Antique mall owner pleads guilty to stolen-property trafficking

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The owner of the Port Angeles Antique Mall pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree trafficking in stolen property last week after being arrested in February as part of a stolen-property sting operation.

Michael Allen Van­Ausdle, owner of the antique mall at 109 W. First St., will serve 30 days of electronic home monitoring, starting no later than Tuesday, through Friendship Diversion Services, according to court documents filed in Clallam County Superior Court.

VanAusdle, 51, said in a Friday interview that the electronic monitoring sentence will not prevent him from going to work at his antique mall, which hosts about 60 independently operating vendors.

VanAusdle declined to comment on the guilty plea and how the resolution with the prosecution was reached, citing advice from his attorney.

“My attorney told me not to talk about it at all,” VanAusdle said.

VanAusdle was arrested Feb. 15 at the Port Angeles Antique Mall after he reportedly bought jewelry he was told was stolen from confidential informants working with a burglary task force comprising Clallam County sheriff’s deputies and Port Angeles and Sequim police officers.

In an interview after his first appearance in Clallam County Superior Court, VanAusdle said he did not know he was getting involved in any stolen property and called the situation a misunderstanding.

The sting, in which informants spoke with Van­Ausdle about buying stolen jewelry three separate times between Dec. 16 and Jan. 17, was part of a larger operation in which an undisclosed number of Port Angeles gold and silver buyers were approached about buying jewelry described as stolen.

The jewelry used in the operation was paid for by the county and not actually stolen, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 25. 2013 5:12PM
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