Public Safety

Iowa City man accused of stealing medical museum artifacts from UIHC

Alexander Torres
Alexander Torres

IOWA CITY — Months after he attempted to break into the Old Capitol, an Iowa City man is back in jail, this time after being accused of stealing medical artifacts kept in the building.

Alexander M. Torres, 30, was the suspect in a February burglary and theft from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics’ medical museum, according to the University of Iowa Department of Public Safety. Authorities said Torres had been spotted wearing a stolen UI School of Nursing cape or cloak that dated back to the 1900s.

Police executed a search warrant on Torres’ backpack Thursday and found the stolen nursing cape, as well as a 1925 field hypodermic needle and a pain management kit. The cape was valued at $400 to $500, and the kit was valued at $500.

Among Torres’ belongings, police found a pry bar used to enter locked or secured buildings.

Torres was arrested Oct. 1 when he was found attempting to enter the Old Capitol building on the UI campus, authorities said. Torres had removed a door hinge and was trying to remove two others. Police said Torres said he was trying to enter the building, which houses the Old Capitol Museum, to steal documents.

In another incident, Torres was arrested on a robbery charge Sept. 16, when he entered a gas station and began taking items. When a clerk confronted him, Torres pulled out a metal baton and later reached for a knife, police said. Torres fled, but returned later for his bicycle. After the clerk chased Torres away, he was found by police hiding in a tree.

For his latest arrest, Torres faces charges of third-degree theft and possession of burglary tools, both aggravated misdemeanors punishable by up to two years in prison.

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