Public Safety

Man tortured with hot iron, robbed at gunpoint in Cedar Rapids hotel meetup, police say

CEDAR RAPIDS — A 21-year-old man faces life in prison after police say he tortured a 57-year-old man with an electric iron and robbed him gunpoint during a hotel meetup on Feb. 7, according to Cedar Rapids police complaints and interviews.

The 57-year-old man, who is not identified, went to the Econo Lodge, 622 33rd Ave. SW, to meet someone he met through a website and through text exchanges, according to police.

When he entered the hotel room, police say Malik Muhammad, 21, was armed with a hand gun and ordered the man to lie down on a bed. The man told police he was bound with a belt, duct taped and gagged with a pillow case, according to Linn County District Court filings.

Muhammad tortured the man “by pressing a hot iron against his skin while demanding the victim disclose the PIN number to his debit cards,” according to reports. The man was burned on the leg and groin area and both hands, according to reports.

The man was robbed of the money on him and then Muhammad stole the man’s debit cards from his vehicle, according to police.

The man eventually broke free after several hours and contacted police.

Muhammad was captured on security video using the man’s debit cards at a nearby convenience store, and investigators identified Muhammad’s fingerprints on the duct tape used to bind the man and also identified him on other security video in the vicinity.

Charges were filed on March 7. Muhammed faces charges of first-degree kidnapping, which is a Class A felony punishable by life imprisonment; first-degree robbery, a Class B felony; and false use of credit cards/ATM cards, a serious misdemeanor.

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Muhammad has been in jail since March 1 when he was arrested during a traffic stop where police say he was in possession of a stolen, loaded Ruger 9 mm handgun and provided a false name. At that time, he was charged with trafficking in stolen weapons, carrying a concealed weapon, and providing false identification information.

When the incidents occurred, Muhammad was out of jail on pre-sentencing release for a separate crime. On Jan. 24, he entered a guilty plea of first-degree theft, a Class C felony, and willful injury causing bodily injury, a Class D felony, tied to an incident in April 2018 and was awaiting sentencing on March 12.

In that case, Muhammad held a knife to the throat of the clerk at El Mercadito, 700 First Ave. NW, on April 9 as he demanded the code for the cash register, and punched the store clerk in her face before leaving, according to Linn County District Court filings.

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

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