Teens arrested for car theft
OTTUMWA – A 10-day rash of car thefts spanning three counties ended Thursday and Friday with the arrest of two 18-year-olds and one 17-year-old in Wapello County. A fourth suspect, 17, also is expected to be charged in connection with the thefts. Suspects are facing charges in Davis, Jefferson and Wapello counties.
William McCarroll, 18, of Ottumwa was charged with first-degree theft and two counts of second-degree theft. He is being held in Davis County Jail on $10,000 cash-only bond. Cody Surber, 18 of Ottumwa was charged with second-degree theft. He is being held in Davis County Jail on $5,000 cash only bond.
Davis County Sheriff Dave Davis said the arrests came after 18-20 cars were stolen in Davis, Jefferson and Wapello counties during the past 10 days. According to Davis, the stolen cars were wrecked on purpose, burnt or dumped in various bodies of water. One car stolen from Davis County was recovered from Lake Arrowhead. A second car was pulled from the Des Moines River behind Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar in Ottumwa.
“At some point, they were driving along the road, ramming into each other. They then ditched the cars and went out to steal more cars,” Davis said. “What this is, is blatant disregard for people’s property.”
Jefferson County Sheriff Gregg Morton said his office became involved at 7:12 a.m. June 16 when a report was received that a vehicle had been stolen from the Batavia area. That vehicle has not been recovered. At 4:05 a.m. June 17, Jefferson County officials recovered two additional stolen vehicles on Ash Avenue, north of Batavia.
“We’ve been in the middle of all this since it began,” Morton said. “All three counties came together. We started at square one and worked our way through it.”
Officials from Davis, Jefferson and Wapello counties came close to apprehending the suspects June 17, Morton said. Law enforcement officers from all three counties were involved in a chase with the suspects that began in Eldon and ended in Davis County where the suspects were able to elude police, Morton said. Dusty road conditions and caution on the part of the officers played a role in their escape, Morton said.
“In a chase like that, you have to weigh out the gain,” Morton said. “In this case, it was cars, not a kidnapping. You can’t put a car over officer and public safety.
“The roads were dusty and you just have to be cautious. You hit a T-intersection that you don’t know is there, and that’s a bad deal,” Morton said.
The capture and arrest of the suspects late last week was the result of a collaborative effort between the Davis County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Wapello County Sheriff’s Office, the Ottumwa Police Department and the Bloomfield Police Department, Davis said.
“We all just worked together. With the different entities involved, the investigation led us to certain individuals,” Davis said.
“I’m just glad that things turned out the way they did. Nobody was hurt, and we put a stop to this,” Morton said.
Davis said it is being recommended that the 17-year-old suspects be charged as adults due to the severity of their crimes.
“Obviously, that will be a court decision, but that is what I hope to see happen,” Davis said.
Although arrests have been made, Davis and Morton both said the investigation is ongoing.