Crime

This Bellingham spending spree ended when police knocked on his Motel 6 door

McClatchy

A simple mistake many of us probably have made before resulted in the arrest of a 27-year-old man who is listed as a transient Monday in Bellingham after he allegedly went on a $1,135.29 spending spree at WalMart, Haggen, Little Caesars, Shell, Right Aid, Big 5 Sporting Goods and Motel 6.

A long-haul truck driver used his debit card at Yorky's Market on Bennett Drive in Bellingham Sunday afternoon, according to an email from Bellingham Police Lt. Danette Beckley. The driver accidentally left the card behind. He then slept in his truck, and when he woke, realized that he couldn't find the card.

After checking his account, he noticed multiple fraudulent charges made around Bellingham, according to reports, including a final one at the Motel 6 on Byron Avenue.

Police officers, with the assistance of Motel 6 staff, reportedly determined which room had been rented using the stolen card and contacted four people in the room. All reportedly claimed "a friend" had rented the room for them.

Officers reportedly located fraudulently purchased items in the room, and found that Aaron Lee Nerkins had an outstanding probable cause warrant for his arrest for possession of a controlled substance from out of the county. Nerkins was placed under arrest for the probable cause, according to Beckley, and while police searched him, they found receipts for purchases using the stolen debit card.

After having his rights read, Nerkins reportedly confessed to picking up the card off the counter at Yorky's and making purchases with it. Surveillance footage from Walmart confirmed Nerkins acted alone, Beckley said.

Nerkins was booked into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, second-degree identity theft, second-degree theft and second-degree possession of stolen property. Jail records show Nerkins remained in custody Tuesday afternoon.

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