Courts: Lopez teen faces felony theft charges

A Lopez Island teen accused of breaking into the office of the solid-waste transfer station on the day he was there to do community service pleaded innocent last week to felony burglary charges.

The 15-year-old faces one count of second-degree burglary, a Class B felony offense, in connection with the Feb. 22 break-in and theft of $58 cash. He pleaded innocent at his arraignment last week in Juvenile Court and remains in custody in a juvenile detention facility in Clallam County. He is scheduled to stand trial March 18.

The teen was assigned to the transfer station for eight hours of community service as part of his conviction and sentencing last summer for a series of thefts and related offenses at the high school and in his neighborhood. The convictions include one count of felony theft, two counts of misdemeanor theft, one count of vehicle prowl, one count of possession of stolen property, and being a minor in possession of alcohol.

The teen and the transfer station staff were on lunch break, and the Fisherman Bay Road facility was unattended, at the time of the alleged burglary and theft. He reportedly returned to the station during the lunch hour where prosecutors claim he forced open the office door with a screwdriver and took $58 from the cash register.

Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene after the station supervisor confronted the 15-year-old and the boy denied knowing anything about the missing money. He reportedly told the supervisor he had returned to the office to get his cigarettes.

According to court documents, the boy later admitted breaking into the office and taking the cash after sheriff's deputies questioned him. He led them to a patch of shrubs several blocks down the road where deputies found the money in a wallet. The wallet included business cards of two attorneys and a gift certificate drawn on a bank that reportedly had the boy's name on it.

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