116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CORALVILLE — The Kirkwood Regional Center in Coralville went into lockdown for about 10 minutes Monday morning after reports of an armed robbery in the area, according to an alert sent to Kirkwood students Monday.
The Coralville Police Department contacted the regional center at 11:25 a.m. and requested that the campus lock exterior doors due to an armed robbery nearby. Staff immediately locked the doors and contacted Kirkwood Public Safety.
At about 11:35 a.m. the police department contacted the school again to report that the suspect in the robbery, 21-year-old Jovon Ellis, had been caught, and the lockout could end, according to the alert.
The robbery took place south of campus at the Knollridge Garden apartments, at 2551 Holiday Rd., Coralville, according to a news release from the Coralville Police Department.
Ellis reportedly confronted two people who were leaving their apartment and ordered them back inside at gunpoint, where he stole their cellphones.
The first officer to arrive on scene saw Ellis running northeast, prompting the police to notify the school and local businesses.
Ellis was arrested after a short foot chase. The stolen cellphones and a CO2 pistol — an air gun — were found nearby, the release states.
Ellis was arrested on a charge of first-degree robbery, a Class B felony. He’s being held in the Johnson County Jail, awaiting his initial appearance on the charge.
Ellis was previously convicted of robbery in a 2020 Linn County case in which he stole a woman’s cellphone at gunpoint in the south parking lot of Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids.
According to a criminal complaint in that case, the victim told police she was at her car just after 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 27, 2020, when a man confronted her, pushed her into the vehicle, pressed a handgun into her side and demanded her cellphone. He then ran from the scene.
Ellis was identified as the suspect using school security footage, and the phone was traced to his address using a “lost phone feature.” He was sentenced in June 2020 to no more than 15 years in prison. During the sentencing hearing, he apologized and stated that he had mental health issues and had stopped taking his medication.
He was released from prison to begin a work release program in June of this year.
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