Iowa Prison Guard Arrested After Alleged Crime Spree

by Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

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By Katie Wiedemann

CASCADE, Iowa - An Iowa prison guard is now on the other side of the bars. Linn County Deputies arrested John Woerdehoff, 40, on Thursday on a Dubuque County arrest warrant for armed robbery. He's also accused of posing as an officer and robbing a woman in Linn County.

Woerdehoff works at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center at Oakdale.

The story starts in a quiet Cascade neighborhood where John Woerdehoff grew up. Investigators say his former neighbor still lives there and was leaving for work last Friday morning

Dubuque County Sheriff's Office Investigator Bob Lynn said, "He was waiting in her garage for her. "

Lynn says Woerdehoff was wearing a ski mask and pointed a gun at the woman. He demanded her purse and ran. He immediately began using her credit card between Cascade and Cedar Rapids.

Lynn said, "He'd gone to variety of stores. Your home improvement stores. Your big discount stores. Sporting goods stores. "

The news shocked the neighborhood where some people say they don't even lock their doors.

Neighbor Tyler Halvorson said, "I keep it locked now. Especially after all this. "

Linn County deputies say, in January, Woerdehoff pretended to be an officer and pulled a woman over on Highway 13. They say he robbed that woman at gun point.

"In his confession he talked to us about that. He just goes out and kind of looks for targets," said Lynn.

"It's just weird," said Halvorson. "It's somebody who gets paid to keep those kind of people in. Now he's starting to do this kind of stuff. "

In addition to the two armed robbery charges, investigators also say evidence they found suggests Woerdehoff also burglarized two other homes on Maquoketa Drive in Cascade. Those charges are pending.
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