David Briscoe, right, and his lawyer David Brown listen to the judge during Briscoe’s sentencing hearing in Lewis County Superior Court.
By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – The now-former manager at Yard Birds who admitted to police he pocketed thousands of dollars on the job saying he’d gone bankrupt and was behind in his medical bills offered his regret in open court yesterday for stealing.
“I know I made a big mistake, I’d like to apologize to Darris and his family,” David E. Briscoe told the judge. “I know there’s nothing I can do to take it back.”
Darris McDaniel, owner of the expansive Chehalis business on North National Avenue that holds a grocery store, a swap meet area and numerous vendors, wasn’t present. But McDaniel outlined in a letter to the judge the effects the ongoing theft had on employees and himself.
“Mr. McDaniel in his letter talks about the people having to forego the possibility of bonuses,” Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey said. “He had to put money of his own into Yardbirds to keep it going.”
Briscoe was arrested this past spring and charged with first-degree theft. He’s been for the past six months or so saving up money to begin to repay the debt, according to his lawyer. He pleaded guilty as charged in August, in a deal that gave him time to come up with cash.
Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Mark McClain told the court yesterday the amount stolen is nearly $42,000.
Briscoe’s lawyer David Brown said his client had $10,000 to hand over before his sentence was decided. Brown has indicated Briscoe and his father either sold or were working on selling property.
The Centralia man worked at Yard Birds-Shop ‘n Kart for several years, and was responsible for managing the swap meet area, vendors, storage units and recreational vehicle spaces, according to police.
He admitted to the court previously that he collected rent payments and kept them, and that it went on for three years.
McClain told the court that a check for $5,000 now and another for $5,000 next week wasn’t all that persuasive.
“My recommendation throughout is Mr. Briscoe should serve a year and a day (in prison),” McClain said.
Defense attorney David Brown told the judge his client still has other property for sale, and has been working in a trailer park in exchange for free rent and a couple hundred dollars each month.
“The people were very good to him, and he betrayed that trust,” Brown said. “He really wants and hopes the court will issue a standard sentence.”
The standard range under the law for Briscoe would be zero to 90 days in jail. The crime, with the major economic offense enhancement, carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Judge Brosey said the crime didn’t call for a sentence within the standard range.
When someone violates a position of trust within a small business, it often results in irreparable harm, the judge said.
“Frankly, this goes on way too much,” Brosey said.
Brosey ordered Briscoe to serve 12 months, in the county jail. He didn’t say explicitly, but alluded to the fact he couldn’t earn as much good time there toward a possible early release as he might in state prison.
Brosey ordered Briscoe to deliver a $5,000 check by noon, and the second $5,000 before he checks into the jail on Tuesday.
He said if he qualified for work release, he could do that. He declined to impose jail costs, saying any money Briscoe has should go to restitution.
The judge also ordered ongoing restitution payments of no less than $100 each month.
For background, read “Former Yard Bird manager pleads guilty as charged in theft from business” from Wednesday Aug. 27, 2014, here