Cedar Rapids man arrested in theft of SportAbility wheelchairs - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids man arrested in theft of SportAbility wheelchairs

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Rick Smith, 39, of Cedar Rapids Rick Smith, 39, of Cedar Rapids
CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - A Cedar Rapids man was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with the theft of a trailer full of wheelchairs used for an eastern Iowa sports club.

Rick Allen Smith, 39, was driving a stolen vehicle from Jones County at around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday when he was pulled over in southwest Cedar Rapids.

Smith was charged with first-degree theft for knowingly possessing the wheelchairs, valued at over $10,000, and first-degree criminal mischief for property damage for chopping up and scrapping the majority of the wheelchairs, according to the Cedar Rapids Police Department.

SportAbility of Iowa, which provides recreation opportunities to people with disabilities, reported a trailer full of wheelchairs was stolen from the parking lot of the Stoney Point YMCA in Cedar Rapids in December of 2013.

The empty trailer was found a few days later in Newhall. In February, several of the wheelchairs were found cut into pieces.

Each of the 13 wheelchairs cost around $4,000 to $5,000, according to SportAbility, and also meant the Iowa Chariots basketball team couldn't play their games.

Fundraisers to replace the wheelchairs happened all across eastern Iowa. VGM in Waterloo donated several thousand dollars, as did the Waterloo Black Hawks hockey team. The Pizza Ranch in Marion and other groups also contributed.

Thanks to those donations, SportAbility was able to replace all 13 wheelchairs and the Iowa Chariots were back on the court in late April. The group is hosting a thank-you June 14 at Oakland Church in Cedar Rapids from 1 to 4 p.m.

Smith was also charged with a second count of first-degree theft for the stolen Jones County vehicle, according to police.

Smith was arrested and transported to the Linn County Jail.









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