Public Safety

Coralville hotel owner furnished hotel with $100K in illegally obtained property, police say

Washers, dryers, televisions, pool vacuum and other items seized

CORALVILLE — A hotel owner and manager furnished his property with thousands of dollars of illegally obtained property, authorities said.

Coralville police on Tuesday served a warrant at the Baymont Inns & Suites, 200 Sixth St., which is owned by 30-year-old Dharmesh G. Patel, of Iowa City. During the eight hours police and Coralville city workers were at the hotel, an estimated $100,000 worth of property was seized, said Coralville Police Lt. Deb Summers. Items included washers, dryers, televisions, linens, towels and a pool vacuum, Summers said.

“I don’t think anybody in the Coralville Police Department has been in a case like this before,” she said.

Patel’s case has been investigated by the Stevens Point, Wis. Police Department. Summers said Wisconsin authorities have been investigating Patel going back to this winter and contacted Coralville police when they traced him to the Baymont Inns & Suites. The investigation deals with allegations that Patel obtained property through identity theft and deceit.

According to a Coralville police criminal complaint, their investigation found Patel purchased nearly $150,000 in electronics, cleaning supplies and hotel accessories from April 2019 to May 2019. Patel outfitted the hotel with electronics and maintenance supplies that have been identified as stolen, police said.

Summers said police filed a search warrant on all 103 rooms in the hotel. Illegally obtained items “were located in a majority of the rooms,” she said.

Due to the scale of the investigation at the hotel, Coralville city workers from the fire department, parks and recreation and transit departments were asked to assist.

“We really just needed manpower and equipment,” Summers said.

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All of the items seized have been placed in a secure location. The police department will be required to keep it until Patel’s case is resolved.

Although police list Patel as the owner and manager of the Baymont Inns & Suites in Coralville, Patel in court documents states he is unemployed and has only $800 cash.

Patel faces one count of first-degree theft in Iowa, a Class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. According to court records, Patel posted a $15,000 cash bond on Wednesday. However, jail records show Stevens Point police have placed a detainer on him.

l Comments: (319) 339-3155; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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