Charges dropped in Forks pizza shop burglary case
By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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Tyeson Frank LaGambina, 24, of Forks had been charged with one count each of first-degree theft, second-degree burglary and theft of a motor vehicle in connection with a burglary reported at Pacific Pizza at 870 S. Forks Ave. on June 10.
Sarah Ellisyn Burnside, 18, of LaPush was charged with the same counts after she told Forks police officers that she and LaGambina had been involved in the burglary.
Burnside, however, has since made clear she would not testify against LaGambina during a jury trial, said Jesse Espinoza, deputy Clallam County prosecuting attorney.
“She’s the only evidence we have right now against Mr. LaGambina,” Espinoza said Thursday.
Espinoza said he filed a request to dismiss the charges without prejudice, which means they could be filed again if more evidence is found to support LaGambina’s role in the burglary.
“It’s possible [there] could be some further investigation as far as LaGambina, but I don’t want to compromise what [Forks police] have been working on,” Espinoza said.
Pacific Pizza owner Mark Raben called 9-1-1 dispatchers at about 6:30 a.m. June 10 to report that his shop’s back window had been broken and the building entered.
According to police accounts, Raben told police a safe containing about $7,000 in cash and checks had been stolen from inside the building, in addition to a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu parked outside that had been used for deliveries.
Espinoza said he still plans to prosecute the charges against Burnside, who is next set to appear in Clallam County Superior Court on Sept. 5 for a case status hearing.
Two weeks ago, Burnside sent a letter to LaGambina’s defense attorney saying LaGambina was not involved in the burglary.
LaGambina was released from the Clallam County jail Aug. 18 but, as of Friday, was listed on the Forks jail roster.
Forks Police Administrator Rick Bart said Friday that LaGambina was serving a two-week jail sentence for a separate crime.
Burnside was not listed Friday on the Clallam County or Forks jail roster.
According to police accounts, Burnside told Forks Officer Todd Garcia after she was arrested June 24 that she and LaGambina had been involved in the Pizza Shop burglary and had burned the checks and receipts found in the safe.
Burnside also told Garcia she had driven the Chevy Malibu off a cliff near Sitkum-Sol Duc Road, about 2 miles east of U.S. Highway 101.
Bart later found the Malibu at the bottom of a 50-foot bluff at Sitkum-Sol Duc Road.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at email@example.com.
Last modified: August 24. 2013 5:12PM