Police: Robber takes 3 graphing calculators at Bellingham Target

A Bellingham man used a knife to rob a Target store of three graphing calculators and a Bluetooth device on Wednesday night, March 30, according to police.

The man hid the merchandise, valued at $530, in a backpack around 10:30 p.m. inside the store at 30 Bellis Fair Parkway, said Bellingham Police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht.

Store security confronted him at the exit doors. After they put their hands on him, he pulled out a knife and made threats, Vander Yacht said. Security backed off. The man fled west on a bike.

Moments later officers spotted a bicyclist who matched the suspect description near the intersection of West Bakerview Road and Palisade Way. He ducked out of view. so officers called in a police dog, Danek. The dog tracked a scent to Thomas Manuel Limas, 40, who was hiding in some shrubs near an apartment complex in the 600 block of Paloma Lane, Vander Yacht said.

Limas was in custody at 10:52 p.m. He was bleeding from a cut on his left hand. Nearby, Danek found a folding knife with blood on it.

Limas’ backpack had been lined with foil, police said, in an effort to bypass theft sensors. The stolen items were still inside: the calculators and a Bluetooth speaker.

Limas was arrested on suspicion of robbery in the first degree, theft in the third degree, retail theft with extenuating circumstances and obstructing a police officer.

He has prior eight felonies on his record in Whatcom County and La Paz County, Arizona. Three of them are for bail jumping, one is for burglary, and the rest are related to illegal drugs.

In his latest convictions, he’d been handed a 20-month sentence for dealing meth and possessing heroin. In court records, he reported severe drug and alcohol addictions. His probation ended in October 2015.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb