A Cedar Rapids teenager is accused of stealing his fourth vehicle in four months after the latest episode turned into a police chase Monday.
Cole M. Offerman, 19, of 801 16th Ave. SW, was arrested around 1 a.m. Monday after a police dog found him hiding in a grassy area along 76th Avenue near Edgewood Road SW. He faces numerous charges in several different cases.
According to police, an officer originally tried to stop a Chevrolet Blazer around 12:30 a.m. because it did not have a front license plate. The driver sped off, ran a red light at First Avenue and Seventh Street NE and then turned the wrong way on Eighth Street SE, police said. Several turns later, the driver crossed the Cedar River and went through Czech Village.
Police said the driver turned south on C Street SW and the chase soon took a movie-like twist. According to a police report, the driver ignored flashing signals at the railroad crossing near the Tait Cummins Park softball complex and beat an oncoming train as the stop arms were coming down. The original officer in pursuit stopped for the train, but other officers caught up to the driver farther south on C Street SW.
Linn County sheriff’s deputies joined the chase as it continued south of Highway 30. The driver turned east on Vista Road and back north on Spanish Road, where the police had deployed stop sticks. At least one of the Blazer’s tires was punctured, but the driver kept going.
Police said Offerman pulled the vehicle into the driveway of a farm field in the 3100 block of 76th Avenue SW and tried to run, but a police dog found him and bit his leg. Offerman was treated at Mercy Medical Center for the dog bite before being transported to jail.
Offerman has been charged with operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent, attempting to elude, interference with official acts and several other traffic charges.
Sgt. Cristy Hamblin said the Blazer was reported stolen from the BP gas station at 2601 Williams Blvd. SW on Oct. 25. She said the registered owner’s son had stopped there and left the keys in the vehicle. Offerman also is accused of stealing a license plate that was on the Blazer.
Offerman was convicted of second-degree theft earlier this month after he stole a city-owned pickup July 13 and attempted to repaint it. He was sentenced to three years probation and a five-year suspended prison sentence in that case.
Before he was arrested for that crime in early August, prosecutors allege that Offerman stole a 1988 Cadillac Fleetwood from a residence in Atkins on July 22. The car was found in Cedar Rapids. According to a criminal complaint, authorities used a subpoena to access records of Offerman’s text messages. He allegedly referenced the stolen car and stolen property in the texts.
Following his arrest Monday morning, prosecutors filed another second-degree theft charge against Offerman from a vehicle theft in Ely on Oct. 18. Offerman is accused of stealing a Chevrolet Tahoe and also using the victim’s credit card. He had the stolen credit card with him when he was arrested, according to a criminal complaint, the vehicle theft was caught on surveillance video.
Offerman remained in the Linn County Jail on Tuesday afternoon in lieu of $43,500 bond.