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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Robert Morris

OxyContin robber sentenced to 3 years

A man who robbed a Spokane pharmacy of OxyContin last May was sentenced recently to nearly three years in prison.

Robert K. Morris, 27, pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted robbery and was sentenced to 34 1/2 months in prison and ordered to pay $134 restitution.

Morris escaped the Walgreens at Division Street and Empire Avenue May 22 with just a small amount of pills; the stores have been keeping OxyContin in time-lock safes since fall 2009.

No charges were filed against Morris’ unsuspecting driver after the man passed a polygraph test. Morris was sentenced on Thursday and is in Spokane County Jail awaiting transport to state prison.

Tips sought on accused armed robber

UPDATE 12/2: Morris was arrested based on an anonymous tip.

A man accused of robbing a Spokane pharmacy of OxyContin last May is wanted by police after failing to show up for a court date.

No charges were filed against the unsuspecting driver of Robert K. Morris, 27, after the driver, a senior sound engineer for local radio stations, said he’d met the young man at a bar and was giving him a ride home.

But prosecutors charged Morris with first-degree robbery, and he pleaded not guilty and was allowed to leave jail pending trial. A $50,000 warrant for his arrest was issued after he didn’t show up for a Nov. 10 court hearing. Now Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to his arrest.

Morris was first arrested May 22 after police say he robbed the Walgreens at Division Street and Empire Avenue. The robber escaped with just a small amount of pills; the stores have been keeping OxyContin in time-lock safes since fall 2009.

Morris, 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, has previous convictions for city theft, unlawful imprisonment, fourth-degree assault and harassment. He last gave his address as 17714 S. Wolfe Road in Cheney.

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

Polygraph clears robbery suspect’s driver

No charges will be filed against a Spokane man arrested on suspicion of driving the getaway truck in an OxyContin robbery at a North Side Walgreens last week.

Although David L. Ratener, 55, was driving the truck, he passed two lie detector tests that showed he knew nothing of the alleged robbery by a young man whom he was driving from a downtown bar May 22. Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Larry Steinmetz notified Ratener’s attorney, Tim Note, of the decision last week. 

Ratener got his truck back the next day. He also “got crash course in the justice system,” Ratener said today. 

Ratener was arrested with Robert K. Morris on May 22 after police said Morris robbed the Walgreens at Division Street and Empire Avenue of OxyContin, then fled in Ratener’s truck.

Morris, 26, is to be arraigned on a first-degree robbery charge June 21, but Ratener passed a police-administered polygraph that cleared him of wrongdoing, according to a letter by Steinmetz.

Today, Ratener said that Morris had told him he needed a ride to the Walgreens area to pick up money from a friend. Ratener parked his truck about a block from the store, and Morris returned a few minutes later and said they could leave. Nothing seemed suspicious. Minutes later, police were behind Ratener’s truck. He pulled over and their lights flashed; he looked over and saw Morris swallowing pills, he said.

“I didn’t know the Walgreens had been robbed until the police told me,” Ratener said. “Once they told me what happened it was like ‘how the hell did I get involved in this?’”

Between the robbery and the police stop, Ratener drove back by the pharmacy – another fact that helped his defense, Note said.

Still, “I don’t believe there’s anything Mr. Ratener could have said to avoid getting arrested,” Note said. “It looked bad.”

Ratener spent two days in jail before he was released on his own recognize after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court. He said he used skills learned in survival training in the military to get by.

Note said Ratener case was one of the most bizarre he’s seen.

He learned of the robbery in the news and “pictured some scraggly haired doper looking” man when he arrived at the jail to interview Ratener.

But the senior sound engineer for several Spokane radio stations hardly matched Note’s image of him.

Ratener’s upper middle-class lifestyle, Note said, affords him “no motive for a robbery.”

Past coverage: May 25: Driver was victim of circumstance, lawyer says

Robbery driver is sound pro for local radio

Just after police arrest two people described as major sources of OxyContin in the region, Spokane County see its first pharmacy robbery in several months.

But the incident early Saturday at 12 E. Empire Ave was “not the typical OxyContin theft,” the accused getaway driver’s lawyer said in court Monday.

David L. Ratener, 55, is the senior sound engineer for seven Spokane radio stations. He says he met the other suspect, 26-year-old Robert K. Morris, at a bar Friday night.

“I think he was purely a victim of circumstance on this,” said Ratener’s lawyer, Tim Note.

Read my story: Driver was victim of circumstance, lawyer says

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