He pointed a pistol at a Fred Meyer employee and fled

The Fred Meyer grocery store on West Bakerview Road in Bellingham.
The Fred Meyer grocery store on West Bakerview Road in Bellingham. pdwyer@bellinghamherald.com

A Lynden man was arrested Wednesday in Sedro-Woolley in connection with an alleged armed robbery last month in North Bellingham.

Jimmy Raymond Abitia, 23, was booked into Whatcom County Jail about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday on charges of first-degree robbery, third-degree theft, and a state Department of Corrections detainer warrant.

Bellingham Police Lt. Don Almer said Abitia was arrested in Sedro-Woolley by police who knew he was wanted in Bellingham. They brought him to a gas station in Alger, where he was handed over to Bellingham officers.

Abitia remained in custody Thursday, according to jail records.

Almer said a man, later identified as Abitia, pointed a pistol at a Fred Meyer store employee during an incident about 7 p.m. Nov. 24 at the Bakerview Road store.

“The suspect had been witnessed inside the business taking merchandise in a basket from the business and leaving the business after making no attempt to pay for the merchandise,” Almer said. “When the suspect exited the business, some of the merchandise’s security measures activated and an alarm sounded.”

A Fred Meyer employee followed Abitia to a car and questioned him about the theft. Abitia drew a semiautomatic pistol from his waistband and pointed it at the employee, Almer said.

“The loss-prevention officer fled, the suspect entered the vehicle as a passenger and the vehicle rapidly left Fred Meyer,” Almer said. “The merchandise (most of it recovered) totaled approximately $220.”

Information about the driver was not immediately available.

According to court records, Abitia is facing trial next month for possession of a stolen vehicle. He has previous convictions for possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, second-degree assault and second-degree malicious mischief.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty