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Arrest Made in Sportability Wheelchair Theft

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Police have made an arrest in connection with wheelchairs stolen from an organization that organizes sports and recreation activities for those with disabilities. Rick Allen Smith, 39, is charged with first degree theft and first degree criminal mischief, both class C felonies. Officers searched his house and found stolen property, including the wheelchairs. Investigators say the majority of the chairs were chopped up and destroyed.

In December, Sportability of Iowa reported its trailer was stolen from the parking lot of the Stoney Point YMCA in southwest Cedar Rapids. Inside were about a dozen wheelchairs the group purchased through fundraising. Each one costs between $3,000 and $5,000, Sportability’s director Jayden Barrett said at the time.

A few days later, law enforcement found the missing trailer, empty, in Newhall.

Since then, Sportability has held several fundraisers to try and raise enough money to replace the stolen chairs. The team had enough chairs to resume playing basketball in April.

A release from the Cedar Rapids Police Department says Smith is also charged with another count of first degree theft after officers stopped Smith driving a vehicle that was reported stolen in Jones County and valued at more than $10,000.