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Charges: Purse-snatchers sprayed woman with Mace, led Bellingham police on pursuit

BELLINGHAM — Two men and a woman have been charged with trying to rob another woman of a $296 gift card by spraying her with Mace, leading to a one-and-a-half-mile car chase on Interstate 5.

A group of five people — Alonzale D'Shae Hutchinson, Lajsae G. Lyons, Dekhoryan Gawail Murray and two other women — had gone to the Fred Meyer on Lakeway Drive on Saturday evening, Aug. 9, so that one of the women could return some merchandise for a gift card, according to charges filed this week by Deputy Prosecutor Jeffrey Sawyer.

As they left the store around 8 p.m., Hutchinson and Murray demanded the card, and "used aggressive posturing" to get the woman to set the purse on the ground, according to the charges. One of the men picked up the purse, ran to a car and emptied the purse's contents. They couldn't find the gift card.

So they confronted the woman again at a bus stop by the parking lot. According to the charges, Lyons sprayed her in the face with Mace, while Murray and Hutchinson grabbed at the woman's clothes, searching for the card. (The other woman in the group kept her distance.)

The three alleged robbers jumped into the car and drove south on Interstate 5. Police said the driver nearly caused at least one crash, and wouldn't stop for three pursuing patrol cars blaring lights and sirens. They arrested Hutchinson, Lyons and Murray after spike strips took out the tires of their getaway car.

Police learned Murray, the driver, had a license suspended in the third degree. He said he had a warrant out for his arrest too, according to the charges.

Hutchinson, Lyons and Murray have ties to the Seattle area. They're charged with attempted first-degree robbery; Hutchinson and Murray face an extra charge of second-degree robbery; and Murray faces a third felony charge of attempting to elude police.

Murray remained in Whatcom County Jail Friday in lieu of $75,000 bail. The others have posted bond. They're scheduled for arraignment Aug. 22.