A 16-year-old and an 11-year-old received quite a scare Wednesday evening when a 44-year-old Bellingham man allegedly entered their home in the Silver Beach neighborhood and attempted to break into the room where they were hiding.
Bellingham Police booked Monte Lowell Benson into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of third-degree malicious mischief and second-degree burglary.
Officers responded at 5:14 p.m. to the 1700 block of Northshore Drive for a report of a burglary in progress, according to the police log. In an email Thursday to The Bellingham Herald, Lt. Claudia Murphy said the call was from the homeowner whose 16- and 11-year-olds were still in the home.
Benson, who was unknown to the residents, entered without being invited, Murphy said, and the kids retreated into a room and also called 911 as Benson unsuccessfully attempted to enter the room where they were hiding.
Emergency radio broadcasts of the incident indicated the kids were in an upstairs bathroom.
The homeowner remotely turned on a security alarm, Murphy said, prompting Benson to attempt to disable it, damaging it in the process.
Officers had to break down a door to enter the house, where they took Benson into custody, Murphy said, adding nobody was injured during the incident.
According to crime statistics published on the city of Bellingham website, there have been 412 reported residential burglaries so far in 2018, which is a 14 percent decrease from the 480 reported through the first 11 months of 2017 and down 34.5 percent from the 629 reported through November in 2016.