Crime

Alleged Bellingham car thief can’t escape a third time

A man caught driving multiple stolen vehicles then escaping from police twice on foot was arrested as he tried to escape again Friday morning, Jan. 2, according to the Bellingham Police Department.

Around 4 a.m. Friday, police stopped a stolen 1998 Ford Crown Victoria in a Chevron parking lot at the intersection of F and Holly streets. The man driving the stolen car, 25-year-old Navarone G. Randmel, ran off and tried to evade capture for what would have been the third time in little over a week, but a police dog found Randmel hiding in some bushes in a nearby backyard, police said.

Randmel was arrested and booked into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of possession of a stolen vehicle, driving with a suspended license in the third degree, obstructing and resisting arrest, police said.

Randmel had successfully eluded officers twice within the last 10 days, according to police. On Dec. 23, police found Randmel with a stolen 1994 Nissan King Cab pickup in the Walmart parking lot on Meridian Street; when an officer tried to detain him Randmel bolted. Five days later, an officer spotted Randmel driving a stolen Toyota pickup on F Street, and as soon as the officer tried to stop him, Randmel got out of the truck and sprinted away once again.

Randmel has several prior convictions in Whatcom County, including second-degree theft, two counts of third-degree theft, eluding police and possession of a controlled substance.

In 2011, he was convicted of first-degree possession of stolen property and sentenced to 22 months in prison after he and four others were connected to a string of burglaries north of Custer. The burglary spree ended when Randmel, who was shot in the back by a homeowner as he tried to break into a garage, was taken to the hospital by Whatcom County Sheriff’s deputies, fled the hospital against medical advice and was arrested after being at-large for a week.

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