Public Safety

Theft of 4 golf carts worth $20,000 deals financial blow to annual NewBo Halloween parade in Cedar Rapids

A dragon walks down the street during the NewBo Halloween Parade in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
A dragon walks down the street during the NewBo Halloween Parade in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A founder of the annual Halloween parade in Cedar Rapids said the event took a big hit this year when four golf carts, totaling about $20,000 in value, were stolen from the NewBo area.

The theft was reported at 12:15 p.m. Sunday, according to the Cedar Rapids Police Department.

Public safety spokesman Greg Buelow said Peter Durin, one of the founders of the parade, reported he had rented four golf carts from Wade’s Golf and Mow of Williamsburg to use during the parade, which was Saturday in the NewBo and Czech Village neighborhoods along the Cedar River.

Randy Wade, owner of Wade’s Golf and Mow, said his business does not insure the golf carts. When they are rented, he said, the renter signs a waiver accepting responsibility for any damage or loss. The owner said he has not yet had a chance to sit down and calculate the loss, but added $20,000 would likely be on the high end.

Durin, of Terry-Durin Co., told police he last saw the carts at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. But when he returned the next day, they were gone.

Earlier Sunday, Buelow said, officers received a report of a golf cart on the west side of the Cedar River. Buelow said an officer found the cart off a bike path and partially in the river near the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency entrance at 2250 A St. SW.

A second cart, Buelow said, was found later at a construction site at 2100 A St. SW.

Buelow said Durin found another missing cart. It was damaged.

The fourth cart was found at about 12:40 p.m. Tuesday in and alley behind Wilson School. Buelow said officers were called to the area for reports of a “suspicious golf cart that appeared to be abandoned.”

Buelow said the cart did not appear to be “severely damaged” and was still in “running condition.”

It has since been returned to Durin, he said.

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The parade, Durin said, was created to “bring the city together for an amazing event.” This year’s parade aimed to raise money for Mission of Hope in Cedar Rapids.

The theft, Durin said in a Facebook post, was “an unfortunate event ... (that) adversely affects the Halloween Parade and budgeting going forward.”

As a result, Durin announced that he created a GoFundMe fundraiser to recoup as much of the loss as possible.

“I never thought in a million years that I would entertain a ‘GoFundMe’ page,” he wrote in the post, “but this $20,000 loss is a critical blow to the parade going forward. We are asking for your support to keep this parade a city event for years to come.”

Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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