CLINTON — A primary suspect for a string of 2012 Clinton burglaries and thefts has been arrested and is currently being held in the Clinton County Jail.
Dubuque police arrested Cory J. Mitchell, 37, on Monday on 11 warrants for felony charges. Mitchell was transported to Clinton and made an initial court appearance Tuesday to set a preliminary hearing for his charges. He faces one count of ongoing criminal conduct, five third-degree burglary counts and five second-degree theft counts.
Clinton police issued warrants following several interviews conducted with Mitchell’s ex-girlfriend, between September and November 2012. In a Clinton police affidavit, the ex-girlfriend alleged that Mitchell collaborated with people in a series of burglaries from March to September that same year.
She said Mitchell was involved in crimes throughout Clinton County with incidents in Clinton, Camanche and Low Moor. She alleged Mitchell broke into businesses and vacant homes throughout the county and stole between $1,000 and $10,000 in property and cash per incident.
The first incident, she told police, happened in early March 2012, when Mitchell conspired with Johnathan Rose and another man to steal approximately 10 firearms and 300 movies from a Third Street residence in Clinton. She said the conspirators knew the homeowner was out of town.
Rose traded one of the guns for help in stealing a four-wheeler from Camanche, for which Rose was later arrested and charged with theft.
Mitchell and others broke into a house on Fifth Avenue following a May 2012 fire at the Clinton residence, according to the ex-girlfriend. They stole two televisions and a Playstation 3 among other items, she said.
She said Mitchell and Rose collaborated again during a July burglary at the JT Mart in Low Moor. Surveillance tape showed two masked men breaking and entering the store after hours, stealing cash, cigarettes and movies. She said the collaborators took the items to Clinton and divided up $4,778.44 in stolen goods.
Mitchell and Rose also collaborated in a July 2012 burglary and theft at the Second Baptist Church in Clinton, according to the ex-girlfriend. The church reported multiple guitars, amps, microphones and electrical cords stolen, estimated at $5,975 in value. She said she transported Mitchell and Rose the night they stole the musical equipment, loading the equipment in her van. She later transported Mitchell and the items to Dubuque, where he sold the items to the local business Uncle Ikes, she said.
The stolen items were found at the business in October, the police report says. Store owners said they were unaware they purchased stolen items and produced a receipt signed by Mitchell.
For his role in the four-wheeler theft, Rose was arrested on a warrant and served prison time for two counts of second-degree theft and possession of firearms by a felon.
On Sept. 4, 2012, Hardees on Second Street in Clinton reported unknown people entered the premises overnight and stole money from the restaurant’s safe. Police found broken glass at the restaurant upon investigation.
A former Hardee’s manager told police she gave Mitchell a key to the restaurant and the alarm code, and admitted conspiring with Mitchell during the incident. The former manager said Mitchell told her to wait at Wal-Mart during the burglary “so she would have an alibi.” After the incident, the former manager received $700 from Mitchell, court documents state.
Police obtained a search warrant for Mitchell’s former residence at 708 First Ave., Clinton, in October 2012. They found masks matching those worn by burglars in the surveillance tape and a television stolen from the Fifth Avenue residence.
Mitchell has been held due to a previous arrest in April 2013. Clinton County extradited him from Dubuque County on their warrants for his Feb. 4 court appearance.
Mitchell appeared in Clinton County District Court on Tuesday and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Feb. 14 at 8:30 a.m.
Each burglary and theft charge is a class D felony, which carries a penalty of up to five years imprisonment and a maximum $7,500 fine. Mitchell also faces a charge of ongoing criminal activity — facilitation of a criminal network, a class B felony, with a possible penalty of up to 25 years in prison.
The court will appoint an attorney to represent Mitchell.