Police are investigating a recent rash of armed robberies and attempted robberies at motels located along the Meridian Street corridor of north Bellingham.
According to the Bellingham Police log and emergency radio broadcasts, six motel robberies that occurred at knifepoint have been reported since Jan. 16.
“BPD (is) investigating several robberies which have occurred within the city limits since Jan. 16, 2019,” Lt. Claudia Murphy said in an email to The Bellingham Herald. “While there is a commonality of a male with a knife who demands money as the suspect in these robberies, we are still investigating whether they are all related or being conducted by several suspects.”
Murphy told The Herald in an interview Wednesday that nobody has been injured in any of the reported robberies.
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Emergency radio traffic descriptions of the suspect at the time of the incidents seem similar, as does the suspect’s alleged use of a knife and his ability to quickly slip away before police arrive.
According to the police log and radio broadcasts, the six incidents include:
▪ An armed robbery at 2:55 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Baymont Inn.
▪ An armed attempted robbery at 7:52 p.m. Saturday at the Baymont Inn.
Police also are investigating whether a Jan. 30 robbery at knifepoint that, according to the police log, occurred in the 700 block of Kentucky Street is related.
“The robberies have occurred at hotels and marijuana shops and we are sharing information with specific businesses to be vigilant,” Murphy told The Herald.
In emergency radio broadcasts of all six motel robberies, the suspect was described as wearing a gray hoodie and either a mask or bandana over his face. Most of the broadcasts also said he was wearing a black vest over the hoodie. He’s also been described wearing dark gray or black gloves, and following Tuesday’s report at the Quality Inn, radio broadcasts said he was wearing gray pants along with gray and blue Adidas.
“The suspect(s) description is general, with both height and weight being average,” Murphy told The Herald in the email. “There is a surveillance photo of a robbery suspect, which was released on social media after one of the initial robberies. While most of his facial features are covered by the mask, we are still hoping to get the public’s help in identifying him.”
Emergency broadcast descriptions of the suspects have been for a male, likely in his 20s, 5-foot-7 to 5-10 tall, thin to medium build and either Caucasian, Asian or Hispanic. While the reports about the knife blade have varied from 4 to 7 inches in length, most said it was black.
According to radio broadcasts, the suspect has left on foot and quickly disappeared into areas surrounding the motels and has been able to elude police attempts to find him by setting perimeters and using police dogs in some cases and even a helicopter following Tuesday’s attempted robbery at the Quality Inn, which reportedly was foiled when the desk clerk threw things at the suspect after he came in and demanded money.
“If you have information regarding the identity of the suspect(s) in these crimes call the tip line at 360-778-8611 or (online) at cob.org/tips,” Murphy told The Herald.