Molalla Man Sentenced for Armed Coffee Stand, Bank Robberies in Oregon City

After less than an hour of deliberation, a Clackamas County jury last month found a Molalla man guilty of committing two robberies of Oregon City coffee stands that occurred within 30 minutes of each other earlier in 2022.

Clackamas County Circuit Court Judge Ulanda Watkins on December 13 sentenced Michael Robert Frias, 39, to 140 months, or almost 12 years, in prison without early release or reduction in sentence for the two robberies, which was the maximum sentence allowed under Oregon law for these crimes.

At the sentencing hearing, Judge Watkins sentenced Frais further consecutive prison time for additional crimes unrelated to the robberies.

According to police, Frias wore a motorcycle helmet similar to the masks worn in the hit Netflix drama Squid Game and held what looked like a “gun-shaped object” when he walked up to the drive-through of a Black Rock Coffee Company on South Molalla Avenue on January 15, 2022.

Frias pointed the object at the two young employees, demanding money and saying they had 60 seconds. The two employees gave Frias the money and then locked themselves inside a bathroom where they called the police. By that time, Frias had left the scene.

The employees described the weapon as something similar to a hot glue gun with black tape covering the outside.

As officers arrived at the scene, they got a call from employees at a nearby Dutch Brothers Coffee on South Main Street in downtown Oregon City. The employees of the Dutch Brothers described a similar suspect and weapon. The man had walked to the drive-through and demanded money.

Surveillance video showed that it was the same suspect in both robberies.

A couple of weeks later, police found Frias wearing the same helmet and trying to cut into the night deposit box at the Oregonian’s Federal Credit Union with an angle grinder.

When approached by offices, Frias turned the angle grinder upon Oregon City Police Department Sergeant Gregory Johnston, swinging the operating tool at his neck before being taken into custody by several officers. Several officers were able to take Frais into custody. He had the gun-shaped object with him.

On December 6, a jury found Frais guilty of two counts of robbery, two counts of theft and five counts of menacing. Frias pleaded guilty to additional charges of unlawful use of a weapon and attempted assault on a public officer. He also pleaded guilty to previous crimes of harassment and assault.

During that hearing, Frias additionally pleaded guilty of committing a separate Harassment against his son in April, 2021, and was further revoked from probation on two separate felony cases: one for assaulting an intimate partner in the presence of a child in July, 2019, and another in which Frias assaulted one of his other minor children in February 2018.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Adrienne Chin-Perez and Eriks Berzins.

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