Bail reduced for man charged in restaurant burglary

Posted 1/27/21

One of the three men accused of stealing dollars destined for charity from the walls of Fat Smitty’s restaurant during a Thanksgiving Day break-in had his bail reduced by $25,000 during a …

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Bail reduced for man charged in restaurant burglary

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One of the three men accused of stealing dollars destined for charity from the walls of Fat Smitty’s restaurant during a Thanksgiving Day break-in had his bail reduced by $25,000 during a hearing Friday in Jefferson County Superior Court.

Michael Duwane Smith, 34, of Port Orchard was arrested about 90 minutes after the burglary as he and two others were stopped short of the Hood Canal Bridge after trying to dodge a pursuing deputy by pulling into a driveway at a home near the span between Jefferson and Kitsap counties.

Smith was charged with second-degree burglary and third-degree theft. The two other men in the break-in — Spencer Aaron Schenk, 25, and Daniel Richard Schwartz, 25, both of Bremerton — have since reached plea agreements with the prosecutor’s office. Schenk received a prison sentence of 29.75 months, while Schenk was given nine months in county jail for second-degree burglary.

At the end of a short court hearing Friday, Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Keith C. Harper agreed to reduce Smith’s bail from $75,000 to $50,000.

Richard Davies, the lawyer representing Smith, said Smith had hoped to have his bail reduced so he could be released to tend to pressing legal issues in other counties.

There was no doubt, Davies added, that Smith will eventually be going to prison.

“He’s going to prison,” Davies said, noting that Smith has pending criminal charges in Kitsap and Mason counties.

“I don’t think he’s getting out,” Davies said.

The prosecuting attorney’s office opposed the reduction in bail, and pointed to Smith’s prior convictions for second-degree burglary, as well as drug charges, and said Smith was a danger to the community who might not come back to face charges if released.

In a video link from the county jail in Port Hadlock, Smith acknowledged his criminal history, one that includes more than two dozen court warrants issued for his arrest.

“I know I got a bad record,” Smith told the judge.

“I’ve been sent to prison before,” he added. “I’m not afraid to do prison time.”

Smith said he wanted his bail reduced so he could appear to answer charges in other courts. His family had put up money for his release in other counties, but those bonds would be in jeopardy if he did not appear.

“It’s not fair to them,” he said. “I need a little bit of help.” 

Smith has multiple pending felony charges in Kitsap County, as well as a number of current felony and misdemeanor charges in Mason County.

In Kitsap County, Smith’s charges include possession of a stolen vehicle, eluding a police vehicle, and a misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree domestic violence assault.

In Mason County, Smith has pending charges that include possession of a controlled substance, eluding a police vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, reckless driving, and first- and third-degree driving with a suspended license.

Smith pleaded for his bail to be reduced so he could appear in court in Kitsap and Mason.

“$75,000 is a lot of money. I’ve never had a bail that high,” Smith told the judge.

“I’m not afraid of no prison time. I’m just upset with myself. And I need a chance to fix it,” he said.

Harper said Smith had “a terrible record” and was facing a lot of time behind bars.

A high bail was appropriate, he added. 

But the judge also noted that Smith had been in custody in Jefferson County for a period of “dead time” that made him unavailable to attend to his other legal troubles.

Still, Smith also had an extensive history of warrants for his arrest.

“No matter how you cut it, he’s a high risk not to show up here,” Harper said.

Harper agreed to lower bail to $50,000. Smith’s trial was set for April 5.

Overall, Smith faces a high financial hurdle to clear for his release.

Bail amounts in other cases outside Jefferson County total more than $100,000. Including Jefferson County, Smith has bail amounts that total $105,420.

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HarveyW-Colatteral Damage

Endless coverage of the Fat Smitty's caper. No names. No details regarding the malfeasance at Fort Worden with over a MILLION DOLLARS misappropriated. Class discrimination in play. Local paper keeps lid on.

Which impacts more people? The failed and in denial FWPDA at Fort Worden or the Fat Smitty's gang?

Kind of sad really.

Friday, January 29