A Waterloo man is facing charges for a rash of burglaries at churches in Cedar Falls over the last year and a half. Cedar Falls Police Captain Jeff Harrenstein says they were alerted to 46-year-old James Cowan by police in Ames and Waterloo.
“Iowa State University Police were investigating him for some office burglaries on the campus,” Harrenstein said. “We interviewed Mr. Cowan after he was arrested by Waterloo Police for some unrelated burglaries to ours…and Mr. Cowan admitted to doing 12 burglaries to churches here in Cedar Falls.”
Cowan is charged with 11 counts of third-degree burglary and one count of second-degree burglary. In many cases, it’s believed he entered the churches when they were open to the public and broke into offices.
“I believe a lot of them did occur on Sundays,” Harrenstein said. “What we had thought was happening overnight actually turned out to be happening during the day, during church services or when the building was open to the public.” Cowan collected a wide range of amounts of cash.
“As little at 20 dollars, but several churches reported over a thousand dollars was taken,” Harrenstein said. Cowan is expected to face additional charges related to burglaries in Waterloo and on the campuses of Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.