BELLINGHAM, Wash. — First responders were dispatched to the 3600 block of James Street about 4:50pm on Thursday, March 24th, due to a report of a single-vehicle crash.
According to an email to Whatcom News from Bellingham Police Department (BPD) Spokesperson Lieutenant Claudia Murphy, officers arrived to find a Volvo in the ditch and the driver was fleeing on foot, not stopping for officers.
BPD K-9 Rudy and his handler were able to locate the driver after a track led them through a nearby wooded area and the driver was taken into custody without incident. The driver requested medical attention due to having been involved in the crash.
Witnesses at the scene positively identified the man in custody as the driver, identified by jail records as Tyler Roy Jurich, age 27.
Checking the Volvo’s registration against law enforcement databases revealed it was reported stolen from a Bellingham address on March 23rd. The Volvo was considered a total loss after the crash.
During a search of the Volvo, BPD officers located a significant amount of property reported to have been stolen from dozens of victims.
Included in the inventory of property recovered were 2 shotguns and some military gear. The military gear and several US flags presented during overseas tours belonged to a former US Army soldier who had a storage unit broken into. This property was able to be quickly returned to the soldier.
BPD crime scene investigators sorted through the remainder of the recovered property to identify and match individual property with recent victims of vehicle prowls and burglaries.
Murphy said that with so many victims it could take days to match the property recovered with the many cases of recent vehicle prowls and burglaries.
Jurich was arrested and booked into Whatcom County Jail charged with suspicion of possession of a stolen vehicle, 2 counts of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, 1st degree possession of stolen property.
At the time of his arrest, Jurich was awaiting trial in a Whatcom County Superior Court case where he faces a charge of possession of a stolen vehicle. In that case, BPD officers contacted him while he was driving a car with stolen plates on March 5th. He was arrested and booked into the jail. According to court records, during a preliminary appearance in Superior Court 2 days later, he was released on personal recognizance after prosecutors requested a $2,500 bond be set.
As of March 26th, Jurich remained in custody pending being able to post a $20,000 bond. His arraignment is scheduled for April 1st.