One of three suspects charged in alleged string of rent check thefts in Iowa

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Iowa City Police Department logo.
Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 10:42 AM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - An Indianapolis man is facing charges after police say he was involved in a scheme to steal rent checks from apartments at several locations in Iowa.

In a criminal complaint, Iowa City police said their investigation started after an Iowa City property manager reported the theft of multiple rent checks or money orders from a drop-box on the side of a building in the 900 block of Maiden Lane on July 5.

Police said surveillance video shows three suspects working together to use a rodent adhesive trap attached to a string, fed into the dropoff slot, to pull out the checks and money orders.

The thefts at that location reportedly happened on July 2, 3 and 5 and amounted to a total of more than $8,900.

Investigators were able to use video surveillance to track the gray sedan, which they discovered had been rented from Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Indianapolis.

Officers said similar thefts of checks took place in Urbandale, Ames and Cedar Rapids on and around the same days.

Surveillance recordings clearly show the same three suspects committing the thefts in those locations as well, according to police.

Many of the stolen checks were then cashed at Western Unions in the Des Moines area.

The payee line on the checks were “washed” and replaced with the names of the three suspects in order to cash them.

Officers said they compared surveillance recordings to ID and social media photos to confirm the suspects identities. They also used cell phone location data to confirm the suspects were in the locations where the thefts happened and at the time the thefts happened.

Police have identified 27-year-old Kalvin Brown, of Indianapolis, as one of the suspects. He was taken into custody and faces charges of Second Degree Theft and Conspiracy to Commit Non–Forcible Felony.

Officials have not released the identities of the other two suspects allegedly involved in this case. Nor have they released criminal complaints for those suspects.