Driver in Walla Walla lingerie store robbery sentenced to jail

Fredrick J. Mitzel Jr. received a nine-month sentence for his role in the July 30 heist.

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WALLA WALLA -- The getaway driver in the robbery of Taboo Lingerie this summer was sentenced Monday afternoon in Superior Court to nine months in the County Jail.

Fredrick J. Mitzel Jr., 28, was ordered to serve the high end of the standard range of three to nine months he faced. In imposing the sentence, Judge Donald W. Schacht went along with a plea agreement between the prosecution and defense.

Schacht gave Mitzel credit for the 58 days he'd already served and placed him on a year of community custody, a form of probation, when he's released.

Mitzel also is responsible for paying $1,860 in restitution to Taboo.

Before the sentence was imposed, Mitzel's attorney, Jim Barrett, told Schacht his client is "extremely lucky" no one was hurt in the robbery and the case was resolved by the prosecution agreeing to reduce the case against him.

Schacht later agreed, telling Mitzel that based on the circumstances, "You are lucky to be receiving a sentence of nine months in the County Jail."

But Schacht warned Mitzel that if he violates any conditions of his probation: "You won't be nearly so lucky the next time."

Mitzel pleaded guilty Sept. 12 to complicity to second-degree robbery. He initially was charged with complicity to first-degree robbery and complicity to third-degree theft.

Also Sept. 12, co-defendant Antonio Birrueta Jr., 26, entered guilty pleas to second-degree robbery and second-degree assault.

Police said Birrueta entered the lingerie store at 513 N. Wilbur Ave. about 5:40 p.m. on July 30, pulled out a gun, 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.

Money, a BB pistol and other evidence reportedly were found in the car.

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, which will be held later.

He faces a standard-range prison term of between 12 months-and-a-day and 14 months.

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

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