By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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Sarah Ellisyn Burnside, 18, pleaded not guilty as charged Thursday to one count of second-degree malicious mischief, a Class B felony, stemming from a June 10 burglary at Pacific Pizza at 870 S. Forks Ave.
Burnside originally had been charged with one count each of first-degree theft, second-degree burglary and theft of a motor vehicle after she told Forks police she and a Forks man had broken into the pizza shop.
Jesse Espinoza, deputy Clallam County prosecuting attorney, said Friday he added the malicious mischief charge last week because he only recently had received the damage estimates for the burglary.
“Without that information, I didn't have the probable cause to charge,” Espinoza said.
Espinoza said an estimated $1,400 to $1,500 worth of damage was done to the pizza shop because of the burglary.
More than $750 worth of damage is the upper threshold for second-degree malicious mischief, Espinoza explained.
Burnside, who was not listed on the Clallam County jail roster Tuesday, is next set to appear in Clallam County Superior Court for a case status hearing Sept. 19.
The Forks man, Tyeson Frank LaGambina, 24, was arrested and initially charged with the same crimes as Burnside because she had told officers he was involved.
As the case has worked its way through Superior Court, however, Espinoza said Burnside made clear she would not testify against LaGambina during a jury trial.
Without her testimony, Espinoza dismissed the charges against LaGambina without prejudice.
According to police accounts, Pacific Pizza owner Mark Raben called 9-1-1 at about 6:30 a.m. June 10 to report his building appeared to have been entered through the shop's back window, which had been broken.
Raben told police a safe containing about $7,000 in cash and checks had been stolen from inside the shop, in addition to a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu used for deliveries.
After her arrest June 24, Burnside told Officer Todd Garcia that she and LaGambina had been involved in the burglary and had burned the checks and credit card receipts found in the safe.
Burnside also told police she had driven the Chevy Malibu off a cliff near Sitkum-Sol Duc Road, about 2 miles east of U.S. Highway 101.
Police later found the car at the bottom of a 50-foot bluff off Sitkum-Sol Duc Road.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.