Bellingham hit with rash of smash-and-grab burglaries

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Police are investigating a recent string of smash-and-grab burglaries in Bellingham, and business owners hope the crooks are found soon.

From a pet groomer to a Chinese restaurant, the thieves are targeting a number of Bellingham businesses. Big rocks are the tools of choice in the string of burglaries.

"They threw the rock through the front door and came in and took jewelry out of the case," said thrift store manager Sharon Dodd.

Bellingham detective Sgt. Jason Monson said at least 15 commercial businesses have been hit since August, with thieves using a similar method at each location. He said in the middle of the night, usually on weekends, they throw a rock, brick, or barbell weight through the glass front door.

Ron Miller, the owner of Bailey's Bath House pet groomers, said they threw a 15 pound rock through his glass door.

"There was a rock laying on the floor right in front, came around the side and found that the cash register had been ripped open and all the money taken out," he said.

Miller said thieves stole about $100 Saturday night, but it cost him six times that to replace his door.

Landlord Gloria Hardan has spent more than $3,000 repairing her building's busted glass doors.

"This is the third break-in in about six weeks," Hardan said.

Thieves struck her tenant's dive shop a few weeks ago, stealing about $8,000 worth of merchandise. Saturday night, thieves targeted a non-profit thrift and gift shop in her building, taking jewelry, furs, a designer bag, leather chaps, and a Seahawks jersey.

Money raised at the Assistance League Thrift Store goes toward clothing for needy children and Christmas gifts for the elderly. It also provides help for domestic violence victims.

"That's just pretty low when you steal from somebody that is raising money for that," said volunteer Kathy Robbins.

Bellingham police say they don't have any suspects but are looking at several leads and have collected several rocks for DNA.