Crime

Man who scammed older Pierce County drivers skips sentencing

A man who scammed older Pierce County drivers by accusing them of hitting his car is wanted by police after he didn’t show up to his sentencing.

Tino Sabala, 37, pleaded guilty in December to second-degree extortion and third-degree theft. He was released pending sentencing after posting the $75,000 bail set by Judge Stephanie Arend.

Sabala failed to appear at his sentencing Jan. 12, and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

Sabala got in trouble with the law after he accused an 80-year-old man of hitting his car in July at a Tacoma gas station. He told the driver to give him $200, then said it would take $2,000 to fix the car.

He drove the man to a check-cashing business, and they cashed a check by the older man for $2,200. A teller recalled Sabala repeatedly calling the man Dad, and said the 80-year-old looked lost and scared.

When Sabala took the man to Nordstrom to get him to buy him more than $1,200 in shoes, the older man got help from an employee and Sabala fled.

He pleaded guilty to second-degree theft and two counts of third-degree theft in 2012 for scamming other older drivers in a similar way.

Sabala is 6 feet tall, 240 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. He has the names Molly and Donna tattooed on his neck and has used at least 14 aliases before, according to Tacoma-Pierce County Crime Stoppers.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Tips are anonymous and can lead to a reward.

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