carry out search warrants.
Anyone with information that might be helpful is asked to call Detective Pauline Renick at 360-778-8754 or the Bellingham police tip line at 360-778-8611.
Reach Caleb Hutton at email@example.com or 360-715-2276. Read his Dispatcher blog at bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher-blog or get updates on Twitter at @bhamcrime.