Police: Bellingham man tries to rob bank, waits to be arrested — again

Richard Kenneth Gorton
Richard Kenneth Gorton THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

A Bellingham man tried to rob a bank and waited outside to be arrested Monday, April 13 — the second time he’d done so in six months, according to police.

Richard Kenneth Gorton, 64, walked into a Key Bank in Fairhaven around 9 a.m. Monday and handed a note to the teller saying he was robbing the bank of $1, said Bellingham Police Sgt. Mike Scanlon. The note explained that he didn’t want to hurt anyone, he didn’t have any weapons, and that he would wait outside for police to arrest him, Scanlon said.

The teller handed him a dollar. Gorton did as the note said. He was arrested and, at first, booked into jail on suspicion of robbery in the second degree. He was not armed, Scanlon said.

By the next day the county prosecutor’s office had decided this time Gorton won’t be charged with robbery. Instead he faces a charge of theft in the third degree, a gross misdemeanor. A prosecutor hasn’t been assigned to the case yet.

Last year on Oct. 14, Gorton walked into his old bank, a Banner Bank branch on Cornwall Avenue, and handed a note to the teller: “This is a robbery.” He asked for twenty $20 bills and ten $100 bills. He put the money in a brown leather backpack and walked outside. He waited for police to arrive and did not resist when they told him to get on the ground.

Gorton told police he would be homeless soon, according to charging papers in that case. He’d been living in a Bellingham Housing Authority apartment on York Street, and he hadn’t paid his $212 rent in October, according to eviction records.

For the Banner Bank robbery, Superior Court Judge Ira Uhrig sentenced Gorton to six months in jail. But half of that time would be nixed if he lived in a transitional home at Sun House for 90 days, and used that time to find new housing, according to a plea deal reached by Deputy Prosecutor James Hulbert and Chief Deputy Public Defender Starck Follis.

Otherwise he could serve another three months in jail.

On Tuesday, the sixth-month anniversary of Gorton’s first arrest, he remained in a county jail cell. Until last year Gorton had no criminal history.