The suspects were charged with first- and second-degree theft instead of burglary, Phillips said, because burglary is when an individual enters an occupied structure to complete theft or assault. While a vehicle is considered an occupied structure, Phillips said these crimes fell more in line with theft.
In addition, burglary of a vehicle is an aggravated misdemeanor, whereas first-degree theft is a Class C felony and second-degree theft is a Class D felony.
Between June 16 and 17, eight of the 18 vehicles were stolen from Jefferson and Davis County. Some were recovered later on June 17 in Wapello County.
At 11:30 a.m. June 17, the Wapello County Sheriff's Office received a call of a red Pontiac Grand Am — first reported stolen from Bloomfield — in the ditch at River and Floris roads.
At the same time the Pontiac was stolen, a red Nissan Titan was also stolen from Bloomfield, for which law enforcement believes McCarroll was responsible.
Wapello and Jefferson County Sheriff deputies caught a glimpse of the Nissan in Eldon that day and a chase ensued, which sped east into Van Buren County and south into Davis County near Troy before deputies lost the vehicle. It was later recovered in a farm field southeast of Floris, though a search of the area found that the thieves had fled.
In that time, McCarroll also allegedly stole an Oldsmobile Cutlass, Davis County Sheriff Dave Davis previously said. That vehicle is currently submerged in Lake Arrowhead east of Ottumwa. Law enforcement and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will work this week to retrieve the car from the lake.
A few days later, the thefts began again. At 5:35 a.m. Thursday, the Wapello County Sheriff's Office received a report of a vehicle in the ditch at Copperhead Road and U.S. Highway 63. Deputies discovered that the vehicle had been stolen from Ottumwa alongside 10 other vehicles stolen that morning from Ottumwa, Eddyville, Bloomfield and Drakesville.