Scheels 2008 gun burglary

Stolen guns in Iowa often lead to other crimes

by The Gazette  |  published on March 19, 2013

Thieves broke through a rooftop window in the early morning of Dec. 8, 2008, and stole 17 semi-automatic handguns, valued at $11,400, from the Scheels store at Coral Ridge Mall.

The most expensive gun, a .45-caliber Kimber Warrior worth more than $1,000, was used to rob a Nashville bank in 2009.

At least six more guns were recovered in Chicago. One was dumped in a garbage can as a man fled from police. Another ditched in a flower pot. A third was used to rob three men of their cash, cell phones and clothes, police reports show.

The theft and recovery of the Scheels guns provides a look at how stolen guns move throughout the country and how police attempt to get them back to their rightful owners.

“It’s interesting how so many were recovered in Chicago,” Coralville Lt. Shane Kron said.

Charles Curry of North Liberty and Mohamed Elkamil of Coralville were charged with stealing the guns from Scheels after police found one of the firearms, a Kimber SIS Custom, .45-caliber pistol, in Curry’s car during a Feb. 16, 2009, traffic stop.

These charges were dismissed when the men were indicted in federal court for robbing an Iowa City bank July 20, 2009. Both were sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

Court records don’t indicate whether investigators probed how the Scheels guns got to Chicago and Nashville.

Joel Barrows, an Iowa district court judge who prosecuted the Curry case when he worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Southern Iowa district, said gun trafficking wasn’t part of the federal case.

When law enforcement agencies seize firearms, they usually check the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database to see if the guns were reported stolen.

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