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Bellingham attacker sprays victims

Bellingham police said four attacks on females in the past two weeks make up one of the most egregious crime sprees police have seen. They are looking for a white suspect in his mid-20s with oval glasses and a slight frame.

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guyBELLINGHAM — A Bellingham man accused of trying to kidnap two victims before spraying them in the face with an unknown liquid allegedly told his girlfriend he attacked his victims using pepper spray he stole from his girlfriends car and also tried to kidnap a toddler, the Bellingham Herald reported.

According to the Herald, Jake J. Unick, 27, attacked a 13-year-old girl on March 1 and a woman in her 20s later in the day. In both instances, police say, Unick sprayed the victim with pepper spray and tried to kidnap them. Both women managed to run away.

Police didn’t locate Unick.

On March 4, a 2-year-old girl was separated from her parents at the Bakerview Fred Meyer. Unick, an employee at the store, was not working. Employees guarded every entrance to the store and couldn’t find the toddler for 10 minutes, the Herald reported, until Unick ran into the store holding the girl. He claimed the girl told him “Mommy outside” so he took her outside to look for her parents.

The next day, store employees allegedly viewed security footage to find that Unick had actually escorted the girl from the store.

Unick turned himself over to police after allegedly being confronted by his girlfriend about his likeliness to the suspect’s description and she noticed her pepper spray was lighter than normal. He is being held in Whatcom County Jail on two counts of first-degree attempted kidnapping, one count of luring a child and second-degree assault.

Unick has a history of mental illness, the Herald reported.

Local News
03/08/13

‘Spraying’ assaults suspect also accused of kidnapping toddler

BELLINGHAM — The man accused of trying to abduct a woman and a girl in Bellingham is now facing charges of kidnapping a toddler.

Twenty-seven-year old Jake Unick’s attorney waved his initial court appearance Friday so he will spend the weekend in jail.

People who live around the Birchwood area, where the attacks happened, are glad the suspect is off the streets.

“It’s safer to at least walk around,” said Nicole Barber. “That’s a relief that he’s not out there trying to catch people.”

unickUnick is accused of trying to abduct a 13-year-old girl and a 24-year-old woman last Friday. Police said that in both cases, they were attacked and sprayed in the face with an unknown substance. Both managed to escape.

Police put out sketches of the suspect earlier this week, sketches that turned out to match a suspect in a recent kidnapping at a Fred Meyer store  in the Birchwood area.

Unick works at the store, but was shopping there at the time when a 2-year-old girl wandered off from her parents. Police said surveillance video showed him walking out of the store with the little girl, and bringing her back in about 10 minutes later.

“So that raised suspicion; detectives looked at the tape and interviewed the individual, which started the whole connection between him and possible suspects in these other two matters,” said Mark Young of the Bellingham Police Department.

Unick is now facing the charge of kidnapping and two counts of attempted kidnapping in the attacks last week.

sprayBELLINGHAM — A 27-year-old Bellingham man suspected of trying to kidnap a teenage girl and a 24-year-old woman and spraying their faces with a liquid turned himself into police Thursday, the Bellingham Herald reported.

In both of the separate cases on March 1, a man ordered the victims to come with him and, when they refused, he sprayed a strange substance in their eyes and fled.

A 27-year-old Bellingham man who was a suspect in the case turned himself into detectives Thursday.  He was booked into jail on suspicion of two counts of attempted kidnapping and a third count of kidnapping.

No details about the third charge are expected to be released until Friday, the Herald said. But a police spokesman told the newspaper that it is not related to two other recent assaults on college-aged women near the Western Washington University campus.

 

suspectBELLINGHAM, Wash. — Police released a sketch of a man they believe responsible for two attempted abductions March 1 in Bellingham.

According to police, the first incident occurred when a 13-year-old girl was waiting for the bus Friday. While waiting, a man walked up behind her and tried to grab her. When she fought, the attacker sprayed her in the face with some unknown liquid that burned her eyes, police said.

Later Friday, a 24-year-old woman on a walk by herself was attacked much in the same way. Again she was approached by a man from behind, and again she was sprayed in the face when she fought off the attacker.

In both cases the victims described their attacker as a white man in his 20s with light facial hair and dark rimmed glasses. He was 5’ 5” to 5’ 7” tall and had a thin build. The suspect was last seen wearing blue jeans and a black colored hooded sweatshirt.

Police are asking anyone with information to please contact Bellingham Police Detective Jana Bouzek at 360-778-8826.

Local News
03/04/13

Bellingham attacker still on the loose

photoBELLINGHAM, Wash. –Bellingham police said four attacks on females in the past two weeks make up one of the most egregious crime sprees police have seen.

Now, police are left with the difficult task of looking for suspects.

According to police, the first incident occurred when a 13-year-old girl was waiting for the bus Friday. While waiting, a man walked up behind her and tried to grab her. When she fought, the attacker sprayed her in the face with some unknown liquid that burned her eyes, police said.

Later Friday, a 24-year-old woman on a walk by herself was attacked much in the same way. Again she was approached by a man from behind, and again she was sprayed in the face when she fought off the attacker.

In both cases the victims described their attacker as a white man in his 20s with light facial hair and dark rimmed glasses. He was 5’ 5” to 5’ 7” tall and had a thin build.

Some residents in a nearby apartment complex said  they heard the screams from one of the victims. Scott Whitkop, a father of a young child, said he is upset that such attacks could happen in his hometown.

“It’s definitely scary,” Whitkop said.  “It makes me want to be watching a little bit more.”

Along with these two attacks, Western Washington University Police continue to investigate two other recent attacks on female students. Though it is unknown if the recent attacks are all connected, many across the town are bracing for more.

Former pastor Carl Jensen said he will be more alert now, watching for potential attackers.

“I guess that happens any place,”Jensen said.  “We just all have to be on the alert any place.”

sprayBELLINGHAM — Police in Bellingham are investigating four different assaults on women in the past week, two of which were sprayed in the face by their attackers.

Investigators said a man punched and sprayed an unknown liquid in the face of a 13-year-old girl Friday morning as she waited for a bus in the 700 block of West Bakersview Road.

Police said the girl was able to fight the attacker off and managed to run home and tell her parents.

Less than 12 hours later, investigators said a woman in her 20s was walking alone on Aldrich Road when a man snuck up behind her and sprayed her in the face. When she yelled, the suspect ran into the woods.

“Both of them are concerning but the first [attack] more so because we have a 13-year-old female victim that reported this waiting for the school bus,” said Bellingham Police Spokesman Mark Young.

Teresa Johnson lives near where the teen was attacked at the bus stop. She said she doesn’t think too much of a person who preys on young girls.

“He’s sick. He’s absolutely sick,” she said. “I think it’s terrible. I really do. We just have to be more alert.”

Detectives are also trying to figure out if the same man attacked two women near Western Washington University last week. The campus has asked students to be on alert.

WWU Freshman Taylor Lawson said she’s being extra vigilant in the wake of the attacks.

“I talked to my roommate about it and told her I wasn’t going to be walking around at night because of it,” Lawson said.

Police agree that women should be careful, especially at night.

Police said both of the victims in Friday’s attacks weren’t seriously injured.

Police describe the attacker as a white man in his 20s, about 5’7” tall with a thin build. They’re asking the public to call police if they have any information about the crimes.

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