Trial date set for men in lingerie shop robbery

Antonio Birrueta Jr. and Fredrik J. Mitzel Jr. are accused of participating in a robbery last month.

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WALLA WALLA -- Two suspects in the robbery of Taboo Lingerie last month pleaded innocent Monday afternoon to felony charges in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

Antonio Birrueta Jr., 26, is scheduled for trial Oct. 13 and 14. Trial for co-defendant Fredrick J. Mitzel Jr., 28, is set for Sept. 13 and 14.

Birrueta is charged with first-degree robbery, second-degree assault and third-degree theft. Mitzel is accused of complicity to first-degree robbery and complicity to third-degree theft.

Police said Birrueta entered the lingerie store at 513 N. Wilbur Ave. about 5:40 p.m. July 30, pulled out a gun, pointed it at the female clerk and demanded all her cash.

"(The clerk) said the suspect came around the counter, with the gun still pointed directly at her, and grabbed her," according to a police report filed in court. "The suspect forced her to open the register so he could access the money inside."

Birruetta emptied the cash and some items from shelves into a black bag from the store and left, police said. He then allegedly got into a vehicle driven by Mitzel.

Police said they stopped the car on Division Street south of Isaacs Avenue and apprehended the suspects based on information provided by witnesses who called 911.

An undisclosed amount of money, a BB pistol and other evidence allegedly were found in the car. The total value of items stolen amounts to less than $750, the police report says.

In separate interviews with police, both suspects reportedly confessed to planning and participating in the robbery.

Birrueta and Mitzel, both of 442 S.W. Eighth St., College Place, were booked into the County Jail. Bail for each was set at $50,000.

Birrueta was released pending further court hearings after a bail bond was posted for him Aug. 3.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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