Police warn about string of car thefts

Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 10:34 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Police say there has been a string of car thefts in Eastern Iowa and a felony lane gang made a stop. That’s a traveling group of criminals who go from town to town, stealing vehicles, money, bank cards, check books, and more from people who don’t lock their cars.

“I was very upset,” said Keela Roberts of Atkins. “It was probably the only time I had left my car out of the garage or unlocked. I am adamant about always locking my car.”

Roberts’ said she noticed her 2016 Nissan Note was missing from her driveway Friday when she was letting the dogs out. She started watching video and found a group of people searching her cars and driving off with hers.

“I started making phone calls and going through video footage on my camera, and the neighbor came over and asked if our car was missing,” she said.

Police said Roberts wasn’t alone. They said there was a 13% increase in car thefts since last year, and a lane gang came through the area; taking people’s cars, money, and bank cards. It was a similar story that Roberts shared saying someone reached out and told her the vehicle seen in her video was their own, and it was stolen too.

“She reached out on Facebook, and then she found her car in Cedar Rapids, then the car that was used to steal hers was also found,” she said.

The Hiawatha Police Department also posted video to social media showing a person going through several vehicles in a driveway. While Roberts said she felt violated after what happened, she wasn’t worried about getting the money or the car back as much as what was left inside.

“My best friend was killed, and she loved turtles,” said Roberts. “She helped me switch over my purse the day before she died. I found a little pink turtle in my purse. I carried it around with me ever since. I just want that back.”

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