Public Safety

Iowa City business owner who accused customer of being a terrorist receives probation

Customer was offended and alarmed by comments

IOWA CITY — An Iowa City business owner arrested last month after accusing a customer of being a terrorist has been sentenced to probation.

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According to court records, Chad A. Cermak, the 47-year-old owner of Cermak Automotive, 1220 Gilbert Court, entered a plea deal Monday. Under the terms of the arrangement, Cermak entered an Alford plea to one count of third-degree harassment in exchange for a second count being dismissed. Cermak will be placed on probation for six months and pay a civil penalty of $65, plus court costs.

Cermak also has been ordered to not have any contact with the victim in the case.

Cermak was arrested Jan. 8 after police said he made multiple comments to a customer, including whether he was a Muslim, a terrorist or a suicide bomber. The customer tried to end the conversation multiple times, but Cermak persisted, police said. The customer reported being offended and alarmed by Cermak’s comments.

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