Suspect in Oak Harbor Cinema theft strikes plea deal
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
February 11, 2009 · 7:53 AM
One of the three young men accused of faking an armed robbery at Oak Harbor Plaza Cinema 3 last fall in order to steal money has made a plea bargain, according to court documents.
Daniel Nichols, a 19-year-old Oak Harbor resident, pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court to theft in the first degree.
On Feb. 2, Judge Vickie Churchill followed the agreed recommendation worked out by the prosecution and defense as part of a plea bargain. She sentenced Nichols to 45 days in jail, with 15 of those days converted to 120 hours of community service.
She ordered him to pay $817 in fines and fees. Also, he must pay his share of restitution, a total of $1,446, to the movie theater.
The charges against the other two suspects in the case, 19-year-old Patrick Quinn and 18-year-old Cody Smith, haven’t been resolved.
Last November, Quinn, an employee of the cinema, reported to police that he had been robbed.
Quinn claimed he was going to the cinema office when an unknown man stuck something in his back — possibly 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, according to the police report.
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. The detective started interviewing people and got a tip that the money was at a home in Federal Way. Based on the information, investigators were able to fit the pieces of the puzzle together.
According to police, they suspected that Quinn worked with fellow cinema employee Nichols and their friend, Smith, to steal the money.
They created the story about the unknown robber to cover the fact that they stole money from the safe, the police report said. One of the suspects took the money to his sister’s home in Federal Way, where Federal Way police later recovered at least some of it.Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.