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UP Police Arrest Man Who Allegedly Targeted Senior Drivers With Fake Fender-Benders

University Place deputies arrested suspect Tino Sabala, who was booked into jail last week.

University Place Police have arrested a man suspected of targeting senior drivers by claiming they had hit his car and convincing them to hand over cash.

Tino Sabala was targeting elderly drivers at local grocery stores and other businesses, says Interim Police Chief Mike Blair.

He would speak to the drivers and allegedly claim they struck his vehicle. Specifically, he allegedly would point out a scratch on the front of his vehicle and claim they were responsible.

"He would coerce them into giving him money for the repairs or compensation," Blair told Patch.

Authorities idenitifed Sabala last week, and he was taken into custody by UP deputies. He was booked on suspicion of one count of second-degree theft, in which he allegedly conned one driver out of $816. He also is charged with three counts of third-degree theft that ranged from $100 to $300 each.

Police also identified three attempts that occurred in University Place and Fircrest.

The Pierce County Prosecutor's Office is handling the case and is considering enhancing the charges because they involve the targeting of elderly victims, Blair said.

Additional evidence is still being collected from financial institutions and businesses for the case.

Christie Anderson June 07, 2012 at 05:33 AM
Wow....I wonder if that was the arrest I saw being made in Safeway's parking lot last Monday night?
Brent Champaco June 07, 2012 at 08:20 AM
Might have been, Chris. I've already had one person contact authorities. After she read our story, she realized she witnessed the suspect do the same thing at the Fred Meyer on 19th.

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