Suspect in attempted abductions accused of kidnapping 2-year-old

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - A man arrested Thursday in connection with two attempted abductions in Bellingham last week is now suspected in a third incident - the recent kidnapping of a 2-year-old girl from a local Fred Meyer store.

Bellingham police spokesman Mark Young said the man, identified as Jake J. Unick, 27, was arrested Thursday after he turned himself in to police.

His arrest came days after a 13-year-old girl and a 24-year-old woman were nearly abducted last Friday in two separate incidents. In both cases, the suspect had punched or grabbed the victims and sprayed them in the face with an unknown substance. Both victims were able to escape.

As officers were investigating those cases, Unick came to their attention in connection with another case - the disappearance of a 2-year-old girl from the Fred Meyer store on Monday.

Unick, who is an employee at the store but was not working at the time, brought the 2-year-old into the store from outside and handed her to another employee. He allegedly said that he had found the child wandering outside.

But a review of store security video showed Unick holding the child's hand and leading her through the store past the customer service desk and outside, Young said.

The little girl was eventually reunited with her parents, who told police they did not know Unick and had not given him permission to take their daughter from the store.

During an interview at the police station, Unick told detectives his story that he had come to the store to go shopping when he located the child outside of the store and thought she was lost.

As the detectives were interviewing him, they realized that Unick strongly resembled the suspect in the two recent attempted abductions and that both those incidents occurred within blocks of Fred Meyer, Young said.

In both attempted abductions, the victims described the suspect as a white man in his 20s with lighter colored facial hair and wearing dark rimmed glasses. He was described as being between 5-feet-5-inches to 5-feet-7-inches with a thin build.

Following his interview with police, Unick contacted an attorney. He eventually turned himself in to police at the advice of his attorney.

Unick was booked into Whatcom County jail for investigation of two counts of attempted kidnapping and two counts of fourth-degree assault in connection with the attempted abductions, as well as one count of kidnapping in connection with the abduction of the 2-year-old girl, Young said.