Phoenix attorney tied up by robbers now wants to help them

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- A prominent Phoenix defense attorney, who was tied up and robbed in his office, is extending an olive branch to the intruders.

"I will fight for a second chance for the men who robbed me," attorney Dwane Cates wrote on his blog. "I have been clean and sober for over 23 years. I am in active recovery. I was given a second chance."

The robbery took place in mid-April at Cates' office in north Phoenix. He was alone there on a Saturday when two black men in their 20s sneaked in.

"I caught a flash out of the corner of my eye, turned around, and there was a gun straight in my face," he told 3TV.

Cates told the robbers that he did not keep cash in his office, but they did not believe him and began searching his desk.

They found and stole an undisclosed amount of money, which Cates kept for his clients' emergency bond situations.

"They said, 'Don't do anything stupid. We're not going to hurt you. We just want the money,' " he recalled.

They tied Cates' hands behind his back with a telephone cord and left him unharmed.

Now, Cates has a message for the men, who still have not been caught.

"If they turn themselves in, I will advocate for them as the victim of this crime. I'll talk to the county attorney's office and speak for them in court to get them help instead of punishment," he promised.

He cannot defend the robbers in court since he was the victim in this case, but says if the men have no violent or criminal history, he will work to keep them out of jail.

"I'd like to see them be on probation and be held accountable. If they need drug rehab, I'd like them to get rehab. If they need psychological counseling, I'd like to see them get psychological counseling," Cates said.

He no longer keeps cash in the office.