By Caleb Hutton
BELLINGHAM — A homeless man was arrested after police said he shoplifted three bottles of cheap whiskey — in three separate trips — from a Bellingham Rite Aid, and drunkenly beat two men under a bridge while officers investigated.
Early Jan. 28, police were called to Rite Aid, 3227 Northwest Drive, to a report of someone shoplifting a fifth of whiskey. A linchpin witness left the scene before police could get much info, but a basic suspect description matched Frank Ellis Revey-Lane, 28, a homeless man known to frequent the store, said Bellingham police spokesman Mark Young.
So Rite Aid employees asked police to issue him a trespass warning.
At 2:30 p.m., a store employee saw Revey-Lane fleeing the store, again, clutching another fifth of cheap whiskey, Young said. During a brief chase on foot, the culprit ditched the evidence, shattering it on the asphalt.
Police spoke with Revey-Lane under a nearby bridge in the same block, where he’s known to stay. They found a freshly opened bottle of the missing brand of whiskey in the hovel. He was warned not to go into the store again and giving a slip of paper explaining the warning.
Officers left the bridge and set up a short-lived stakeout outside the store.
Within minutes, Revey-Lane walked into Rite Aid again and came out with another bottle of whiskey, Young said.
About the same time, two men — aged 33 and 43 — emerged from the homeless camp under the bridge with swollen, beaten faces. They said Revey-Lane had punched them in the face, Young said. At least one of them needed immediate treatment at St. Joseph hospital.
Revey-Lane was booked into Whatcom County Jail on investigation of second-degree burglary, second-degree theft, second-degree trespassing, fourth-degree assault and fourth-degree domestic violence assault (because one of them men was a relative).
Police didn’t note an obvious motive for the assaults, but Young pointed out Revey-Lane was very drunk.