SPD: Prolific Burglar Behind Bars
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE: Spokane Police have spent the past several weeks investigating a rash of burglaries. Officers, Detectives and Analysts have dedicated hours upon hours looking through over 40 burglaries, all occurring in the overnight hours. It appeared as though tattoo shops, hair and nail salons and other businesses had become targets. The suspect(s) were smashing windows, prying locks and using blunt force to gain entry into these businesses and leaving with computers, tattoo equipment and other salon products.
The first break in the burglary investigation is credited to several witnesses of the "Sunny Bunz Tanning" salon, 2821 E. 27th Ave, on March 14, 2011. Witnesses provided responding officers with a vehicle description, a 1980-1990's Ford Bronco with a "loud" muffler.
Patrol officers and members of SPD's PACT (Patrol Anti-Crime Team), made several traffic stops on the Bronco and linked Robert Frates to the vehicle. Meanwhile, detectives learned from a "confidential informant" that Frates would leave his home during the evening hours and return with stolen goods such as; computers, tattoo equipment and salon products.
Detectives gathered enough information to believe Frates was responsible for the majority of the recent commercial burglaries. They placed a GPS tracking device on both of Frates' vehicles, the Bronco as well as a Lumina. The vehicle was tracked to several locations in Airway Heights, and investigators learned those locations had subsequently been victims of commercial burglaries.
Detectives and officers spent Friday evening following Frates and arrested him for at least one burglary. Frates was in possession of methamphetamine at the time of his arrest, so he was booked into SCJ on the additional drug charge as well.
Frates will likely face additional burglary charges as detectives compile more information regarding the recent burglary spree.
Frates is a Repeat Offender and the Spokane community will likely see a significant decrease in commercial burglaries now that Frates is in jail.
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