Bad news for burglars in Des Moines. Since January, the police department has had plain-clothes officers assigned to a Crimes Against Property beat to assist with burglary investigations following an insurgence of burglaries city wide. The department announced last week that this special squad did reduce the number of officers working patrol watches, but officers worked on an overtime basis to supplement shortages paid for largely with funds collected from red light and speed camera violations. The success of this four-officer squad includes 99 felony arrests for burglary, theft, forgery and wanted subjects as well as 26 misdemeanor arrests. They have recovered 27 stolen vehicles, two weapons and followed up on 150 burglary cases. With this success, it has been determined that this squad will be continued indefinitely. We anticipate similar success as this detail goes forward. Funny how one crime pays to fight against another.
Keep on truckin’, baby! Gov. Terry Branstad announced Monday that Iowa tourism destinations are being promoted on state tractor-trailers. Units from the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division are wrapped with images promoting Ames, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls, Des Moines, Iowa City, Newton, Sioux City and Waterloo. The $50,000 cost to wrap the nine tractor-trailers was shared by the state and cities, and the promotion is to last 18 months.
Des Moines police are faced with yet another homicide investigation, after callers reported someone had been shot last week at 923 Frazier around 2:30 p.m. When police arrived, they found 20-year-old Christopher Byers inside the residence suffering from a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later. The next day, Marquice Morris, 18, and Joshua McCoy 20, both from Des Moines, were arrested and charged with first-degree robbery and first-degree murder.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is also dealing with a fatality. Its dispatch received a call for assistance at a home located at 14150 N.W. Madrid Drive last weekend around 1:15 p.m. When deputies arrived, a search of the property discovered the body of 48-year-old Paul Hildreth of Ankeny, who was pronounced dead at the scene. The death is under investigation, but deputies say the circumstances do not appear to be suspicious in nature. Hildreth had felony charges filed against him last week for sharing explicit images of minors. Authorities also expressed concern that Hildreth may possibly be involved in child pornography production.
Another Des Moines youth was found shot last weekend. On Saturday, June 29, at 12:22 a.m., officers were tripped to the 1700 block of Mondamin. Upon arrival, they found 16-year-old Tony Matthews, of Des Moines, lying in a yard with at least one gunshot wound. He was taken to a local hospital and underwent surgery and is currently in critical condition. Des Moines Police detectives are investigating and asking for anyone with information to contact Detective Matt Towers at 515-283-4981. Anonymous tips may also be left at Polk County Crime Stoppers at 515-223-1400.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Des Moines Water Works have been monitoring the nitrate levels in Des Moines’ primary sources of drinking water, Raccoon River and Des Moines River, after a month-long increase of the health-threatening compound has been found in both streams. Nitrate, which is a commonly used fertilizer on crop lands, can cause serious illness to anyone who consumes the water if it contains an excess amount of the maximum contaminant level. The maximum contaminant level goal for nitrate is 10 milligrams per liter of water. The Raccoon River hit 24 milligrams per liter in the first week of May with the Des Moines River measuring at almost 18. The previous records for each river were 22 and 14.2 milligrams. Des Moines Water Works has been running its nitrate-removal system for more than 50 days, resulting in a $500,000 higher treatment cost. CV