Five young men, all under the age of 19, have been arrested in connection with a rash of stolen vehicles in Cedar Rapids last week. Police Sergeant Cristy Hamblin says two pickups and a van were reported stolen between 11:40 p.m. last Thursday and 2:00 a.m. on Friday.
Officers recovered all of the vehicles when they responded to a home in northwest Cedar Rapids to investigate a report of a smell of marijuana. “We recovered, I believe, two more vehicles as well, but we’re not able to tie (the suspects) to those vehicles at this time,” Hamblin says. “To have this many young people involved in it…it’s just highly unusual.”
It’s unclear what, if anything, the suspects planned to do with vehicles. “It almost appears as if they would steal a vehicle and then drive it to another location and trade it for another stolen vehicle. I don’t know…(maybe) it was a game was for them,” Hamblin said. If it was a game, there are some serious consequences.
All five of the young men are now facing felony theft charges. “If they’re convicted, they could be facing some jail time,” Hamblin said. “I know some of them are 17 (or younger), but I know they will probably be tried as adults.”
The case is unusual, not only because of the number of people and vehicles involved, but also because all of vehicles will apparently be returned to their owners undamaged. “A lot of times, when a person’s vehicle is stolen, they’re either not recovered or damaged,” Hamblin said. “This is one of those good situations where we’re able to return the vehicles without the damage.”
The individuals charged in the case are identified as 16-year-old Brian Kapurch, 17-year-old Ryan Frieden, 17-year-old Dakota Gaines, 18-year-old Zach McElroy and 18-year-old Michael Candler.