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Movie theater robbery turns into a fictional tale

Police say a report of an armed robbery at Oak Harbor Plaza Cinema 3 was actually an attempt to misdirect investigators.

It was really an inside job, according to police, and no armed robbery occurred.

Detective Sgt. Teri Gardner said 19-year-old Patrick Quinn, an employee of the cinema, reported to police Nov. 9 that he had been robbed.

Quinn claimed he was going to the cinema office when an unknown man stuck something in his back — he thought it was a gun — and ordered him to go to the safe and open it. Quinn said the man took the money and pepper-sprayed him before leaving.

A total of $4,917.09 was stolen from the safe.

Detective Carl Seim investigated the case, but was bothered by discrepancies in the story.

“It just didn’t jibe,” Gardner said.

The detective started interviewing people and got a tip from someone who wanted to remain anonymous. The tipster said the money was at a home in Federal Way, and based on the information, the police were able to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

According to Gardner, police suspect that Quinn worked with fellow cinema employee Daniel Nichols, 19, and their friend, 18-year-old Cody Smith, to steal the money.

They created the story about the unknown robber to cover the fact that they stole money from the safe, Gardner said. She added that one of the suspects took the money to his sister’s home in Federal Way, where Federal Way police later recovered it.

The police arrested the three men Nov. 14. They were all booked on suspicion of first-degree theft, while Quinn may also face a charge for providing a false statement to police.

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