The Ottumwa Courier

June 20, 2013

List of Davis County car thefts continues to grow

By CHELSEA DAVIS
Courier staff writer

---- — BLOOMFIELD — Several Davis County families awoke Thursday to discover their cars had been stolen.

Between 2 and 6 a.m. Thursday, five vehicles were stolen, two from Drakesville and three from Bloomfield, said Davis County Sheriff Dave Davis. This follows a series of car thefts from Davis County and surrounding counties in the past two to three weeks.

The stolen vehicles from Drakesville included a Hummer H2 and a Chrysler Town & Country minivan, while those from Bloomfield included an Oldsmobile Alero, a Ford pick-up truck and a Pontiac Grand Prix.

"The Hummer was found over at Copperhead Road and 100th Street in Wapello County," Davis said. "It's believed to be totaled. Our belief is that it was hit by the minivan that was stolen also, which was in turn later recovered in the Des Moines River near Ottumwa."

The Alero was recovered three miles west of Drakesville on 180th Street, the pick-up truck was recovered in Drakesville and the Pontiac was found wrecked in a ditch on the east edge of Bloomfield.

"There have been more thefts of vehicles in this county in this couple-week period than I've seen in my whole career," he said. "I can think of 10 vehicles off the top of my head that have been stolen in the last couple of weeks here."

A red PT Cruiser recently stolen from Wapello County was also recovered with black paint transferred on it, which Davis believes came from the black Alero.

"We believe ... they're racing them up and down the roadways and purposely hitting one another," he said. "They're tearing these vehicles up, then they'll get out, go steal another car, take off and go again."

The Davis County Sheriff's Office is collaborating with the Wapello and Jefferson County sheriff's offices, as well as the Bloomfield, Ottumwa and Centerville police departments to track down several suspects they believe are involved in the thefts.

"We are making headway here," Davis said. "I would believe we're looking at some arrests coming soon. We've got some good information and some evidence."

Thursday's five vehicle thefts don't include several other vehicles stolen from multiple counties in the past two weeks.

"We recovered a Chevy pick-up truck stolen out of Jefferson County two days ago," Davis said. "That was after we'd had two vehicles stolen out of town here [in Bloomfield] and a couple vehicles stolen out in the county that day, too."

Law enforcement believes the same group of individuals is responsible for all of the car thefts.

One vehicle is still missing after a pursuit two days ago in the northeast portion of Davis County.

"All the vehicles have had their keys left in them," he said. "They're not hot-wiring these cars. The keys are inside the vehicle."