A Richland man accused of robbing an acquaintance and using her debit card at several stores is held on $50,000 bail.
Tyler W. Thomas, 23, pleaded innocent in Benton County Superior Court to second-degree robbery and second-degree possession of stolen property.
His trial is set for June 8.
Sarah M. Verduzco told Kennewick police she was giving Thomas and a woman a ride on March 17 when they assaulted her, tried to take her car and stole her purse, court documents said.
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Police tracked down Lana Benoit, the woman with Thomas, who claimed Verduzco was unable to drive so she took her home in Verduzco’s car.
Benoit said at some point Verduzco and Thomas started arguing, so to get away from them she called another friend to pick her up, court documents said.
Benoit had hopped in her friend’s car when she heard Thomas call Verduzco a derogatory name, followed by “punches striking within Ms. Verduzco’s car,” documents said.
Thomas then unexpectedly jumped into the friend’s car with an armload of property, court documents said.
Verduzco reported that her debit card was used that same day at Walgreens, Target and Office Max. Video footage confirmed it was Thomas with Benoit and her friend, and the manager at one store said Thomas had encouraged one of the women to use Verduzco’s card, documents said.
Benoit has not been charged in connection to this incident, online court records show.