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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: cards

Elderly women face gambling charges

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus police have summoned a 98-year-old and about 40 other elderly women to court to face gambling charges after raiding their weekly poker party.

The women, mostly in their 70s, were stunned to receive a court summons this week, more than two years since the raid, said Yioula Diakantoni, the daughter of the 98-year-old.

The women had gathered at a home in November 2009 for a four-hour simplified poker-and-bridge afternoon over sandwiches and pastries when police arrived, she said Thursday.

“They were playing with only very small sums of money, just to make it interesting,” Diakantoni said. “It's silly for police to concern themselves with such trivial games when there are more serious things they should pursue.”

She said some women were frightened at the police raid in the coastal town of Limassol and attempted to flee. Others didn't realize what was going on — including one woman who asked police to wait until she had finished playing her hand.

Diakantoni said two of the women have since died and another two are in a nursing home. Her mother, Eftychia Yiasemidou, was reluctant to go to court but will if her doctor approves it. Most of the women are simply amused by the affair, she added.

“My mother has never done anyone harm and we hope she continues playing because it keeps her mind sharp,” she said.

Gambling in Cyprus punishable by up to six months in jail or a €750 ($1,000) fine.

Prosecutor Michalis Themistocleous said the summons was procedural but added the attorney general was looking at whether to proceed.

Suspected serial burglar pleads innocent

A felon accused of stealing the gun used in a gang-related murder last year has been charged with five burglaries.

 Robert J. Frates, 27, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to four counts of felony second-degree burglary and one count of attempted second-degree burglary.

He's accused of breaking into Sunny Buns Tanning, 2821 E. 27th Av., on March 15, Smart Smoke, 12924 W. Sunset Highway, Metro Sign and Banner, 1403 N. Greene, and another building in Airway Heights on March 25.

He's also charged with attempted-second-degree burglary for a break-in March 26 at Super Sonic Blind Cleaners, 3612 E. Broadway Ave.

Police arrested Frates that day after an officer followed him using a GPS tracker affixed to Frates' Bronco.

Last June, Frates told police he'd to traded four stolen firearms to a man for $600. One of the guns was the Ruger mini 30, which was used to kill John S. Williams. Edward L. “TD” Thomas is scheduled to stand trial June 20 for Williams' murder.

Past coverage:

April 1: Police link burglary suspect to gun used in gang slaying

Dec. 14: Man arrested in sports card crime spree

Burglary suspect linked to murder gun

A suspected serial burglar tracked by police using a GPS device is believed to have stolen the gun that was later used in a gang-related murder.

Robert J. Frates’ arrest on Tuesday is his third since December, when police picked him up on suspicion of breaking into several sports card stores in Spokane Valley.

No charges have been filed in that case, but Frates, 27, has a trial scheduled in June for charges related to the sale of stolen property, including several firearms.

One of those firearms, a Ruger Mini rifle, was used in the shooting death of John S. Williams on Jan. 17, 2010, police said.

Read the rest of my story here.

Cards could deal cold cases new clues

One Spokane woman is hoping to combine the two for a greater good.

Rita Amunrud wants to produce decks of playing cards that feature details of unsolved homicides and missing persons cases from Spokane County and distribute them among inmates inside state prisons.

Each card would promise a reward for helpful tipsters. The cards were designed nearly three years ago, but supporters haven’t raised enough money to get them printed.

Now, as the 40th anniversary of her mother’s unsolved murder approaches, Amunrud is trying to revitalize that effort.

“It’s going to take someone coming forward,” she said. “What better way to spread the word than through playing cards?”

Read my full story here.

Man arrested in sports card crime spree

A Spokane man remains in jail on $40,000 bond for an alleged theft spree at area sports cards shops.

Robert J. Frates, 27,went to Sports Cards Northwest, 13800 E. Sprague Ave., on Nov. 11 and offered to trade some cards for other merchandise. The owner recognized the cards as stolen and called police.

According to a news release, on Oct. 26, Collector’s Corner at 106 N. Evergreen Road was burgled, and lost nearly $10,000 worth of high-end sports cards. Two days later, Gameday Sports Cards, 9425 N. Division St., reported $400 worth of cards missing. Then on Nov. 3, Spokane Valley Sportscards, 9411 E. First, lost cards valued at nearly $5,000.

Frates was arrested Thursday and booked into Spokane County Jail on a charge of first-degree possession of stolen property, according to police. He’s to be arraigned on Dec. 21.

He has previous convictions for drugs, burglary, malicious mischief and stolen property charges

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