Break-in Crew Targets Homes Along Trail Systems in Western Washington


More than one home burglary in Bellingham is being linked to a brazen West Coast gang of masked thieves who have ransacked homes from Whatcom County to the Seattle area and farther south, according to police and published reports.

Bellingham Police Lt. Claudia Murphy confirmed in an email to The Bellingham Herald Friday, March 17, that a detective is investigating the cases.

Murphy was unable to provide details immediately, but police in Bellevue said the burglars have been targeting homes along urban bike and pedestrian corridors like Bellingham's well-known Greenways trail system.

"They're using the trails that run up against these houses as a mean of escape," Bellevue Police Capt. Joe Nault told KCPQ-TV in Seattle, which first published about the crimes.

Bellevue Police said at their website that at least 16 break-ins are the work of an organized crew that attacks in groups of three.

"They often enter the home through the back door but have used a second-story window. The burglars target jewelry, cash, purses and safes, and they tend to burglarize more than one home in a neighborhood,"

They all wear masks and seem undaunted by security cameras — but they flee at the sound of an alarm or one voice through a remote surveillance system, Nault told Channel 13.

Burglars have used trash cans or ladders stored outside to enter through a second-story window, sometimes even while people are home.