Crime

Charges: Teen attacks 72-year-old in her Bellingham home

A teenager has been charged with armed burglary for allegedly breaking into an elderly woman’s home on Lincoln Street, grabbing a knife from her kitchen and attacking her.

The woman, 72, had walked outside her Puget neighborhood mobile home to grab a newspaper sometime after 3 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 27, when she saw a 5-foot-11, 135-pound teenager she didn’t know coming toward her, according to charging papers. So she retreated to her home in the 1200 block of Lincoln Street.

The rest of the woman’s story is recounted in charging papers ...

Matthew Chandler Plowman, an 18-year-old resident of St. Clair Street, banged on the door and yelled at her to call 911. She dialed the number but, in a panic, forgot to hit the “send” button. Plowman picked up a patio table, threw it through a window and climbed inside the house.

The woman, who uses oxygen tanks, struggled to yell for help while Plowman “stormed” around her house. He grabbed a knife from her kitchen and told her to hand over the phone. She did. As she turned away, Plowman punched her in the back “so hard that she at first thought he had stabbed her with a knife,” according to the charging papers. He grabbed her right wrist, bleeding on her from apparent self-inflicted wounds. She escaped to a neighbor’s house while Plowman tried to figure out the phone.

Police arrived around 3:55 a.m. to find Plowman still inside. At officers’ request, he dropped a knife out the window, but wouldn’t surrender. Eventually he crawled out an open window armed with another knife, ran toward a patrol car and tried to smash out the driver’s window with his hand, according to the charges. Officers, with help from a police dog, arrested Plowman.

Inside the mobile home police noted damage valued at a couple thousand dollars: the broken window ($250), a broken flat-screen TV ($1,200), a broken front door and screen door ($350), and bloodstains “all over” the carpet ($500).

At the hospital, a small baggie dropped out when Plowman’s socks were taken off . A crystalline substance inside tested positive for methamphetamine, according to police.

Other than one driving offense — a charge of minor driving while intoxicated, which was reduced to negligent driving in a plea deal in April — Plowman had no criminal history, according to Washington court records.

He’s now accused of first-degree burglary, malicious mischief in the second degree, possession of methamphetamine, and fourth-degree assault. Plowman posted $45,000 bond Sunday, a day-and-a-half after his arrest. While he’s awaiting trial, he’s not allowed to contact the victim and he can’t have any weapons.

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