Crime

Bellingham man gets 2 months for robbery where he lost money (with video)

A Bellingham man has pleaded guilty to the failed robbery of a Shell gas station.

Security footage shows Brandon Lee Riley, 30, entered the store at 1301 E. Sunset St. carrying a paper grocery bag from the Dollar Tree around 11 a.m. March 2. In the footage he pulls a note from the bag — “This is a robbery, I have a gun, put the money in the bag,” according to charging papers — and hands it to the clerk. She stalls and doesn’t give him any money.

After about a minute Riley puts the note back in the bag and starts to walk out. Then he turns back and gets back in line while another customer buys coffee. Once he reaches the front of the line again he buys a single Reese’s peanut butter egg and pays cash. He leaves with the candy, the bag and the note.

Witnesses gave police a good description of Riley, and police arrested him within minutes at a Haggen grocery store parking lot on Woburn Street.

Riley pleaded guilty as charged Thursday, April 23, to attempted robbery in the second degree. Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis sentenced him to 2 ¼ months, at the bottom of the sentencing range for the crime, as suggested by the plea deal. He has already served that time and, with time off for good behavior, he was released from jail Thursday. He declined to speak at the sentencing hearing.

In jail Riley had been getting “wraparound” treatment for mental illness and drug abuse. He was released with a week’s worth of medication, and he’ll be on probation for the next year. He plans to stay with his mother for the time being.

Riley had no criminal history.

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