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UPDATE: Split-tongue bandit sentenced to 6 years

Posted: January 29, 2013 3:38 p.m.
Updated: January 29, 2013 4:20 p.m.

A Canyon Country man dubbed the “Split-Tongue Bandit” was sentenced to six years in prison this week after he entered a plea of no contest to a felony charge of taking a car without the owner’s permission.

Thomas Joseph Nichols, 25, of Canyon Country, appeared Monday in San Fernando Superior Court on several charges — including carrying a concealed weapon, violating conditions of parole, possessing methamphetamine, receiving stolen property and second-degree commercial burglary.

All charges were dismissed except the one to which he pleaded “no contest,” said Deputy District Attorney Emily Cole.

“In admitting to the liability, he accepts the responsibility to pay back all the people, for all his actions,” she told The Signal Tuesday.

Under the terms of Nichols’ plea agreement, he accepts a sentence of six years, sources said. Nichols is scheduled to be formally sentenced on the single remaining charge next month, a court clerk said.

At that time the judge could pursue the issue of restitution for money Nichols owes his victims, Cole said.

On Oct. 21, Nichols allegedly stole an Apple iPhone 5 from the Verizon store on The Old Road south of McBean Parkway.

Witnesses at the store described the thief as having facial and neck tattoos, a tattoo on his right thigh, ear gauges and a split tongue.

On Nov. 10, detectives with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station arrested Nichols for stealing the iPhone.

A couple of days later, Nichols was also charged with receiving stolen property after investigators allegedly found a cellphone, jewelry and a Phoenix .25 caliber pistol reported stolen from a home on Nov. 9. The items were reportedly found in a backpack in the car he was driving.

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

Nichols, a parolee, was held in custody without bail for having violated conditions of his parole.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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