Oak Harbor beer thief faces plethora of charges
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
September 24, 2010 · Updated 2:10 PM
A drunk and suicidal man robbed an Oak Harbor convenience store for a 12-pack of beer, waved a gun around, stole a car and led police on a high-speed chase last week, court document indicate.
The suspect, 27-year-old Ira Titterness, is facing a long list of charges related to the three-hour spree.
Prosecutors charged him in Island County Superior Court Sept. 17 with first-degree robbery, taking a vehicle without permission, two counts of unlawful carrying or handling of a weapon, third-degree theft, DUI, hit and run (unattended vehicle) and driving while license suspended or revoked.
According to a report by Sgt. Larry Ferguson with the Oak Harbor Police, the incident began on the night of Sept. 14 when Titterness was in a car with a friend. He threatened to “blow (his) brains out” and showed his friend a handgun, the report states.
Titterness’ friend was alarmed, so he stopped at the DK Market in Oak Harbor and called another friend to come help. But Titterness became more upset and emotional. He went into the store, took a 12-pack of Coronas, walked past the clerk and said, “Go ahead call the cops and I’ll kill ya,” Ferguson wrote.
The clerk did call the cops, which apparently upset Titterness even more. He pulled out the gun, cocked it, threatened the clerk again, waved it around and then put it away, the report states.
In the parking lot, Titterness threw the beer at a car that drove up. The driver, Danny McDonald, got out of the car and was confronted by Titterness. But Titterness’ friends warned McDonald that he was armed and McDonald back off.
Titterness then jumped into McDonald’s car, backed into his friend’s car and drove off, Ferguson wrote.
A couple of hours later, the police received a report that Titterness was at a friend’s home, threatening to kick down the door. Titterness was gone before police arrived.
An hour after that, Trooper Jason Nichols with the State Patrol saw the stolen car traveling on Highway 20 near Deception Pass. Nichols tried to stop the car after it turned onto Cornet Bay Road, but the car accelerated up to 98 miles per hour, the report states. The pursuit ended when the road ended at the boat ramp.
Titterness later told the trooper that he had thrown the gun off the Deception Pass Bridge. He refused to submit to blood-alcohol testing, court documents indicate.
McDonald got his car back, but he said it may be damaged beyond repair.
Judge Vickie Churchill set Titterness’ bail at $25,000 during a Sept. 15 hearing. If convicted of all the charges against him, he could face from three to four years in prison.Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at email@example.com or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.