Archive for June, 2012
By Caleb Hutton
From the Bellingham police logs, here’s a list of things found this week around the city.
Sunday, June 17
12:07 p.m. Two kayaks found in the 1500 block of East Maplewood Avenue. It’s just a report. Doesn’t say whether they were impounded or returned to the owner.
3:10 p.m. Cell phone turned in to the Bellingham Police Department, 505 Grand Ave., and returned to owner.
Monday, June 18
10:49 a.m. An employee at a business in the 700 block of Birchwood Avenue reports a gun left in a case in the bathroom. The gun owner returned and said he forgot his gun.
Tuesday, June 19
3:30 p.m. Ammo impounded at the police department to be destroyed.
Wednesday, June 20
1:40 p.m. A purse and “other bags” found near the 4200 block of Wilkin Street, on the northwest side of Lake Padden. Property impounded, and at the time of the report, police were trying to contact the owners.
Thursday, June 21
3:17 p.m. Bike found in the 1600 block of C Street.
8:41 p.m. An officer on bike patrol finds a “full-size samurai sword in the tall grass” at the southwest edge of Civic Field Park, in the 1400 block of Puget Street, near Carl Cozier Elementary School. Sword impounded for safekeeping.
Friday, June 22
6:34 a.m. Police find CDs, a cell phone and a jacket along the roadside in the 800 block of 38th Street. All impounded.
8:04 p.m. Wallet found in the 2100 block of Northshore Drive. Turned in to police.
8:20 p.m.: Someone turns in unused ammunition found in the 2900 block of Yew Street. Listed as a “suspicious circumstance.” (Time is unlisted on the log, but the case number suggests it happened about then.)
9:19 p.m. A man finds a bayonet in the woods beside the 400 block of Westerly Road, near the Cordata Community Food Co-op.
By Caleb Hutton
A crash that left two vehicles flipped over north of Lynden sounded worse on the police scanner than it turned out to be.
#policescanner: Two-vehicle rollover crash on Guide Meridian, north of Badger Rd. Three patients. Injuries appear to be minor.
— Bellingham Herald (@BhamHerald) June 23, 2012
Two people were trapped in the wreckage while they waited for firefighters to arrive. They managed to crawl out a few minutes later, escaping with what were described, over the scanner, as minor injuries.
One person was transported by ambulance on basic life support to St. Joseph hospital.
Didn’t hear back immediately from State Patrol Trooper Keith Leary, who would have details about the crash, but I’ll update this post later if he gives me a call.
By Caleb Hutton
Bellingham had the tenth-highest vehicle theft rate in the state last year, according to data released this week by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Here’s the vehicle theft rate for metro areas in Washington, per 100,000 residents.
1. Spokane: 551.8
2. Yakima: 529.3
3. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue: 445.83
4. Longview: 295.7
5. Mount Vernon-Anacortes: 231.1
6. Bremerton-Silverdale: 228.2
7. Kennewick-Pasco-Richland: 185.9
8. Olympia: 171.5
9. Wenatchee-East Wenatchee: 129.8
10. Bellingham: 119.3
Sources: National Insurance Crime Bureau and U.S. Census data.
Spokane had the fourth-highest theft rate in the nation.
The average stolen vehicle was worth about $6,500, according to the latest available data.
In a press release, the NCIB gave the following advice to avoid vehicle thefts:
1) Common Sense
- Remove your keys from the ignition.
- Lock your doors /close your windows.
- Park in a well-lit area.
- Keep valuable items such as bags, purses, cell phones and briefcases out of sight.
2) A Warning Device
Popular devices include:
- Audible alarms.
- Steering column collars.
- Steering wheel/brake pedal lock.
- Brake locks.
- Wheel locks.
- Theft deterrent decals.
- Identification markers in or on vehicle.
- VIN etching.
- Micro dot marking.
3) An Immobilizing Device
Use a device that prevents thieves from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some examples are:
- Smart keys.
- Fuse cut-offs.
- Kill switches.
- Starter, ignition, and fuel pump disablers.
- Wireless ignition authentication.
You can also report vehicle thefts, anonymously and toll free, by calling 1-800-TEL-NICB. But it’s best to call 911 first.
By Caleb Hutton
A 911 caller said she fractured her foot earlier this week when she ducked to hide from what she believed was a man wielding a shotgun near Carl Cozier Elementary School.
The suspect turned out to be a child toting a toy gun, but as Sara Geballe explained Thursday morning, June 21, she wasn’t the only one who was fooled. She was walking with her son when they saw what appeared to be a full-grown person wearing a bandanna and carrying a long-barrel gun near a gas station on Lakeway Drive.
They ducked out of view of the suspect as soon as possible, and in the process Gebelle injured her foot. When she got it examined later, she found her foot was fractured in three places.
Police swarmed the area and found a boy carrying a toy gun and heading to a swingset at Carl Cozier. An officer radioed that the boy appeared to be “playing cowboy.”
From a distance, Gebelle said, the gunman could have been 15 or 30 years old, or even older, because “it didn’t look like a young child, that’s for sure.”
In light of recent shootings in Seattle, she added, “you never know when somebody’s going to start shooting wildly.”
Gebelle hopes the parents of the kid are more aware of how people might react to seeing someone carrying a gun — fake or not — in public.
Edited Friday evening, June 22, in response to a comment about the third-to-last paragraph.
Posted by Caleb Hutton
Two quick things that won’t make the paper tomorrow, with clarification from Bellingham Police Sgt. Jason Monson.
Reported: Jun 20 2012 5:35PM
Location: 4200 BLK MERIDIAN ST
Offense: ACCIDENT – INJURY
Case #: 12B22076
See scanned collision report for further details.
Three-car crash. Turns out nobody was actually hurt.
Reported: Jun 20 2012 10:40AM
Location: 1700 BLK HARRIS AV
Offense: CIVIL CASE
Case #: 12B22012
Officers responded to a dispute involving toiletery items at the above location, incident determine to be a civil matter, no further action.
A woman thought her roommate took her shampoo and shower soap. So she called the cops.
Posted by Caleb Hutton
Text courtesy of the Blaine Police Department, with minor edits for style.
Monday, June 11
5:45 p.m. Blaine Police assisted the school district by providing public safety support to the high school graduation on H Street. Several citizen contacts were handled over the evening. Among them, one attendee asked for assistance when his blood sugar began dropping and he needed food. An officer offered up his super-protein bar to the gent: 14 grams of protein, 17 grams of sugar, for 210 calories and one problem solved. The gent was able to continue attending his grandson’s graduation ceremony, and all was right with the world.
7:11 p.m. Blaine Police were dispatched to assist sheriff’s deputies who were responding to a report of a possibly suicidal man at a home in Birch Bay. Officers assisted the deputy with contacting an intoxicated adult who adamantly opined from his supine position on the floor that he had no intention of harming himself. His single-minded focus on maintaining a low center of gravity lent credence to his stated goal of avoiding injury, and officers encouraged him to call for assistance if his intentions wandered.
10:40 p.m. Officers were advised there might be teenage activity involving alcohol use in a park on the beach on Semiahmoo Parkway. Officers checked the park and found everyone had left. All that remained of the gathering were the cooling coals in a fire pit.
Tuesday, June 12
2:11 p.m. A property owner on Martin Street hired a gentleman to mow her yard. During the work the mower struck a rock, which set sail and took out the back window of a car parked nearby. Officers were called to the scene, and helped the workman, the property owner and the car owner exchange information to aid the process of getting the window repaired. The driver brought the car over to the police station and officers helped her vacuum out the broken glass.
Wednesday, June 13
12:01 a.m. A victim contacted police from Third Street asking for help dealing with a man who has been stalking him for some time. In the most recent incident the suspect drove by the victim’s workplace and made a show of using a smartphone to take a photo of the victim. The suspect has been identified and officers are investigating the report as an act of patterned criminal harassment.
7:40 p.m. A woman on Peace Portal Drive called police for help, reporting that her child was locked in her car, which was parked on Peace Portal downtown. An officer soon arrived but the vehicle was unoccupied and the owner was absent. Her keys and purse were plainly visible locked inside the car. The officer called the owner back, and she sauntered out of a nearby restaurant. She claimed that the child had already been rescued but she still needed help getting her car unlocked. She declined the officer’s offer to assist her by calling the locksmith or tow truck of her choice.
Thursday, June 14
2:42 p.m. Police were dispatched to a mall parking lot on H Street when passersby spotted an apparent theft and vehicle prowl in progress. Officers responded and contacted the suspect as he attempted to enter a locked vehicle. The suspect had ripped a metal antenna off another car in the lot and was using it as a tool to break into the second vehicle when police pulled up. Officers arrested the man for theft and attempted vehicle prowl and transported him to jail.
While investigating the vehicle prowl, police learned that things were worse for one of the victims than she thought, and took her into custody on an outstanding arrest warrant. During the arrest the officers found that she was in possession of marijuana, methamphetamine, marijuana and someone else’s prescription drugs. The 39-year-old Birch Bay resident was booked into jail for having an exceedingly bad day.
Friday, June 15
10:05 p.m. Officers responded to a domestic dispute at a motel on Alder Street. They learned that a father had struck his teenaged son four hours earlier, and a hand print was still visible on the youth. The father was arrested and transported to jail on a charge of misdemeanor assault involving domestic violence.
Monday, June 18
12:08 a.m. Police were dispatched to a report of a structure fire in a business in the 200 block of D Street. The arriving officers found the blaze was small and contained to a small upstairs area, and they put out the flames with an extinguisher. Fire units arrived and made sure the problem was resolved. It appeared the fire had started in the area where birds had gotten in an built a nest. The suspects had flown the coop, so the responders were unable to determine if it was a case of avian arson or addiction.
11:05 p.m. Police responded to a report of a dogs-on-men melee in an E Street alley late Monday night. When officers unraveled the mess they found it had started with a backyard fight between a man and his adult son. Their battle ignited the protective instincts of the family’s dachshunds, and the pack of wiener dogs tried to rescue father and son by biting them both until they stopped fighting. Medic units treated both men for minor facial injuries and bites. Police determined dad was the primary aggressor, arrested him and booked him into jail.
Wednesday, June 20
11:07 a.m. A woman returning back to the lower 49 after an Alaskan Cruise with relatives received special attention at the Peace Arch Port of Entry after a drug sniffing dog alerted to her luggage. A personal use amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia was found in the daughters bags. The 49-year-old Illinois resident was arrested by police for the crime, and summarily punished by having to have mom post her bail.
By Caleb Hutton
Bellingham Police are in the midst of a weekly traffic emphasis patrol right now. For the next couple of weeks, more officers will be on the lookout for driving violations from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Wednesday.
A different area of town gets the emphasis patrols each week, and a different violation is the focus of the emphasis each week. (One week officers might be looking for people not wearing seat belts; another time they might be looking for expired license plate tabs.)
On Wednesday, June 13, police focused on Meridian Street, from Telegraph to Stuart roads.
Courtesy of Bellingham police spokesman Mark Young, here’s the tally of what tickets got handed out:
17 drivers without proof of insurance.
17 “non-moving” violations (expired license plate tabs, no front license plates, etc.).
12 seat belt violations.
5 texting or talking on cell phone violations.
4 equipment violations.
2 speeding tickets.
2 moving violations.
2 people driving with a suspended license.
1 warrant arrest.
In all, that’s 59 tickets, three arrests and 10 written warnings in three hours. That means police were pulling over about 24 drivers each hour during the patrols.
By Caleb Hutton
Via scanner traffic:
Police racing to the scene of a man brandishing a shotgun near Carl Cozier Elementary School arrived to find their suspect was a child “playing cowboy” and toting a toy gun.
A witness called 911 to report someone was waving around a shotgun in the 1300 block of Lakeway Drive.
Police spotted the boy walking across a baseball field toward a swingset, carrying a chrome toy gun.
“Looks like he’s playing cowboy,” an officer said via radio. “Parents are here with children. They don’t seem the least bit concerned.”
By Caleb Hutton
A woman described as a “drug addict” grabbed her teenage niece by the throat with both hands and tried to strangle her during an argument, according to charging documents.
Marcella Lynn Beatty, 33, got into an argument with her teenage niece in the hallway of home south of Lynden at 9:26 p.m. June 11. A probable cause statement filed in Whatcom County Superior Court doesn’t mention exactly what the two women were arguing about.
From the charges:
“The defendant pulled (her niece’s) hair. (The niece) pushed the defendant off of her and the defendant grabbed her by the neck with both hands and strangled her, pulling (the niece’s) head downward and forward. (The niece) could not breath or call out for help.”
The teen’s mother walked into the hallway and saw Beatty, her sister, strangling her daughter, according to the charges. She managed to push Beatty away.
Beatty then told the teen’s mom to “control her kid,” prosecutors wrote. Deputies noted abrasions to the teen’s head and the base of her neck. They also noticed Beatty was acting “excited and irrational.”
Beatty suffered no injuries during the attack. For the past few days, prosecutors alleged, she had not been able to get a hold of any methamphetamine, making her irritable.
She was charged last week with two counts of domestic violence assault, in the second and fourth degrees.
By Zoe Fraley
A cigarette tossed into a bird’s nest started a small fire on an outdoor walkway at a Blaine motel early Monday morning, June 18.
North Whatcom Fire and Rescue Services crews responded to the Northwoods Motel, 288 D St., at about 12:30 a.m. after getting a call about a balcony fire, said Division Chief Henry Hollander.
Someone at the motel noticed the smouldering bird’s nest and was able to put out the fire using an extinguisher and crews arrived to make sure the fire hadn’t spread inside. Hollander said the fire only caused about 1 square foot of damage.