Dubuque business owner accused of theft, drugs and prostitution - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque business owner accused of theft, drugs and prostitution

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Mike Vandermillen made an initial court appearance Thursday morning Mike Vandermillen made an initial court appearance Thursday morning
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Prosecutors say a Dubuque pawn shop owner was running a crime ring out of his business.

On Thursday morning, the owner of Dubuque Pawn, 38-year-old Mike Vandermillen, made an initial court appearance at the Dubuque County courthouse.

Prosecutors are charging him with two counts of "assault causing bodily injury," two counts of "delivery of oxycodone," one count of "possession, receipt, transportation, or dominion and control of firearms and offensive weapons by felons" and the crime of "ongoing criminal conduct."

In the criminal complaint for the latter charge, which details crimes spanning March 1, 2007 through May 9, 2012, the alleged crimes include thefts, burglaries, assaults, prostitution, dealing drugs, firearms violations and fraud. Many of the crimes involved his shop Dubuque Pawn, where he allegedly sold some of the goods he aided in stealing.

"We realize this is probably just a sampling of what he was truly involved in and the magnitude of it so it's probably actually bigger than what we've been able to confirm," Dubuque police lieutenant Scott Baxter said.

He said it's difficult to estimate the total costs of the crimes in situations like this.

"We're not catching him, most likely, on the first time they've done something and that, most likely, they're not going to share criminal behavior they've been involved in, in most cases, so trying to accurately assess the number of criminal offenses he's committed or the value thereof would be very, very difficult," Baxter said.

Dubuque police worked with the Dubuque County attorney's office to build the case against Vandermillen. In the meantime, the suspect continued to live among the public and work at his shop.

"Before we're going to file a charge, especially a charge this significant, we're going to make sure that we have a thorough investigation completed, that we've followed up on all our leads, talked to everybody we need to talk to, gathered all of the evidence we need to gather and so forth, so it's a lengthy process," Baxter said.

About a dozen informants helped with this lengthy process.

"A wide range of criminal acts in the Iowa criminal code are covered here, so he actually or seems to be, at least allegedly, deeply involved with several people, and, like I said, those are the ones we know about," Baxter said.

Certain crime levels could see a dip as a result of this arrest, he said.

"We feel great about being able to take somebody like this off the street and hopefully, for an extended period of time, you'll see a reasonable decrease in certain criminal activity: obviously the burglaries, the thefts, the shopliftings," Baxter said.

Dubuque police confirm Vandermillen was involved with white supremacy crimes in Dubuque in the 1990s. He's also a previously-convicted felon.

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