Pizza burglary suspect cleared after girlfriend refuses to testify against him

By Joe Smillie, Forum Editor


After his reported girlfriend refused to testify against him, charges against Tyeson F. LaGambina, 24, Forks, for his alleged role in the June 10 burglary of Pacific Pizza were dropped.


Charges against LaGambina of burglary in the second degree, theft in the first degree and theft of a motor vehicle were dismissed in the Clallam County Superior Court. He remains in Forks jail on a sentence for a separate crime, Police Administrator Rick Bart said Monday.


Sarah E. Burnside, 18, La Push, still faces charges stemming from the pizza place burglary.


Burnside initially told Forks Police she and LaGambina had stolen the contents of the restaurant’s safe and a delivery vehicle after she was arrested June 24. She later refuted LaGambina’s role in the break-in in a letter to his attorney.


He was released from Clallam County jail, where he was awaiting charges.


“We are very disappointed and extremely frustrated with Ms. Burnside,” Bart said.


Bart said his officers have other evidence that may link LaGambina to the burglary. The case was dismissed without prejudice, which means the county could bring back charges against LaGambina.


The burglary happened in the early morning hours of June 10.


Owner Mark Raben called police later that morning after discovering the rear window of his restaurant had been broken and the contents of his business’ safe – approximately $7,000 in cash and checks – were taken along with a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu used to deliver pizza.


Bart later found the car destroyed at the bottom of a ravine off the Sitkum-Sol Duc Road about two miles east of U.S. Highway 101.


In her initial confession, Burnside said she and LaGambina had driven the car off a cliff and burned the checks and credit card receipts from the safe.


She is scheduled for a jury trial Sept. 23.

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