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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: gps

Serial burglar sentenced to 10 years

A serial burglar is to spend 10 years in prison and pay more than $14,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to 17 felonies.

Robert J. Frates, 27, burglarized tanning salons, tattoo shops and other small businesses in a burglary spree that ended in late March when police followed him using a GPS tracker affixed to Frates' Bronco and watched him burglarize a business.

He also burglarized sports card shops last winter and stole the firearm used in the shooting death of John S. Williams on Jan. 17, 2010.

Frates' 120-month prison sentence and $14,650 restitution order came after he pleaded guilty last week to possession of a stolen firearm, second-degree attempted burglary. three counts of second-degree burglary, two counts of first-degree possession of stolen property and four counts of second-degree burglary.

Past coverage:

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

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.

GPS app cracks Sandpoint phone caper

SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) — Recovering a stolen cell phone? There's an app for that.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports 22-year-old Sean B. Mahoney of Sandpoint pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft and possession of drug paraphernalia on Wednesday in a case that was cracked by the owner of a stolen cell phone. Mahoney was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

A Sandpoint resident reported a cell phone, snowboard and goggles were taken from his sport utility vehicle on Dec. 18.

The GPS-enabled phone contained a software application that can be activated when the device is stolen. The owner used the app and a laptop to track the handset to a house where the items were recovered, along with two other stolen snowboards, several holiday checks apparently taken from neighborhood mailboxes, drug pipes and marijuana seeds and stems.

Felon wanted after missing trial date

A longtime Spokane felon who didn’t show up for his trial on theft and stolen property charges is wanted by police.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that help arrest repeat offender Kevin Leon Schimpf, 52, who has a 26-year criminal history in Spokane County.

A warrant was issued after Schimpf didn’t show up for his trial  in September on charges of second-degree theft and first-degree trafficking in stolen property.

Police say he stole car keys from a finance counselor at Holy Family Hospital, then stole fishing equipment and a GPS device from his car and pawned them.

That was in July 2008. The two-years-in-the-making trial still hasn’t happened.

Schimpf, 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, last gave 3803 W. Greenwood Ave. in Spokane as his home address. His criminal history includes convictions for possession, delivery and manufacture of controlled substances; third-degree theft, DUI, driving while license suspended and probation violations.

Anyone with information on his current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Spokane man walks free from robbery case

A man charged in a home invasion robbery last fall walked out of court a free man today after pleading guilty to riot.

Maurice D. Lofton, 29, pleaded guilty to the felony in a plea agreement reached after Deputy Prosecutor Larry Haskell said the victims failed to identify Lofton in a police lineup.

Lofton was sentenced to 14 days in jail and credited for 14 already served.

The deal dismissed two burglary charges, three counts of kidnapping, one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and four counts of first-degree robbery related to an Oct. 8 invasion at a home in the 500 block of East Garland Avenue.

Haskell said several people were in the home when a man came to the door asking to use the phone, then was followed inside by several gunmen who stole marijuana and other valuables. Police used a GPS in a stolen cell phone to track down Lofton about 30 minutes later, who they say tried to dispose of the pot and stolen cell phones.

“I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Lofton told Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno. “I was messing around with the wrong friends.”

Lofton said he had moved to Spokane from Detroit “to change my life.”

“Yet here you are,” Moreno said. “I think you got pretty lucky this time. And next time, you are looking at a lot of prison time.”

Police seek sex offender spotted downtown

A convicted sex offender considered likely to reoffend has disabled his GPS tracking device and was last seen in downtown Spokane last night.

  James Broady Artis III, 43, is wanted on a warrant for escape from community custody, according to the Spokane Police Department.

Artis, a level 3 sex offender, is a drug user who may be armed, police said. He was last seen in the 300 block of West Sprague last night. Artis was released from prison in August 2005 after serving three years for burglary.

He also has been convicted of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon and taking indecent liberties with a woman, whom he threatened to kill with a knife during the sexual assault, according to previously published reports.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call 911.

GPS phone leads to theft arrest

A stolen cell phone with a GPS tracker installed led to the arrest of two teenagers this morning.

The phone was stolen from an unlocked car this morning in near 6th Avenue and Pines Road in Spokane Valley, then recovered when police used the GPS to track it to a home at 1310 S. Raymond hours later.

Arrested were Scott H. Gregor, 19, and a 14-year-old boy, according to the Spokane Valley Police Department.

Police think Gregor and the boy stole the phone along with Christmas presents and a purse with credit cards from the car.

Officer recovered the Christmas presents and cell phone but not the purse.

Anyone whose car may have been prowled in the area of 6th Avenue between Pines and Bowdish is asked to call (509) 456-2233.

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