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Man Withdraws Guilty Plea in Scheels Crash

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IOWA CITY An Iowa City man has withdrawn his guilty pleas to charges he crashed his SUV through the front entrance of Scheels All Sports and fired a handgun in his occupied apartment last year.

Joseph A. Moreno, 24, pleaded guilty last week to criminal mischief, a Class C felony, and intimidation with a dangerous weapon, a Class B felony. Moreno withdrew those guilty pleas this week because of uncertainty whether the intimidation charge is a forcible felony, which would extend the required prison term.

Moreno has waived his right to a speedy trial in Johnson County District Court. His next court date has not yet been set.

Moreno is accused of firing his handgun inside his apartment Dec. 29, driving drunk to Scheels and ramming his 2002 Ford Explorer through the glass doors. Police allege Moreno smashed a glass case containing ammunition and firearms before "dry firing" several weapons.

Police responded around 2:30 a.m. Dec. 29 to an alarm at Scheels in Coral Ridge Mall. Upon arrival, they found the SUV crashed through the glass doors. Officers heard what may have been a gunshot, which led them to believe the person inside could be armed.

It took officers several hours to locate Moreno and take him safely into custody. More than a dozen law enforcement agencies responded to the incident.

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