BELLINGHAM, Wash. — The Bellingham Police Department (BPD) announced today that a suspect in a robbery at a credit union in the 1500 block of N State Street was in custody 12 hours later.
According to the announcement today, Friday, January 27th, BPD day shift officers responded to a report of a bank robbery at about 12:30pm on Thursday afternoon. The initial officers and detectives responded to the robbery and determined the suspect had entered the bank with his hands hidden under a plaid shirt, implying he had a weapon. He walked to a teller and demanded all the money in the till and then fled with the cash.
The robbery was recorded by a video surveillance system. A detailed description of the suspect seen on the video having been dressed in jeans, a plaid shirt and plaid jacket was radioed to BPD officers.
A still photo from the video was shared among local law enforcement and was used to positively identify the suspect by a law enforcement officer who knew him from prior contacts.
The suspect was not immediately located and BPD patrol officers spent the day looking for him and showing his photo to others.
The BPD night shift received a call at about 12:30am saying that the suspect was in a retail business near the intersection of Kellogg Road and Meridian Street.
BPD officers arrived at the scene and found the suspect still dressed in the same clothing as in the description and arrested him without incident.
A search of the suspect revealed a large amount of the stolen cash. Officers also applied for and were granted a search warrant for the suspect’s tent in an unhoused encampment where they recovered more of the stolen cash.
The suspect, identified by jail records as Ernesto Sosa, age 30, has prior felony convictions and had a Department of Corrections warrant for having escaped community custody. He was booked into jail and charged with suspicion of the following crimes.
- 2nd-degree theft of $750 to $5000
- 1st-degree robbery
As of today, January 27th, Sosa remained in custody without the opportunity to post bail pending a preliminary appearance in Whatcom County Superior Court this afternoon when bail may be set.
At the time of this arrest, Sosa was out on $100 cash bail while awaiting trial in 2 separate cases in Superior Court for the following charges.
- possession of a stolen vehicle
- hit and run of an unattended vehicle/property
- 2nd-degree possession of stolen property
- 2nd-degree stolen property trafficking
- 2nd-degree theft using an access device
- 2nd-degree vehicle prowling