Police: Man linked to several local robberies hits Fairhaven store

An armed robber showed a gun to employees at WFC Fairhaven, corralled them to the back of the store and took money from the cash register at 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, according to Bellingham police.

The description of the man — a white male in his 50s of average height, white hair and wearing a dark rain jacket — matches the description of a man thought to have robbed several local businesses recently, Bellingham Police Detective Dan Kelsh said.

Store manager Russ Stewart said the man was hanging around inside the store at 3125 Old Fairhaven Parkway for about five minutes and pretended to do some shopping. As the employees started closing the store at 6 p.m., he revealed a gun and told them to get to the back of the store. One of the five employees was told to open the cash register and give him money, Stewart said.

Stewart’s employees described a somewhat mechanical execution of the robbery.

“He just wanted the money,” Stewart said.

Police have not relased how much money was stolen. Video of the robbery from security cameras is yet to be released.

The robbery has similarities to four other robberies in Bellingham and one in Burlington that all occurred in November 2014.

On Nov. 6, an armed man in a Groucho Marx-style mask, who employees described as white with grayish facial hair, ordered two men to the ground and had a third employee hand over cash at Westside Pizza, 4260 Cordata Parkway. He was wearing heavy, dark clothes and military boots, according to police.

Three days later, a man robbed Man Pies, 1215 Railroad Ave., as employees were closing the restaurant. Security video footage shows a man who was wearing a red raincoat come through the back door, brandish a gun and take cellphones from the two employees. The employees described the suspect as a 50-year-old and about 5-foot-8 or 5-foot-10, police said.

Weeks later, on Nov. 26, another man who employees described as a white male in his 50s and about 5-foot-8 robbed a barista at I Wana Moka, 3100 Old Fairhaven Parkway. That location is just across Fairhaven Parkway from the WFC store. Then, on Nov. 28, a man wearing dark clothes and sunglasses who employees thought to be in his 40s or 50s took cash from Zoom Zoom Espresso, 845 Lincoln St., after pointing a gun at an employee and customer.

An armed robbery at Lafeen’s Donuts in Burlington by a middle-aged man in dark clothes on Nov. 30 also could be linked to the Bellingham robberies, police said.

Police said in two of the robberies that the man fled the scene on a dark mountain bike. Kelsh declined to answer how he escaped Sunday.

Call Detective Dan Kelsh, 360-778-8690, if you have a tip that could lead to arrest. Anonymous tips can be directed to 360-778-8611.