By Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times
A former South Whidbey man who robbed a bank just before appearing on a reality TV show in 2010 was sentenced to prison last week.
Richard T. Young, who is now a Tennessee resident, pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court June 4 to second-degree robbery.
Under the terms of the plea bargain, the prosecution and defense recommended a sentence of two years in prison, which is an exceptional sentence beyond the standard sentencing range.
Judge Carolyn Cliff agreed and imposed the sentence. She also ordered him to pay $2,716 in restitution to Chase Bank in Freeland.
Attorney Blake Harris explained that Young had suffered from a gambling addiction and used the money from the robbery to pay debt. He said Young has since moved to Tennessee, has a good job in sales and hasn’t committed any other crimes.
Young apologized for his actions and said he has turned his life around.
“Eleven years ago when I committed this crime I was not the person that I am today,” he said, “and I am still ashamed of that person.”
Young described the impact of his “crippling addiction.”
“I lost everything that mattered to me,” he said. “I lost my family, I lost my job, I lost my friends, but really I lost who I was.”
Young and his family appeared in the reality TV show “Super Nanny,” which was filmed on Whidbey Island in 2010, just weeks after the Jan. 14 bank robbery.
The premise of the reality show is that an expert nanny helps parents modify their children’s bad behavior. The TV Guide description of the episodes with Young’s family states that the family moved often because of the father’s job in sales.
Court documents indicate that Young entered the bank wearing a white dust mask and implied to the teller that he had a firearm, although one was not seen.
An elastic band from the mask was later found outside the bank. A lab determined that it had DNA from two different people.
A backpack with clothes thought to have belonged to the robber was later found on Deer Lake Road.
Investigators at the time, however, were unable to identify any suspects and the case was closed pending additional leads.
Years later, Young’s ex-wife contacted the Island County Sheriff’s Office and informed detectives that Young confessed to the crime during a therapy session.
During a renewed investigation, detectives determined that Young’s appearance at the time of the TV show closely resembled images of the bank robber from surveillance video.
Young’s cell phone records also showed that he was in the vicinity of the bank a few hours after the robbery and then he was in the vicinity of the area where the clothes were found soon after that.
Young originally denied committing the robbery and said his ex-wife was mad at him because he had dated one of her friends, the report indicates.
The statute of limitation for the charge is three years but that excludes periods when a defendant is not living within the state where the crime occurred.
The report by a detective with the sheriff’s office indicates that Young lived in Washington less than three years following the robbery.
This story originally appeared in the Whidbey News-Times, a sister publication to The Herald.