West Seattle restaurant owner Eduardo Morales-Cardenas pleads guilty to two stolen-property charges

Almost five months after being charged with trafficking in stolen liquor, Puerto Vallarta Restaurant owner Eduardo Morales-Cardenas has pleaded guilty to two charges. We have been checking the online files weekly and found out today that he appeared before Judge Monica Benton yesterday afternoon to enter the pleas: Guilty to one count of first-degree trafficking in stolen property, guilty to one count of attempted trafficking in stolen property. In the documentation, he acknowledges buying what he said he knew was alcohol stolen from Safeway and QFC; he was arrested last September, but charges weren’t filed until November. Morales-Cardenas is scheduled for sentencing on April 11th before Judge Carol Schapira; the prosecution, which says they found no prior criminal history for him, is recommending a sentence of 364 days in work release/electronic home detention.

Checking on the status of the others who were charged at the same time, accused of stealing and selling liquor in the same case, here’s what court documents show: One co-defendant, Eric Olson, also pleaded guilty yesterday and will be sentenced at the same April 11th hearing; a 43-month sentence will be recommended. Another, Amber Vincent, pleaded guilty last month to organized retail theft and trafficking in stolen property, and was sentenced to three months of work release; Shaye Glenn-Nitschke also pleaded guilty last month, to one charge, and was released from jail because he’d served more time than he had been sentenced to. A fourth defendant, Michael Jensen, is scheduled for a plea hearing next week.

35 Replies to "West Seattle restaurant owner Eduardo Morales-Cardenas pleads guilty to two stolen-property charges"

  • Ian March 26, 2014 (7:33 pm)

    If Bada Bistro closes in a few months for “not serving merlot,” I hope Puerto Vallarta meets the same fate.

  • She & I March 26, 2014 (8:23 pm)

    Since this was first reported we have stopped eating in that resturant and know of many others who have done the same.

    Curious as to how business changed after the initial report and if this latest will impact PV even more?

  • westie March 26, 2014 (8:58 pm)

    Wow, I was so quick to defend the Morales-Cardenas family when this first came out and now to see that he has pleaded guilty…… VERY disappointing to say the least.

  • what? March 26, 2014 (10:25 pm)

    My wife and I eat there all the time which we will now be stopping unfortunately. It’s to bad that this may be their undoing. But then again, being stolen from isn’t cool either.

  • Jane March 26, 2014 (10:43 pm)

    This has nothing to do with dishonest business practices and everything to do with broken government taxing people into bankruptcy. If forced into it I would steal to protect my family as well. I’m not forced into it YET, but,

    ” First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.”
    Pull your head out of the sand America. This is where we’re headed.

  • West Seattle Wanderer March 26, 2014 (11:38 pm)

    Seriously, Jane. You’re blaming the government for him knowingly purchasing liquor stolen from another establishment?

    What if someone was arrested for stealing food from his restaurant? Who’s to blame then? Do we just give that person a pass?

  • Mookie March 26, 2014 (11:41 pm)

    Oh please. Pretty sure it has everything to do with Eduardo’s dishonest business practices, Jane, not “broken government.”

  • James March 26, 2014 (11:48 pm)

    “Nothing to do with dishonest business practices”? As I understand it, he knowingly purchased stolen alcohol for resale at his business. If that is not an example of a dishonest business practice, I don’t know what is.

  • SomeGuy March 27, 2014 (6:42 am)

    In the words of Jefferson Starship, “Jane… Jane… Jane…”

  • Chris March 27, 2014 (7:05 am)

    Jane, please troll elsewhere.

  • justadude March 27, 2014 (7:11 am)

    Jane, if our head is in the sand, a comment like yours has me wondering where you head is?!!!

    When I was a kid I got caught stealing candy, so, by your logic it was my parents fault for not buying it for me(?)!!!

  • phil dirt March 27, 2014 (8:00 am)

    This guy, Eduardo, is in big trouble now. The judge is going to slap his wrist. Just watch and see.

  • sc March 27, 2014 (8:04 am)

    We also stopped going to Puerto Vallarta after hearing of the arrest. Now that he has pleaded guilty, along with those who stole from QFC and Safeway, we will continue our boycott.

  • BJ March 27, 2014 (9:12 am)

    Jane – you mention you haven’t been “forced into it YET, but….”, which leads me to believe you are a restauranteur yourself, which then leads me to wonder which restaurant you own so I know not to go there…..

  • Ian March 27, 2014 (9:34 am)

    Jane, we just elected a socialist (I bet you voted for her), the machinist union just won a big fight with Boeing, and well, I haven’t heard anything recently about Jews in Seattle. As for them coming after you and being alone? You might be right. Your theory is a ridiculous stretch of the imagination. If someone is unable to keep their business afloat in a booming neighborhood with honest business practices, but must instead turn to buying stolen liquor to do so, it follows that they are practicing dishonest business.

  • outa there March 27, 2014 (11:01 am)

    I wouldn’t be sorry to see the PV go. It would be nice to walk through the passageway that has the door to the PV’s bar without running into an old, stumbling, day-time drunk heading for their rusted out pick up truck to hit the streets of the Junction.

  • trl March 27, 2014 (11:42 am)

    I love their food and will not boycott it. If I did, this punishes the rest of the staff and their families and they didn’t have anything to do with it. It was obviously a HUGE mistake but he’ll do his time and I forgive him. If he makes the same mistake twice, now that’s a different story…

  • sc March 27, 2014 (11:57 am)


    Here is the complete quote.

    “In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
    Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
    –Pastor Martin Niemöller, 1945

  • Billy March 27, 2014 (12:15 pm)




  • jane schmidt March 27, 2014 (3:00 pm)

    It was not just big chain stores getting ripped off, also locally owned stores lost big dollars.

  • JVP March 27, 2014 (3:36 pm)

    Oh wow, that’s a new record for Godwin’s law. I appreciate that the discussions on these articles is generally sincere, polite and well thought out. Here’s hoping it can stay that way.
    PV is in for continued tough times and ultimately can’t succeed. I’m sure the biz was struggling already based on the crime committed, and the fact that the food is poor by Seattle standards. I hope a better business takes it’s place, it’s in a prime Junction location.

  • datamuse March 27, 2014 (3:48 pm)

    JVP beat me to it. Comparing getting busted for stealing booze to persecution by the Nazis? Seriously?
    I’d stopped going to PV years ago because White Center has enough good Mexican restaurants for me to eat at a different one each day of the week. What puzzles me is how on earth Morales-Cardenas thought he wouldn’t get caught.

  • westseattledood March 27, 2014 (4:23 pm)

    I’d *heart* an honest, authentic, excellent Korean restaurant there. OR another great vegan restaurant. wouldn’t it be nice? :)

  • Dave March 27, 2014 (5:03 pm)

    I think PV have good food, good service I will keep supporting it,

  • Community Member March 27, 2014 (5:29 pm)

    I think this also means that he’s permanently lost his liquor license. That can make it difficult for a restaurant.

    • WSB March 27, 2014 (5:45 pm)

      CM, I will check on that tomorrow – certainly licenses can be transferred if someone is not able to hold one (and I don’t know that that is the case). – TR

  • 20yrsWS March 27, 2014 (9:45 pm)

    “This has nothing to do with dishonest business practices and everything to do with broken government taxing people into bankruptcy.” Reality check for the right-winger: Elsewhere in the world taxes are higher and the middle-class and businesses are doing very well. It is not the taxes that are the problem. It’s a level playing field when every business pays the same for their products. They price and compete based on costs. PV was cutting corners to boost profit.

  • 2 Much Whine March 28, 2014 (7:57 am)

    I was previously pretty “vocal” on the blog against this guy and the folks that blamed everyone from the police to the government for HIS actions (like Jane). I found it “refreshing” that he actually pleaded guilty and admitted his poor decisions. I’m still not crazy about their food (in addition to the booze he bought stolen shrimp for chrissakes) but at least he has taken responsibility for his crimes.

  • steve March 28, 2014 (8:39 am)

    It’s very difficult running any kind of business these days. Contrary to today’s examples, greed is not good.
    He made a mistake. Has anyone else here done anything dumb?? (my hand up).
    Though serious, we’re not talking murder here. It’s good he got caught. I’d say give the guy another chance. I have hopes that Puerto Vallarta will be better than ever. I’ll go. I’m turning a new leaf, and will try to be more forgiving.

  • Dave March 28, 2014 (9:03 am)

    I am willing to forgive him and give him other chance. I hope Puerto Vallarta will be better place now.

  • The Boss March 28, 2014 (11:03 am)

    Steve, my hand went up and it went up fast. I have even been caught for stealing, having said that I was 14 yrs old and it was candy. I have not stolen anything as an ADULT. You think because he has so many people counting on him family/staff/vendors he would be a better business owner. Is that too much to ask? I hope not. But keep forgiveing, whatever makes you feel better.

  • 20yrsWS March 30, 2014 (9:26 am)

    Hurray for Steve. Forgiveness should be the rule, not the exception. I, too, wish him well. Now, if the judge really wanted to do us a favor, work release would be at Fonda la Katrina where he could learn to cook with fresh ingredients. Enough of the cheesey 1950’s can opener food already.

  • West Seattle Hipster March 30, 2014 (5:49 pm)

    I have never ate there, and I am glad. I am all about forgiveness, but the owner not only acted illegally, but unethically.


    I would like to see a different restaurant in that location, perhaps a good barbecue or soul food joint.

  • truth be told March 31, 2014 (10:33 pm)

    Jane is entitled to her opinion…seriously! Someone really said “Jane. Move.” I love those who think they are better than others because they are usually the ones who need the most redirection… EVERYONE is has an opinion and NONE of them are facts…they are only opinions…. open your minds, you are losing them~

  • LadyinRed April 6, 2014 (9:23 am)

    Ok, you guys are taking this way to serious. He didn’t kill anybody. I know Lalo personally and he is a kind, humble man…..a family man!!!!! His restaurant is family owned and operated and it would horrible if they shut down. I love the food and drinks. The lounge is a fun place too with cool bartenders. Lets not hold this against him and try to forgive him. This place has been there for 22+ years, I want it there 22 more. #loyalcustomer

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