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Dec. 3, 2022

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Bellingham woman allegedly steals from 12-year-old boy, then tries to buy cigarettes

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BELLINGHAM — A Bellingham woman is suspected of snatching $20 from a 12-year-old boy and then attempting to use it to purchase cigarettes.

The Bellingham Police Department booked Jessica Kelly James, 34, into Whatcom County Jail on Sept. 20 on suspicion of first-degree theft. Jail records show James, who also was arrested on two outstanding criminal trespass warrants, is being held in lieu of $50 cash bail.

Officers responded to the downtown area at approximately 5 p.m. on Sept. 20 for the report of a strong-armed robbery, according to Whatcom County Superior Court documents.

Police soon located and detained James, but documents state she refused to speak with officers.

Police spoke to the 12-year-old victim, who told them that he was in the alley near JJ’s and stopped to count his money, documents state. He reportedly said he had the money in his hand when James sneaked up behind him and grabbed the $20 from his hand.

The victim followed James into the Rite Aid, documents state, and Rite Aid employees told police that James attempted to buy cigarettes with a $20 bill.

The victim was able to identify James as the person who had stolen his $20, documents state.

Police noted in the documents that they were unable to locate a $20, though James was found in a “gaggle” of people, and one ran off when police arrived.

Court records show James had three previous convictions for theft for incidents that occurred in 2016 and 2017.

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