2 suspects went on 72-hour ‘rampage’ by Gregory R. Norfleet · News · January 12, 2013
South Dakota deputies arrested two people with a stolen car which Cedar County officer believe ties them to an attempted armed robbery, a break-in, other stolen vehicles and drug manufacturing in southeastern Iowa.
Jeffrey Alan Wurr, 31, of Atalissa, and Shasta Lee Joy, 28, of Tipton, were arrested in Minnehaha County, SD, and Cedar County Sheriff’s Deputy Tom McGuinty said they are fighting extradition back to Iowa to face multiple felony counts and up to 25 years in prison.
The Cedar County Sheriff’s Department on Jan. 3 obtained arrest warrants for the two.
McGuinty said the two appear to have stolen two vehicles from Muscatine, two from a West Liberty farmer and another from Cedar County Co-op north of West Branch. One of the stolen vehicles had a mobile methamphetamine lab inside, he said. The attempted armed robbery took place Dec. 20 at the Atalissa Pilot truck stop.
McGuinty said they “went on a rampage for about 72 hours,” but “thank God” no one was injured.
Law enforcement officers are still putting together all of the details, and withheld some information as the investigation is still under way, but McGuinty said this is what they have been able to allege:
• That Wurr and Joy stole a test-drive vehicle from a dealership in Muscatine, possibly on Dec. 18 or 19, and put the mobile meth lab in there.
• That car was found wrecked in a ditch near the Cedar County Co-op, where the two broke in and then stole a company vehicle. McGuinty said evidence left in the wrecked car led deputies to suspect Wurr and Joy.
• The co-op vehicle was abandoned when the couple stole two other vehicles from a farmer in West Liberty for whom Wurr once worked as a hired hand. McGuinty said it appears their intention was to commit the armed robbery in one vehicle, then change to the second vehicle to elude pursuit. However, one of the vehicles became stuck in the snow, so they stole another test-drive car from a different Muscatine dealership.
• About 5:50 a.m. Dec. 20, Wurr and Joy are alleged to have worn masks and scarves and both displayed handguns to employees of the Atalissa Pilot in an attempt to commit an armed robbery. However, they “were not able to receive any money or merchandise from the truck stop,” according to a Cedar County Sheriff’s press release. They fled the truck stop in a white, full-sized regular cab pick-up with a large antenna on the back.
• They drove to South Dakota, stopped to get gas and drove away without paying. The gas station alerted the police and Minnehaha Sheriff’s deputies pulled them over on Dec. 24, found out the car was reported stolen, and arrested Wurr and Joy.
McGuinty said the attempted armed robbery is a Class B felony and could result in up to 25 years in prison upon conviction. The meth charge is a Class C felony, worth up to 10 years, and the stolen cars and break-in are Class D felonies and could result in up to five years for each conviction.
Aside from the truck stop employees, none of the other victims saw or heard anything, but police have obtained video surveillance footage to help with prosecution, the deputy said.
McGuinty said the Cedar County Sheriff’s department is pursuing a South Dakota governor’s warrant to get Wurr and Joy back to Iowa. He said that is a formality as they are not normally rejected.
Wurr has prior convictions; Joy does not.
Wurr in pleaded guilty in 2008 to a third-degree theft charge in Linn County, was found guilty on a 2001 charge of possession of drug paraphernalia in Cedar County; and pleaded guilty on a 1999 charge of driving while license suspended.