Bellingham police track down elusive daytime backyard burglar with assistance from public

A daytime burglar was arrested in Bellingham after having eluded police earlier in the day.

Witnesses reported seeing Tyler Lee Joline, 20, running through backyards in the Whatcom Falls neighborhood around 9 a.m. Tuesday Feb. 6, stealing items and damaging property, said Megan Peters of the Bellingham Police Department.

A call to police came in around 11:15 a.m., and officers soon responded and began tracking Joline. The search lasted until 1:10 p.m., when all that was found was a pile of discarded clothes.

Bellingham Police made a post to Facebook about the incident at the time of the search, asking for footage from backyard cameras.

As a result of the search, the nearby Kulshan Middle School sent into a secure protocol (formerly known as a lockout) as a precaution just before noon. The protocol was lifted around 12:45 p.m.

Around 6:15 p.m. officers received a report of a number of people sleeping in the common area of a building on York Street, one of whom turned out to be Joline, who police suspected of being the neighborhood burglar from earlier in the day, Peters said.

Police recovered stolen property including a bike that Joline apparently used as his getaway vehicle, according to Peters. The owner of the bike has yet to be determined.

Peters said anyone who believes it may be their bike should call the non-emergency police number at 360-676-6911 and mention the case number 24B06953 or 24B06856, as well as a description of the bike to claim it.

Joline remains in custody at Whatcom County Jail after being arrested on suspicion of criminal trespass first and second degree, second-degree burglary, third-degree theft and third-degree malicious mischief.