Stolen Sports Memorabilia Recovered - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Stolen Sports Memorabilia Recovered

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - A Spokane Valley Police detective's investigation resulted in the recovery of thousands of stolen sports cards Thursday and landed a 27-year-old Spokane man in jail for First-Degree Possession of Stolen Property.

On October 26th, Collector's Corner at 106 N. Evergreen Road was burgled and high-end collectable sports cards worth nearly $10,000 were stolen.  On October 28th, Gameday Sports Cards at 9425 N. Division was hit and lost about $400 in cards.

On November 3rd, Spokane Valley Sportscards at 9411 E. First was burgled and lost cards valued at nearly $5,000.  All three businesses provided lists of stolen cards to police.

On November 11th, Robert J. Frates and a woman entered Sports Cards Northwest at 13800 E. Sprague and wanted to trade sports cards for other merchandise.  The store owner recognized the cards as items stolen from the three burglary victims and called police.

Officer Jim Ebel had investigated the Collector's Corner burglary and had sketched a shoe print left on a glass counter by the suspect.  He recognized the print as a "Vans" brand shoe.

Ironically, it was Ebel who got the call to check out Frates at Sports Cards Northwest.  He noted both Frates and the woman were very nervous and that Frates was wearing Vans shoes, although with a different print.  He seized the cards they were offering up as potential stolen property.

The case went to Detective Dale Toliver who determined that Frates had been dealing cards on Internet sales sites.  He also learned from the owner of Collector's Corner that Frates had been in her store a few days before her burglary, but had purchased nothing.

Toliver obtained a search warrant for two residences associated with Frates, one in the 1300 block of East Bismark in Spokane and the other in the 4100 block of Oregon Road in northern Spokane County.

The warrant was executed Thursday and several thousand stolen sports cards were recovered, as were a pair of Vans shoes with soles that matched Officer Ebel's sketch.

Frates was arrested and booked into the Spokane county jail on the felony possession of stolen property charge.  Investigation is continuing.

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