Neighbor helps nab boys who took alcohol at gunpoint

A sharp-eyed Lettered Streets resident helped Bellingham police nab a pair of teenage armed robbery suspects Saturday morning.

Two boys, ages 15 and 16, were arrested following the 8:31 a.m. armed robbery of the Meridian Food Gas at 2730 Meridian St., in the Cornwall Park area, said police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht. Both boys were booked into Juvenile Detention. Their names were not released because of their ages, Vander Yacht said.

Vander Yacht said a store clerk saw one of the two boys hide an alcoholic beverage in his clothing and try to leave without paying. When the clerk confronted the boy, a second boy drew a .22 caliber revolver and pointed it at the clerk.

“The male with the handgun told the employee something to the effect of ‘Let my friend go or I will kill you,’ ” Vander Yacht said.

Both boys ran south and a responding officer tried to detain them for questioning about three blocks away, Vander Yacht said. They matched the description given by the store clerk.

Vander Yacht said one boy ran to the east, while the other remained for questioning. The clerk identified that boy as one of the two alleged robbers. Police also found the handgun, which was loaded, and some of the stolen alcohol nearby, Vander Yacht said.

Meanwhile, a Lettered Streets resident phoned 911 to report suspicious activity at 9:22 a.m. on the 2100 block of Broadway.

“A nearby resident had seen the man running into the area and watched as the man worked his way into the back lot of a business and concealed himself in shrubbery near a playground. The resident stayed on the phone with our dispatchers and kept an eye on the suspicious male until officers contacted him,” Vander Yacht said.

The store clerk also identified that person as one of the alleged robbers.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty