Man sentenced to 1 1/2 years for stealing from Bellingham bartender

A man involved in a theft of $120 from a bartender was sentenced to 1 1/2 years in prison Thursday, April 30.

David Christopher Amador, 29, and Erik “Solo” Delgado, 24, both pleaded guilty to first-degree theft last month after they demanded $120 from a Slo Pitch Pub Sports Grill & Casino bartender, Nickia Shepler, while she took a break during her shift in October 2014.

Amador, with four prior felony convictions, was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Delgado had no prior felony convictions and was sentenced to three months in jail.

On October 19, 2014, Shepler spoke to Delgado, who identified himself as “Solo,” inside the bar during her shift, according to charges filed in Whatcom County Superior Court. Around 10:30 p.m., Shepler went outside to sit in her car. Delgado and Amador got into the back seat and demanded money. She denied having any. Delgado then lifted up his shirt, revealing a black handgun tucked into his pants, and Shepler gave the two men $120 from her wallet, charges say.

Photos from the bar helped police identify Delgado and Amador as the suspects. Amador, without identifying Delgado, admitted to police that he and a “companion” went to Slo Pitch that night, charges say. He said his companion agreed to purchase marijuana from the bartender, and he said the transaction occurred in the back seat of Shepler’s vehicle. Amador did not mention anything to police about stealing money, according to the charges.

The two men were charged with first-degree robbery while armed with a firearm.

Deputy Prosecutor Jim Hulbert said at Amador’s sentencing that the circumstances that brought Delgado and Amador to Shepler's car were somewhat ambiguous, which could have complicated the case had it gone to trial. They pleaded guilty to reduced charges of first-degree theft.

Amador’s first felony conviction came in 2007. Charges from that case say Amador struck a man in the head with a metal pipe, threatened a car driver with the same metal pipe and stole the car before leaving it in a parking lot with the stereo and speakers missing. He pleaded guilty to three charges, including second-degree robbery. He was sentenced to a year in prison. In two separate cases after that, he was found guilty of assault.