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Split Tongue Bandit faces additional charges

Parolee charged with stealing iPhone faces more counts

Posted: November 14, 2012 6:03 p.m.
Updated: November 14, 2012 6:03 p.m.

The so-called Split Tongue Bandit, arrested for allegedly stealing an iPhone from a counter display, faces additional criminal charges including ones involving drugs, a firearm, a stolen car and stolen jewelry, court papers show.

Thomas Joseph Nichols, 25, of Canyon Country, appeared in San Fernando Superior Court Wednesday on a burglary charge in connection with the theft of a demonstration iPhone from a Verizon location last month.

Prosecutors with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed a formal criminal complaint against Nichols that now includes several charges in addition to second-degree commercial burglary.

Nichols is charged with unlawfully driving a Chrysler PT Cruiser stolen from Canyon Country and with receiving stolen property for allegedly buying the stolen car.

He is also charged with carrying a concealed weapon.

“When they (deputies) looked inside the stolen car they found a backpack, and inside the backpack they found a gun,” said Deputy Joshua Dubin of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

Local deputies arrested Nichols on Saturday morning for allegedly ripping a demonstration iPhone from its mooring inside a Verizon location last month, a sheriff’s spokesman said at the time.

“The detectives really put a lot of work into this one,” Dubin said.

On Oct. 21, a man stole an Apple iPhone 5 from the Verizon location on The Old Road south of McBean Parkway, he said.

Store witnesses including two employees provided a detailed description of the thief, including details of face and neck tattoos, a tattoo on his right thigh, ear gauges and a split tongue.

Nichols was also charged Wednesday with receiving stolen property after investigators allegedly found a cell phone, jewelry and a Phoenix .25 caliber pistol reported stolen from a home on Nov. 9.

According to court papers filed with the District Attorney’s office, investigators also found Nichols to be in possession of methamphetamine, resulting in a felony drug charge filed against him.

Nichols, a parolee, is being held in custody without bail for allegedly violating conditions of his parole.




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