Union-Bulletin Court Report

An arrest warrant was issued Tuesday and another charge filed for a Walla Walla man released on conditions pending trial for a string of commercial burglaries last fall.

Robert J. Frates, 35, and Tisha A. Place, 31, of Walla Walla, were arrested Oct. 30, 2018, in connection with the burglaries of 19 local businesses starting in late September 2018, according to a probable cause statement.

Place pleaded guilty March 4 and was sentenced July 9 to 364 days in jail, which were suspended, with credit for 28 days served, two years on probation, six months in a residential Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative program, and $600 in fines and fees.

Frates’ trial was scheduled for Sept. 4 but has been delayed several times. He pleaded not guilty on Nov. 13, 2018, to charges of three counts of second-degree burglary, first-, second- and third-degree theft, and three counts of third-degree malicious mischief.

He was released on conditions in December, but he has been arrested twice since then, and a warrant for him was issued most recently on Tuesday for the new charges, which include second-degree burglary, second-degree malicious mischief, third-degree theft, and burglary tools possession in connection to a burglary at Livit Coffee on Isaacs Avenue.

According to court documents, police responded to the coffee shop at 6:26 a.m. Aug. 6 and found the glass front door had been smashed, cash register damaged and $300 was missing from the register.

At about 2:40 a.m. Aug. 17, police conducted a traffic stop where the driver turned out to be Frates, records stated. He was released with an infraction, but wasn’t allowed to drive as he didn’t have a license. While Frates was waiting for his driver, officers noticed many similarities between Frates and the suspect on surveillance footage of the Livit Coffee burglary, records stated.

A search warrant was approved for the vehicle, and items allegedly linking Frates to the coffee shop burglary were found, including a glass-breaking device, black gloves, locksmithing tools, black flashlight, unique black bandanna, black and white Pendleton Whiskey Fest lanyard, and black backpack, records stated.

Police ask anyone with information about Frates to call dispatch at 527-1960.

Frates’ release conditions in the 2018 case included living at a home in Milton-Freewater, daily calls to the Walla Walla County Jail and random urinalyses. He has been arrested twice since then, according to Walla Walla Police Sgt. Eric Knudson, once on Feb. 8 for investigation of DUI, and on July 24 for investigation of failure to comply.

Emily Thornton can be reached at emilythornton@wwub.com or 509-526-8325.

Emily Thornton covers courts and emergency services, as well as other various stories. She has been in the newspaper industry off and on since roughly 1999 and lived primarily on the West Coast, but also Florida and Europe.

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