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Prosecutors: Man cons 80-year-old into buying him designer shoes, giving him $3,500 cash

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PIERCE COUNTY — A Tacoma man is accused of conning an 80-year-old man out of thousands of dollars and then forcing the victim to buy him shoes.

According to Pierce County prosecutors, Tino Sabala accused the victim of hitting his car at a gas station — claiming the vehicle was worth $150,000. The victim told investigators he did not believe he hit Sabala’s car but was afraid he would lose his driver’s license.

The victim offered to give Sabala his insurance information, but he demanded $200 cash to do the repairs himself, according to court documents. The victim only had $100 to give him.

Sabala is accused of driving the victim to his home and then demanding the repairs would cost $2,000. He allegedly drove the victim to a check-cashing business where he cashed a $2,200 check and gave the money to Sabala.

The teller said the victim seemed lost and scared and that Sabala kept calling the victim “dad,” investigators said.

According to charging documents, Sabala said the money was not enough and took the victim to Nordstrom where he was forced to pay for more than $1,200 worth of shoes. Sabala allegedly took off after the victim somehow communicated to an employee that he was in trouble.

Sabala is charged with two counts of theft in the second degree and one count of theft in the third degree. He was arraigned Thursday and held in jail in lieu of $75,000 bail.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lidquist wants anyone who suspects elder abuse to report it.

“If you suspect elder abuse, please call law enforcement,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “We can all help protect vulnerable citizens in our community.”

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