Crime

Man accused in Ferndale home invasion gets 5 years

A man has been sentenced to more than five years in prison after allegedly breaking into a house in May and demanding drugs while armed with a stun gun and a knife.

Robert T. Dodge, 47, and an accomplice broke into a house in the 6100 block of Portal Way just after midnight on May 28, 2015, according to charges filed in Whatcom County Superior Court.

Charges say Dodge, wearing a mask, demanded drugs and money from Randy Hoekema, who was living in the house. When Hoekema said he did not have either, Dodge activated a stun gun and held a knife to Hoekema’s throat.

Hoekema yelled for his roommate to call 911. Dodge told the other alleged burglar, Gene Stenberg, to grab that roommate, but Hoekema eventually was able to escape to a bedroom. Dodge and Stenberg left when they found out 911 had been called, according to charges.

Officers and police dogs searched the area but could not find the burglars that night. However, security footage showed an SUV known to be driven and owned by Dodge driving away from the house around the time of the home invasion, charges say.

Police searched the car and found a knife, black mask, gloves, methamphetamine, and a smoking device. Police have said the stun gun was likely thrown in the Nooksack River.

Dodge was arrested June 3 outside of a Goodwill store in Bellingham. On Oct. 8, he pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary with a deadly weapon and unlawful possession of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to 66 months in prison.

His criminal history includes residential burglary, two convictions of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, and felony telephone harassment.

Stenberg remains in Whatcom County Jail facing robbery and burglary charges.

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

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