Quilcene man ordered to pay more than $18,000 in restitution

Ruling follows guilty pleas in maple theft

PORT TOWNSEND — A Quilcene man has been ordered to pay more than $18,000 in restitution following the harvest of maple trees on private property that were sold to be processed into music instruments.

Michael Scott Hollingsworth, 26, was ordered Friday in Jefferson County Superior Court to pay for the value of the trees, the cost to remove the stumps and to restore the area where the theft occurred on Lake Leland LLC property in the 289000 block of U.S. Highway 101, which authorities believe occurred Nov. 23, 2018.

The total amount ordered was $18,065.40, which includes cleaning up debris and damage done to the property, deputy prosecuting attorney Anna Phillips said.

Hollingsworth is serving a year-long prison sentence at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla after he pleaded guilty to four charges this spring, including first-degree trafficking in stolen property, a Class B felony.

Hollingsworth also pleaded guilty May 10 to second-degree possession of stolen property and second-degree malicious mischief, both Class C felonies, and third-degree malicious mischief, a gross misdemeanor.

Four additional charges were dismissed as part of the guilty pleas.

Hollingsworth did not appear in court Friday as he previously waived his right to attend his restitution hearing.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies investigating Jan. 3 located the felled maple trees and seized two chain saws, according to court documents.

They believe the initial theft took place Nov. 23, 2018, the documents stated.

The deputies made a connection to Whale Bay Woods, the only processing mill in the area.

Whale Bay Woods, which turns western bigleaf maple into guitars, is located less than a mile from the site of the theft, court documents stated.

Employees at the business confirmed Hollingsworth and another man, Kenneth Wesley Early, had dropped off a large load of maple blocks in Hollingsworth’s pickup earlier in the day about the same time a witness saw them leave the homestead, the court documents stated.

The men were given $400 at the time, court papers said.

The two chain saws were matched to an earlier theft at Whale Bay Woods, and the cuts matched the maple blocks, the documents said.

At the scene, most of one large maple had been processed and removed in 24-inch blocks, the length most often required to sell to be produced into musical instruments, the documents stated.

The two men had used orange and pink spray paint to mark the sections to remove, court papers said.

“We packed one of the blocks to the site and immediately matched it up to scraps left at the scene,” Deputy Adam Newman wrote in his probable cause statement.

“The block matched perfectly with the cut scraps, showing the identical length, grain, cut marks, axe marks and pink paint.”

Hollingsworth was arrested Jan. 9 at his home without incident, court documents stated.

“He was respectful and attributed his bad decisions to his drug addiction,” Newman wrote. “He said that he was expecting to be arrested and wished it would have been sooner as he feels it is necessary for his recovery.”

Early has an active case in Superior Court and is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Oct. 4, with a jury trial Oct. 14.

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Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at bmclean@peninsuladailynews.com.

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