TACOMA, WA – Today Pierce County Prosecutor charged Tino Sabala, 36, with two counts of theft in the second degree, and one count of theft in the third degree for stealing $3,500 from an elderly Tacoma man. Sabala was arraigned today at 1:30 p.m. and is being held in lieu of $75,000 bail.
On July 14, 2014, the victim pulled into a Tacoma service station to get gas. Sabala accused the victim of hitting his car, which he claimed was worth $150,000. The victim didn’t believe he hit Sabala’s car, but was nervous he would lose his license, so he offered to give Sabala his insurance information. Sabala demanded $200 cash and said he would fix it himself. The victim gave Sabala $100, and Sabala drove the victim to his house to get another $70. Sabala told the victim it was going to cost $2,000, not $200. He drove the victim to a check cashing business, where the victim cashed a check for $2,200 and gave the money to Sabala. The teller said the victim looked lost and scared, and Sabala kept calling the victim “dad.”
Sabala said he still needed more money and drove the victim to Nordstrom, where he forced the victim to purchase $1,226.29 worth of shoes for Sabala. After the transaction, the victim managed to indicate to an employee what was going on and Sabala fled.
“If you suspect elder abuse, please call law enforcement,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “We can all help protect vulnerable citizens in our community.”
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Communications and Public Information Coordinator
Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office