OKANOGAN – An Omak man was sentenced Oct. 13 for taking a wallet from a downtown Okanogan store and, less than two weeks later, was arrested on suspicion of stealing his mother’s car.
Justin Michael Nicholson, 18, pleaded guilty Oct. 13 to third-degree theft for the Sept. 17 theft from Rawson’s Department Store, 212 S. Second Ave., Okanogan. He was sentenced to 364 days in jail with credit for 11 days served and 24-months of unsupervised probation.
He must pay legal financial obligations of $500, and was trespassed from the store. A pre-trial no-contact order was terminated.
Also on Oct. 13, the charge against him was amended from second-degree robbery to third-degree theft.
Nicholson initially was suspected of taking the wallet the afternoon of Sept. 17 and then trying to run over clerk Kim Staggs, 51, who followed him out of the store and demanded the wallet back. The store’s anti-theft system alerted employees to the theft, according to court documents.
Staggs “stated the vehicle drove at her and stopped within feet of her,” said Sheriff Tony Hawley at the time. “She stated, ‘What are you going to do, hit me?’ The vehicle was driven forward and back several times before it sped past her on Queen Street.”
The vehicle allegedly sped through the stop sign at Queen Street and South Second Avenue, according to court records.
Store employees provided deputies with a partial license plate number. The vehicle was traced to an Omak woman, Tonya R. Goujon; Nicholson was located at the woman’s home, court records said.
The wallet was recovered and returned to Rawson’s, according to court records.
In a second, unrelated case, Nicholson was charged Oct. 28 with second-degree taking a motor vehicle without permission with a domestic violence enhancement.
Omak Police Officer James Murray’s report accompanied the charge as a probable cause statement.
According to the report, Goujon contacted police Oct. 26 and alleged her son, Nicholson, had the keys to her vehicle and she needed them to drive to work. Nicholson, who was sleeping on the couch, allegedly said he didn’t have the keys, then got upset and flipped over a coffee table before going out the front door.
Goujon looked outside and saw that her vehicle – the same one used by Nicholson in the Rawson’s theft – was gone, the report said.
Later in the day, a woman on East Bartlett Avenue contacted police to complain about alleged activities at the house next door and said a silver car was there.
Murray’s report said he arrived and found the allegedly stolen Goujon vehicle parked in front of the home. A man got inside and drove it into the driveway.
The man told Murray he moved the vehicle at Nicholson’s request, and that Nicholson was in the house, the report said.
Nicholson, Jacob Alverson and a third man were located in a shed and detained, said Murray’s report. Alverson was wanted on an outstanding warrant.
The other two men – the driver and the third man in the shed - were released.
During a preliminary hearing Oct. 27, the county’s contract public defender was appointed to represent Nicholson.
Arraignment was Nov. 9.