Man charged with attempted child rape after sting allegedly robs Rite Aid at gunpoint

A 25-year-old Bellingham man already scheduled to face a trial on attempted first-degree child rape charges reportedly displayed a handgun while robbing the Rite Aid on Telegraph Road Sunday afternoon.

Bellingham police on Sunday, Sept. 29, booked Simson Duane Assink into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of felony harassment, reckless endangerment, third-degree theft and first-degree robbery. Jail records show Assink is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Assink is scheduled to begin trial Dec. 9 for attempted first-degree child rape, according to Whatcom County Superior Court records, stemming from a series of arrests announced in December 2017 following a “Net Nanny” sting operation by the Washington State Patrol’s Missing and Exploited Children Task Force.

On Sunday, Bellingham police officers were called to the Rite Aid in the 200 block of Telegraph Road at approximately 4:17 p.m., Lt. Claudia Murphy told The Bellingham Herald.

A victim reportedly told police that Assink entered the store and when he went over to help the man he saw Assink pull up his sweatshirt to display a handgun in his waistband.

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Assink then demanded all the money in the cash register, Murphy said, and the victim complied, before Assink left the store and fled in a silver Lexus.

A Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office deputy spotted the vehicle and made a traffic stop in the 3700 block of James Street, and Assink was removed from the car, Murphy said. Officers also recovered a handgun and $270 in cash.

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.