Thief attacks 80-year-old man during car theft attempt

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- A suspected car thief is now under arrest, accused of not only trying to steal a car, but attacking an 80-year-old man during the attempt.

The victim and a 77-year-old woman had just pulled into the Wendy's parking lot on Samish Way Monday afternoon to get some food, said Mark Young with Bellingham police. The woman got out to open the restaurant door for the 80-year-old man.

But as the man got out of the car, a car thief came up to the man and demanded his car keys, Young said. When the victim refused, the thief pushed the man to the ground, grabbed the keys and tried to drive away.

However, a Wendy's employee who recognized the victims ran out to stop the man from stealing the car, but she was struck by the car as the thief attempted to back out, Young said. She was not seriously hurt.

Young says two other witnesses ran over, got the thief out of the car, and pinned him to the ground while awaiting police.

Coincidentally, a parking officer for Western Washington University was driving by at the time, saw the melee and radioed for help. Police from Bellingham and WWU arrived and took the thief into custody, Young said.

Young identified their suspect as 31-year-old Reggie Williams. Williams told police he needed to get back to Snohomish County after trying to buy drugs in Bellingham earlier, Young said. He's been booked for investigation of robbery, assault and car theft.

Williams was in court on Tuesday, where a judge set his bail at $300,000. Prosecutors say he has a minor arrest record in the United States, but has been arrested for assault in Canada.

Meanwhile, the 80-year-old man was treated for his injuries at the scene, then he and the 77-year-old woman went into the restaurant and had their planned meal.