2 arrested after Bellingham man claims he was forced to steal from stores

Two suspects were arrested for allegedly forcing a man to steal from Burlington stores.

Officers were called to an apparent robbery at one of the shops near Fred Meyer around 7 p.m. When they arrived, employees said a man had come in and passed a note to them, claiming he was being held against his will and there was a gun involved. The note also described a suspect vehicle.

The man left and employees called 911.

During their investigation, 911 received another call from another business. Employees told dispatch that a man came in and told them he was being held captive, and described a suspect with a gun in a car vehicle parked nearby.

This time, officers identified the suspect vehicle in the Fred Meyer parking lot. As they walked up to it, a 42-year-old Blaine man got out. Police arrested him, who was found to be holding the other man’s phone.

Police went into the Fred Meyer and found the 34-year-old Bellingham man claiming to be held captive.

The man told officers he had a dispute with another man over some property. A short time later, two men showed up at his apartment and ordered everyone to leave, then hit him with a handgun and threatened to kill him. He said they took him in a car to Skagit County and ordered him, at gunpoint, to steal from stores.

Officers had arrested the first suspect already, and arrested the second one at a nearby hotel. Both men were booked into jail on charges including first-degree robbery, harassment threats to kill, second-degree trafficking and second-degree assault.

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