Police: Backcountry Essentials owner attacked after robbery

An apparently homeless man is facing a robbery charge after he shoplifted a hammock and attacked the store owner when he pursued and demanded the return of his property, police said.

Jerald Keith Bone, 46, whose address is “general delivery” in Bellingham, is facing second-degree robbery and shoplifting charges in connection with the incident at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, said Bellingham police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht.

Vander Yacht said Bone was browsing near a hammock display in Backcountry Essentials, 214 W. Holly St., and the owner noticed a hammock missing when Bone left the store. Bellingham Police generally withhold names of crime victims, but the owner is listed as Chris Gerston on the outdoors retailer’s website.

Gerston followed Bone to Maritime Heritage Park and confronted him about the theft. Gerston reported Bone approached, “throwing punches and kicking,” Vander Yacht said.

Bone was arrested when police arrived, and several other items taken from the store were allegedly found in his possession. He remained in Whatcom County Jail on Thursday morning, Sept. 22, with no bail set on the robbery charge and $1,100 on the shoplifting charge.

Gerston was hit in the shoulder and thigh but didn’t need medical aid, Vander Yacht said.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty