Meridian neighborhood tenant awakes to find unknown homeless man in his apartment

A tenant in the Meridian neighborhood awoke to find a homeless man he did not know in his apartment Friday morning before he tackled and held the man until Bellingham Police could arrive.

David Timothy Bliss, 55 and listed as transient, was booked into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of residential burglary and first-degree criminal trespassing. According to jail records, Bliss, who is being held in lieu of $5,000 bond, also had a warrant for failure to appear on second-degree trespassing.

According to information provided to The Bellingham Herald by Lt. Claudia Murphy, officers responded at 2:02 a.m. Friday to the 200 block of East Bakerview Road and learned that the tenants in the apartment were sleeping when one of them awoke and heard noises coming from the kitchen.

The tenant told police that when he looked out the door, he saw a large, unknown man walking from the kitchen to the front door. Knowing that the other tenants were not large men, the tenant left his room and tackled Bliss at the front door. He then held him until police arrived and took Bliss into custody, Murphy said.

Police found that Bliss entered the apartment by removing a screen and climbing through the window, Murphy said, and he apparently rummaged through the kitchen and refrigerator.

Bliss reportedly told police that he did not know who lived in the apartment and that he waited after removing the window screen to see if anyone would confront him, and when nobody did, he climbed inside.

According to court records, Bliss has previous Whatcom County convictions for second-degree burglary, possession of a controlled substance and resisting arrest from 2004 through 2016.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.