Crime

Police arrest two men in series of Bellingham burglaries

Police have arrested two men they believe are responsible for the burglaries of several Fairhaven businesses.

Blake Ryan Davis, 29, and Gregory Keefe, 32, allegedly broke into four Fairhaven businesses between Saturday night, Feb. 14 and Sunday morning, Feb. 15, according to police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht.

Police also are sifting through evidence that may link them to burglaries of six downtown Bellingham businesses from Feb. 5-9.

Four businesses on 11th Street in the Fairhaven district reported burglaries after they closed Saturday night: Village Books, Skylark’s, Colophon Cafe and Paper Dreams. Another Bellingham restaurant, Sadighi’s, reported a burglary the night before.

Skylark’s owner Don White said the burglars “mutilated” the safe, which he said was worth around $2,000. They stole the Valentine’s Day revenue from the safe along with hundreds of dollars in tip money. White said they didn’t touch any of the alcohol or other items in the restaurant.

“They were specifically looking for money,” White said. “I guess I’m grateful for that.”

The story was similar at the other businesses: The burglars entered using the same methods and typically targeted only money, Vander Yacht said. Police believed Keefe was involved based on their previous contacts with him, he said.

The next day, officers found cars associated with Keefe and Davis at the Rodeway Inn, 3710 Meridian St. They found Davis in a third-floor room of the motel, but Keefe apparently had climbed out of room’s rear window, dropped to a lower level roof line and run away by the time police had entered the room, Vander Yacht said.

Inside the room officers found burglary tools, such as pry bars and grinders, and some items missing from the businesses, Vander Yacht said. Davis was taken into custody, and he made statements to detectives that connected him and Keefe to the burglaries.

On Tuesday police arrested Keefe when officers responded to a report of a man, who turned out to be Keefe, trespassing in an abandoned house on the 2400 block of Queen Street.

Both Keefe and Davis were being held in Whatcom County Jail on Tuesday on suspicion of burglary, malicious mischief and possession of stolen property.

Keefe has prior convictions of unlawful possession of a controlled substance and second-degree theft, along with juvenile burglary convictions. Davis has a conviction for unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

The Fairhaven burglaries are similar to six reported burglaries of Bellingham businesses early in the month, Vander Yacht said. Those businesses included Redlight, Casa Que Pasa, The Green Frog, Rudy’s Pizzeria and Pel’meni.

Police do not yet have evidence linking Davis and Keefe to those burglaries, Vander Yacht said.

White, Skylark’s owner, said burglaries like this can be hard on small businesses.

“We are all so busy trying to keep our doors open that it’s hard to address some of these security issues,” White said. “This is one of the reasons why businesses go out of business.”

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