Pair plead guilty in Walla Walla lingerie shop robbery

Two College Place men face prison and jail time in connection with the heist in July.

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WALLA WALLA -- Two suspects in the robbery of Taboo Lingerie this summer pleaded guilty Monday afternoon in Superior Court to participating in the heist.

Antonio Birrueta Jr., 26, entered guilty pleas to second-degree robbery and second-degree assault.

Co-defendant Fredrick J. Mitzel Jr., 28, pleaded guilty to complicity to second-degree robbery.

They will be sentenced later.

Birrueta faces a standard-range prison term of between 12 months-and-a-day and 14 months. Mitzel could be ordered to serve three to nine months in the County Jail.

The prosecution agreed to reduce and drop charges in exchange for the guilty pleas, but is recommending sentences amounting to the high end of the respective ranges in each case.

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."

Birrueta emptied the cash 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.

An undisclosed amount of money, a BB pistol and other evidence 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 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. He remains free until his sentencing.

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

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