Public Safety

Teens arrested in Cedar Rapids case of $20K in stolen, damaged golf carts from NewBo-Czech Village Halloween parade

CEDAR RAPIDS — Two teens face felony charges tied to four golf carts reported stolen from a Halloween parade in the NewBo and Czech Village districts last fall, which jeopardized the future of the three-year-old event.

Robert Charles Frances Young, 18, was arrested Thursday at his Cedar Rapids home on one count of first-degree criminal mischief, a class C felony, and two counts of second-degree theft, a class D felony.

An unnamed 16-year-old boy was arrested and charged with a count each of second-degree theft and second-degree criminal mischief Nov. 20. Further investigation after the first arrest led to Young’s arrest, according to police.

“This investigation involved the interview of several individuals and review of surveillance video,” said Greg Buelow, a public safety spokesman for Cedar Rapids, noting interviewing several people, some of whom don’t immediately cooperate, can affect the timing of arrests.

Peter Durin reported he had rented four golf carts from Wade’s Golf and Mow of Williamsburg to use during the Halloween parade, which he co-founded to “bring the city together for an amazing event.” The 2019 parade aimed to raise money for Mission of Hope in Cedar Rapids.

The carts were not insured and the renter signed a waiver assuming liability for damage or loss, a company representative had said at the time.

The carts, which had a value of $5,000 each or $20,000 combined, last were seen at 8:30 p.m. Oct. 26, the night of the parade.

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Officers found one cart off a bike path and partially in the Cedar River near the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency entrance at 2250 A St. SW on Oct. 27, and a second cart later at a construction site at 2100 A St. SW. Durin found a third cart, which was damaged. The fourth cart was found around noon Oct. 29 in an alley behind Wilson Middle School.

Police say Young stole two of the carts and damaged three of them.

In a Facebook post last fall, Durin said the carts were an “expensive and crucial part of our event,” and the financial setback from the loss was a “critical blow to the parade going forward,” but “I fully intend, if possible, to bring this parade back for a fourth year free of all costs.”

A fundraiser to offset the loss generated $1,060. Durin was not immediately available to provide updated information.

Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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