Crime

Suspected Man Pies, coffee stand robber in jail

This screen grab from a security camera shows a man taking cash from the WFC Fairhaven store on Jan. 19. Bellingham police have evidence linking Dennis Jeffrey Ridley, 63, to the robbery; Ridley was arrested in California in April and extradited to Skagit County on Tuesday, June 9. He is being held on suspicion of robbing Lafeen's Donuts in Burlington.
This screen grab from a security camera shows a man taking cash from the WFC Fairhaven store on Jan. 19. Bellingham police have evidence linking Dennis Jeffrey Ridley, 63, to the robbery; Ridley was arrested in California in April and extradited to Skagit County on Tuesday, June 9. He is being held on suspicion of robbing Lafeen's Donuts in Burlington. The Bellingham Herald

A man sought in connection with a string of Bellingham armed robberies in November 2014 is now in Skagit County Jail.

Dennis Jeffrey Ridley, 63, was arrested in California in April and extradited to Skagit County on Tuesday, June 9. He is being held on suspicion of robbing Lafeen's Donuts in Burlington, said Bellingham Police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht.

Bellingham police have evidence linking Ridley to an armed robbery of Man Pies on Nov. 9 and another armed robbery at WFC Fairhaven on Jan. 19, Vander Yacht said. Police suspect he also robbed three other businesses in November: Westside Pizza, I Wana Moka and Zoom Zoom Espresso.

Burlington police first identified Ridley as the suspected robber and obtained a warrant for his arrest, Vander Yacht said. Detectives are still working on gathering evidence before he is charged for the Bellingham robberies.

Police released pictures and video surveillance in the hopes that the public could help identify the robber. The first robbery occurred Nov. 6 at Westside Pizza, when a man described as white with grayish facial hair wearing a Groucho Marx-style mask ordered two men to the ground while a third employee handed over cash.

Video footage from Man Pies three days later showed a man in a red raincoat come through the back door and take cellphones from two employees while brandishing a gun and demanding money from the register.

The robberies of the coffee stands and the Burlington Lafeen's Donuts robbery all occurred within the last five days of November 2014.

WFC Fairhaven security cameras had clear surveillance footage of an older white man with white hair corralling employees to the back of the store and taking money from the cash register in January, and police said the suspect was likely the same man who robbed the other businesses.

Vander Yacht said Ridley is thought to have lived in the Birch Bay area before he left for California. Ridley was being held in Skagit County Jail on $100,000 bail.

Reach Wilson Criscione at 360-756-2803 or wilson.criscione@bellinghamherald.com.

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