Bank robbery suspect surrenders to Bellingham police after standoff

BELLINGHAM - A police standoff with a bank robbery suspect who was believed to be armed ended peacefully Friday, Dec. 10, when the man surrendered at an apartment complex off West Bakerview Road.

The man, identified as William R. Hurley, is believed to have robbed Business Bank, 2417 Meridian St. about 10:15 a.m., said Bellingham Police Sgt. Dave Richards.

Hurley surrendered shortly after 2:30 p.m., ending the hours-long standoff, Richards said.

The incident began when Hurley allegedly walked into the Business Bank in the 2400 block of Meridian Street and demanded money, saying it was a robbery. He did not show any weapon, Richards said.

He fled with cash. A police dog working with a Sheriff's deputy tracked his scent from the bank to an alleyway, where they found a beanie he was purportedly wearing during the robbery.

The deputy spoke with a witness who reported seeing him get into a white Ford pickup truck in the alley, Richards said.

Police spotted the truck in the Belleau Woods complex, 615 W. Bakerview Road, after its description was dispatched.

Bellingham Police and Whatcom County Sheriff's special weapons and tactics teams then surrounded a section of complex. Police also called in the assistance of a helicopter with U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Air and Marine division that hovered over the area helping with surveillance.

The commotion of police cars and the helicopter was seen not only by nearby residents and workers, but by the throngs of holiday shoppers heading to and from nearby Bellis Fair mall and other stores.

Hurley lives in an apartment in that complex and was believed to have rifles inside his unit, Richards said.

Police began the standoff and called his name out, telling him to come outside and surrender. They also tried to reach him by phone.Another apartment was associated with Hurley, and police also focused on that unit.

In the second apartment, police removed a man and woman, who gave them permission to search inside. Hurley was not found there, Richards said.

About 2:30 p.m., a woman walked out onto the balcony of Hurley's apartment. Police talked to her and got her to convince Hurley to surrender, which he did. He was arrested on suspicion of first-degree robbery.

Some officers were still at the complex after the arrest waiting to get a warrant to search Hurley's apartment.