Burbank man pleads guilty in connection with fake robbery

Joseph D. Shackett likely faces no additional jail time in connection with a theft in Burbank in April.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man who stole more than $1,000 from the Burbank Sun Mart in April by helping stage a robbery there pleaded guilty Monday in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

Joseph D. Shackett, 22, of 18 Piper Road, Burbank, entered the guilty plea to a charge of second-degree theft.

Shackett faces up to 60 days in the County Jail when he's sentenced later. But the prosecution is recommending no additional jail time.

Authorities say Shackett and Aaron R. Weissenberger -- who was working as a clerk in the store at the time -- agreed among themselves to steal the money from the business by making it look like a robbery.

Shackett reportedly entered the store at 35 Apple Lane about 2:35 a.m. April 27 wearing a hooded sweatshirt, dark pants and a makeshift mask. He then placed a note on the counter purportedly demanding money from the safe and cash register, according to authorities.

A recording by the store's surveillance camera shows Weissenberger allegedly giving Shackett a money bag from the safe and currency from the cash register.

Shackett left with an estimated $1,071, Weissenberger called 911 to report a robbery and the men later split the money, officials said.

Shackett was arrested July 7 and charged with first-degree robbery after the Sheriff's Office received information from the state crime lab identifying fingerprints on the note as being his.

Robbery, which involves taking property by force or threatened force, is a more serious crime than theft, netting a first-time offender 31-41 months in prison. But officials said they realized a robbery didn't actually occur after Shackett told them Weissenberger helped stage the incident. Shackett was released to house arrest July 22.

Weissenberger, 36, who now lives in Kennewick, was arrested Aug. 8, but released on conditions four days later. His trial on a second-degree theft charge is scheduled for Nov. 2 and 3.

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