Local

At first, post office patrons thought someone was shooting at them

A Sunday patron walks past windows that are covered in plywood after the weekend vandalism at the post office's Mount Baker Station on Orleans Street in Bellingham.
A Sunday patron walks past windows that are covered in plywood after the weekend vandalism at the post office's Mount Baker Station on Orleans Street in Bellingham. The Bellingham Herald

A Bellingham man angry with the federal government was arrested on suspicion of a felony after he broke more than 40 windows at the Barkley neighborhood post office Saturday afternoon, police said.

Witnesses to the 2:30 p.m. Saturday incident said it sounded like gunfire inside the building and many of them dived to the floor, seeking cover as pieces of glass flew into the customer-service area, lobby and hallways.

"Additional reports came into 911 that purported someone firing weapons into the post office’s front door," said Bellingham Police Lt. Don Almer.

Michael Wayne Zick, 45, was booked into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of first degree malicious mischief for breaking 44 windows at the U.S. Postal Service facility at 3150 Orleans St.

He remained in custody Monday morning on $15,000 bail.

Almer said officers who answered the 911 call saw Zick shattering the windows with a crowbar.

Meanwhile, a supervisor who was working in his office Saturday said he called police and helped usher customers away from the windows.

"I was at my desk and someone yelled 'Call 911,' " said Derek Solberg, a supervisor at the Mount Baker Station.

He said he heard shattering glass and sounded that resembled gunfire.

"That's what it sounded like at first," Solberg said. "We helped get everyone in the back and locked all the doors."

Later, Solberg said a clerk at the front windows told him that a man was smashing the windows with a hammer.

Solberg said damage was about $20,000.

It was the second such incident at a public building this month.

Emmanuel Gonzalez of Bellingham was arrested for first-degree malicious mischief in connection with an April 12 rampage at Fairhaven Station, a train and bus terminal.

A contractor swept the glass and boarded the windows, Solberg said.

There were no real service interruptions, Solberg said.

He said the office closed about 20 minutes early Saturday and is closed Sundays.

It was open as usual Monday, he said..

0430 PO vandal 3.jpeg
Windows were shattered in the Mount Baker Station's lobby, service area and hallways containing post office boxes. Robert Mittendorf The Bellingham Herald

Zick suffered cuts on his fingers from smashing the glass, but no other injuries were reported, Almer said.

First degree malicious mischief, which is damage of more than $5,000, is a class B felony under Washington state law.

Maximum penalty is 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine.

Zick was convicted of three counts of burglary in April 1998 in Whatcom County and of possession of stolen property in 2007 in Skagit County.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

0430 PO vandal 2.jpeg
Doors and windows were boarded shut Sunday at the post office's Mount Baker Station in Bellingham. Robert Mittendorf The Bellingham Herald

  Comments