Suspect arrested in smash-and-grab burglary spree

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Bellingham detectives believe they've nabbed the man responsible for a series of smash-and-grab burglaries along the I-5 corridor.

Police say 44-year-old Douglas Leif Jones from Mount Vernon committed more than two dozen business break-ins from Bellingham to Burlington since summer. Most of the business had their front glass doors broken by a big rock and lost between $100 and $1,000 in cash.

Jones appeared in Whatcom County's jail courtroom Wednesday to learn his bail was set at $250,000.

"I just feel relieved that he was caught," said Bonnie Gillaspie whose consignment shop in Arlington captured surveillance video of a brazen burglar looking into the camera, pulling down his hat and continuing to take items.

Bellingham Police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht said Jones admitted involvement in 12 of the Bellingham break-ins. He said Jones has been a person of interest for months, but every time officers watched a business to guess where he might strike next, he'd already moved on.

Police arrested Jones at a friend's home in Bellingham Tuesday morning after surveillance video surfaced from burglarized businesses in Bellingham.

"We've already arrested this person in the past, so when they saw his image on these videos they were quick to make contact with those other agencies and say hey, we know who this guy is," Yacht said.

Prosecutors say the smash and grabs began in August, 24 hours after Jones was released from the Whatcom County Jail for trafficking property stolen in a similar spree last year.