BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Bellingham Police, with the assistance of other Whatcom County law enforcement agencies, kept a constant eye on 2 theft suspects for 21 miles after they took off from a traffic stop.
According to an email from Bellingham Police Department (BPD) Lieutenant Claudia Murphy to Whatcom News, officers were dispatched about 8:40pm on Tuesday, September 7th, to a report of a man stealing items from a retail business in the 400 block of Telegraph Road.
Officers were provided a description of the suspect and then were informed by employees he had just left as a passenger in a white car. Officers got behind “the only white car in the proximity of the call” and activated their emergency lights to make a traffic stop.
The car pulled over but then took off as officers got out of their vehicles and approach the car on foot. The car fled by getting on northbound I-5 at Meridian Street. Officers followed in their marked vehicles with their emergency lights on.
Murphy told Whatcom News that what followed was not a pursuit of an eluding suspect since the suspects’ vehicle was not being driven recklessly. Officers reported the driver was obeying traffic laws, including traveling below the speed limit while on I-5.
Officers followed the suspect vehicle with their emergency lights activated to indicate they still wanted the driver to pull over.
According to law enforcement radio transmissions at the time, other law enforcement agencies were alerted to the situation in case support was needed in the event the suspects decided to elude or flee on foot.
The suspect vehicle was followed for 21 miles from the point of the initial stop before stopping at the end of a short dirt access drive on a cleared vacant lot in the 6500 block of Malloy Road, east of Malloy Road and between Brown and Aldergrove Roads. Upon reaching the end of the drive, both suspects fled the car heading in opposite directions.
Law enforcement personnel set up a closed perimeter around the area and BPD K-9 Rudy and his partner were requested to begin a track.
The passenger was located as he fled the K-9 track and ran into law enforcement on the perimeter. He was taken into custody without incident.
The K-9 unit returned to the car and began a new track to look for the driver. The driver was located in a heavily wooded nearby ravine and was also taken into custody without incident.
The driver was identified as Dale Torrey Hansen, age 49, and the passenger was identified as Anthony Lee Phare, age 26. Both were transported to Whatcom County Jail where they were booked and released pending trial in Bellingham Municipal Court. Both now face charges of failing to obey a police officer, resisting arrest and 3rd degree theft. Hansen is also charged with suspicion of 3rd degree driving while his license was suspended.
At the time of his arrest, Hansen was out of custody on bail while awaiting trial in Whatcom County Superior Court where he faces charges of burglary, residential burglary, vehicle prowling, possession of stolen property and theft in 2 separate cases dating back to 2019. He has prior felony convictions of controlled substance crimes and burglary.