Bellingham police: Man robs Wal-Mart with knife, leaves with stolen pellet guns

A man pulled a knife on a Wal-Mart employee and left the store with a backpack full of stolen pellet guns and electronics before police arrested him near Bellis Fair mall early Friday morning, May 15, according to police.

A Wal-Mart employee was ringing up Cory Alan Gessele, 31, for a video surveillance kit, a Samsung tablet and an iPod around 12:30 a.m. when Gessele showed a folding knife and said something to the effect of “get back!” said Police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht.

Gessele jumped into a green Ford pickup truck that was seen speeding out of the parking lot and headed south on Meridian Street. An officer stopped the pickup near Bellis Fair Parkway and Eliza Avenue, Vander Yacht said.

Police said they discovered Gessele had a backpack with two pellet guns inside, all of which had been stolen from the Bellingham Wal-Mart. He also was in possession of a small amount of methamphetamine and heroin.

Gessele, of Sedro-Woolley, was booked into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of first-degree robbery, second-degree theft and possession of a controlled substance.

There were three other people in the car, including a woman who was nine-months pregnant, Vander Yacht said. None of them were arrested.

A police dog found the knife discarded nearby that police believe was used in the robbery.

Gessele, a felon in Clallam and Skagit counties, was being held in Whatcom County Jail on Friday in lieu of $50,000 bail.