Blaine man wanted for WinCo robbery arrested after eluding Bellingham police


Bellingham Police Department officers arrested a Blaine man April 21 who was wanted for his involvement in an armed robbery and assault April 6 at WinCo Foods.

James Michael Discher, 29, was booked into Whatcom County Jail April 21 on charges of first-degree robbery with a firearm, first-degree assault, attempting to elude a police vehicle, and hit and run after he fled pursuing Bellingham officers upon identifying him April 21.

Bellingham police lieutenant Claudia Murphy told The Northern Light in an email that at 10:17 p.m. on April 6 Bellingham officers were dispatched to an armed robbery at WinCo Foods on Bellis Fair Parkway. A loss prevention employee reported a male suspect had pulled a gun on employees after trying to steal merchandise.

Surveillance video showed a male, later identified as Discher, walking past checkout lanes with a bag of unpaid merchandise, Murphy said. Two WinCo employees identified themselves to Discher and attempted to detain him in handcuffs. According to police, Discher then pulled out a handgun from his waistband and asked, “Do you want to get shot?” Both employees released Discher, as he held the gun on them and fled the scene.

At 2:45 p.m. April 21, near Primrose Lane and Telegraph Road, a Bellingham officer identified Discher, who saw the officer and immediately fled at a high rate of speed, Murphy said. The officer pursued Discher on Telegraph Road.

Discher drove onto a sidewalk to pass stopped vehicles, ran a red light at a high rate of speed and sideswiped a vehicle near a construction zone while fleeing, according to the police. Bellingham police ended the pursuit after Discher entered the construction zone because of high risk to the public and Discher’s intent to continue fleeing, Murphy said.

Shortly after, officers received a tip to check a home in the 3900 block of Jones Lane in the Marietta-Alderwood area of Bellingham. When officers arrived at the property, they encountered a stunned property owner who said someone had driven a car onto his property at a high rate of speed, Murphy said. The owner told officers the suspect got out and covered the vehicle with a tarp before fleeing on foot.

Officers found Discher hiding in one of the property owner’s vehicles. He was arrested without incident on the outstanding probable cause for robbery and assault from April 6.

According to jail records, Discher was also booked on four outstanding arrest warrants and is being held without bail. He was scheduled to make a preliminary appearance Whatcom County Superior Court April 26.


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