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Brent Severns faces a dozen criminal charges

Success in business or politics isn’t an inoculation from the impact of drug addiction in a family.

Oak Harbor City Councilman Bob Severns, former manager of a title company and a member of the Whidbey Island Bank board, knows this all too well.

Severns said his son, Brent Severns, has battled drug addiction, particularly methamphetamine addiction, for the past 20 years. He sent him through rehab several times.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t pray that we can find a solution,” he said, “or that he can find a solution.

“The answer really needs to come from him.”

Bob Severns said he made it clear to his son that he won’t support him as long as he is using; he said he tried to explain the decision to him “in so many ways.” He said he can’t condone any harm his son may have caused to others as a result of his drug use.

Brent Severns spent the past six months homeless, but is currently being held in jail and faces 12 felony charges, according to his father.

Three years ago, Brent Severns was in Drug Court, a program that allows people who commit nonviolent, drug-related offenses to forego lengthy sentences by abiding by a strict regiment of supervision, treatment and testing.

He flunked after he sold meth to an undercover police informant, however. He pleaded guilty to “maintaining premises for using controlled substance” and was sentenced to a year and two months in prison.

At the time, Island County Superior Court Judge Alan Hancock noted the difficulty of overcoming “the demon of addiction” and encouraged Severns to seek treatment in prison.

Oak Harbor police started looking for him in May when they suspected that he had opened a credit card in his mother’s name without her knowledge and then used the card to purchase items, court documents state.

The police said they found Brent Severns sleeping inside a storage shed on property owned by his father. Bob Severns asked to have his son “trespassed” from the property, according to the report written by an Oak Harbor police detective.

Then, on June 28, a Southeast Barrington Drive resident reported that her checkbook, debit card and driver’s license were stolen from her truck. The woman said her bank notified her that someone used the card at Safeway.

Police officer Chris Peabody obtained a surveillance video from the grocery store. Peabody said in his report that he believed the person who could be seen using the card appeared to be Brent Severns.

A Safeway employee reported to police on July 7 that the suspect, later identified as Severns, was in the store and was denied the use of a check, the report states. Peabody arrested Severns outside the store for alleged possession of stolen property.

Severns allegedly was carrying forged checks, a woman’s driver’s license, three checkbooks belonging to other people, a woman’s Macy’s card and various papers, Peabody said in his report.

Brent Severns pleaded not guilty last week to three counts of identify theft, five counts of possession of stolen property in the second degree and four counts of forgery.

Judge Hancock set bail for Brent Severns at $50,000 on July 7.

If convicted on the charges against him, he could face up to seven years in prison under the standard sentencing range.

Brent Severns’ attorney didn’t return a call for comment.

As for his father, Bob Severns said he’s shared the story of his son’s struggles with a lot of people and is surprised by how many of them have similar stories.

“There are more problems in more families in more neighborhoods than many people understand,” he said.

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