BELLEVUE — Police say tests on DNA from a hoodie left behind by a man who broke into Interlake High School in April and smashed up trophy cases and doors with a hatchet failed to identify the culprit. Now, they are asking for the public’s help.
The thief lost his hoodie during a struggle with security officer Ginger Bonnell.
“This is actually my alma mater. I take a lot of pride in being able to protect the facility and the students that go here,” said Bonnell.
She spotted the man around 2:30 a.m. and called for police, then went to confront him.
“Anybody coming on the school grounds that doesn’t belong here worries me,” said Bonnell.
When she shined her flashlight in his face, he dropped everything in his hands, including his jacket and the hatchet, said Bonnell.
Surveillance video shows that she first tried talking to the man, asking him for ID. She says he seemed a little off.
“He eventually decided that he wanted to go home and it was at that point that he went over and picked up the hatchet and I knew I could be in trouble,” said Bonnell, who yelled at him to back away and then tried to detain him.
“If he got to that hatchet I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to control him or the situation and I would end up with that hatchet somewhere I didn’t want it.”
She was able to wrestle him into the stairwell while she waited for backup.
“He was relatively calm for just a moment and then he sprang back up at me. I spun him around into the lockers and tried to hold him there,” she said. “Eventually, the fight kind of went out of him but rather than just waiting there with me, he went limp.
“He pulled down and twisted away and at that point he pulled out of his shirt. At that point I was looking at him and thought OK, the police have got to be almost here, so go ahead.”
Officers didn’t arrive in time to locate him but are troubled that he went to such great effort to avoid capture.
“This appears to just have been a burglary. However, this suspect has shown he’s not afraid to use force when he’s confronted and that’s very concerning for us,” said Bellevue police officer Seth Tyler.
Bonnell knows that firsthand. She says he had sandy hair, droopy eyes and a small mouth.
“He had sort of a hang-dog kind of look, a little slumped over, and he was strong, but he wasn’t very physical. He was soft. I think he was used to being able to overpower people and it surprised him when he couldn’t overpower me easily,” she said.
Crime Stoppers is offering up to a $1,000 cash reward for information on his identity. If you know his name, call the hotline anonymously at 1-800-222-tips or contact Bellevue police.