WALLA WALLA -- The man who robbed Taboo Lingerie last summer was led from a Superior Court courtroom Monday afternoon to start serving a prison sentence of a year and one month.
Antonio Birrueta Jr., 26, of Granger, Wash., was ordered to serve the midpoint of the standard range of 12 months-and-a-day to 14 months he faced for second-degree robbery and second-degree assault.
Judge Donald W. Schacht declined to impose the low end of the range because Birrueta displayed a BB pistol when holding up the store.
Schacht gave Birrueta credit for the four days he'd served in the County Jail before a bail bond was posted after his arrest.
Schacht also placed him on 18 months of community custody, a form of probation, when he's released from prison.
Before the sentence was imposed, Birrueta told Schacht he was sorry for committing the crimes.
His attorney, Jerry Makus, added that Birrueta -- who has no criminal history -- had been in the Walla Walla area at the time to undergo treatment at the local VA medical center for post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse.
Birrueta reportedly was a decorated serviceman who had served several tours of duty with the U.S. Army National Guard in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He pleaded guilty Sept. 12 to the robbery and assault charges, the same day co-defendant Fredrick J. Mitzel Jr., 28, entered a guilty plea to complicity to second-degree robbery.
Police said Birrueta entered the lingerie store at 513 N. Wilbur Ave. about 5:40 p.m. July 30, pulled out the BB pistol, pointed it at the female clerk, grabbed her and demanded all her cash.
Birrueta emptied the money and some items from shelves into a black bag from the store and left, police said. He then 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.
The $360 and potpourri that were stolen -- in addition to the BB pistol -- reportedly were found in the car.
Mitzel was sentenced in late September to nine months in jail with credit for 58 days served.
Terry McConn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8319.