Bellingham police investigating series of downtown burglaries

Police are searching for the people behind a recent string of burglaries of several downtown businesses.

Five downtown businesses reported burglaries from Feb. 5-9, according to Bellingham Police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht.

Casa Que Pasa, 1415 Railroad Ave., reported two break-ins within three days. On Feb. 6, employees told police the restaurant was broken into and cash was missing. There apparently was no cash missing after the second break-in on Feb. 9, Vander Yacht said.

The other businesses to report burglaries were all restaurants and bars on State Street: Redlight, The Green Frog, Rudy’s Pizzeria and Pel’meni.

Pel’meni manager Emily Paul said the burglar smashed a window grate in the back of the store between 3:30 and 10 a.m. Feb. 9 to enter the restaurant. The cash register and safe were both broken when employees arrived in the morning. Paul said nothing else in the restaurant was touched.

Vander Yacht said police do not have any suspects at this time. The burglaries are similar to another series of break-ins involving downtown businesses late in 2014. He said that series of burglaries may be related to this one.

“We feel like we’re talking about the same people that are doing these burglaries,” Vander Yacht said.

In most of the burglaries, the intruder pried open a back door or back window of the business, Vander Yacht said. Cash was taken in each burglary, and a tablet was stolen from Redlight. Vander Yacht said the burglar has generally targeted items that are easy to grab.

Vander Yacht said businesses should consider an alarm system that detects unwanted intruders, and they should keep little to no cash inside after business hours.

Anyone with information on the series of burglaries is asked to call Detective Darla Wagner at 360-778-8767 or the tip line at 360-778-8611.