The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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January 15, 2013

Pawn shop robbery trial begins

CLINTON — The state of Iowa began its case Monday against Darrell Thomas, 27, for first-degree robbery.

“It was a terrifying afternoon, as she will testify, for Shirley Reed to be there that afternoon in her pawn shop,” Clinton County Attorney Mike Wolf said in his opening statement.

The state alleges that Thomas entered the Library Pawn Shop, 901 N. Second St., after noon on Oct. 18 with the intent to commit a theft, committed an assault on Reed and threatened to commit a forcible felony while having a weapon. Wolf told the jurors that Reed was working alone when a man came in and offered to sell her a ring.

After she turned it down, he asked her to show him some other men’s rings.

Reed gave half of her testimony Monday afternoon, with the rest to be given this morning. She told the court that she showed him several rings that were in a size eight, unlocking half of the display case.

“And he’s got a knife at my throat, telling me to go to the end of the counter,” Reed said.

Reed added that the individual then pushed her to the floor and began filling his backpack with rings. He then threw the bag at her and had her put rings in it. She said that the whole time he kept telling her to go faster and told her he was going to kill her.

Reed was eventually moved to the employee area and was secured with an electrical cord that she believed he must have brought with him. She said after the police arrived, she checked and none of her extension cords had been cut.

The individual also took the contents of a cash box that contained approximately $200 in bills, plus change, as well as a small box with coins. Reed testified that he also knocked down the shelf in the display case in homes to get items from the other side that was still locked.

Wolf asked Reed to describe the man. She said he was black, approximately 6 feet tall, thin and was wearing a hoodie and a backpack. Wolf asked if she got a good look at his face. Reed said that the man kept asking if she saw his face, but she did not spend the energy to see it since he kept saying he would kill her.

“‘I am going to kill you and I will come back to kill you.’ I heard that many times,” Reed said.

Earlier in the afternoon, Wolf brought four Clinton Police officers as witnesses. Officer Casey Newmarch testified that he was called to the pawn shop at 12:50 on Oct. 18. He found Reed with the binding on her wrist and removed it, while preserving it as best as he could.

“She was very shaken,” Newmarch said.

Wolf also called Officer Matt Lorenzen, Officer Marisa Mussmann and Sgt. Rick Mojeiko to describe the evidence collected at the scene and the security tape used for identification. Lorenzen agreed that obtaining the recording of security tapes was a priority.

Mojeiko described to the court how he used DVR decoder software to process the video from the shop’s proprietory video system. He told Wolf that he looked back at the video for the altercation and began doing a screen capture. Wolf entered into evidence the screen capture of the individual which was released to the media the day of the crime, as well as a screen capture which showed the individual from behind with his backpack on.

Mojeiko also created a copy of the video with the program. He explained how he kept it in real time, except for any gaps in the video. Mojeiko said these security systems will sometimes have the camera turn off if there is no movement. Defense Attorney Bruce Ingham asked how long these gaps were. Mojeiko said they were typically five seconds. Instead of having the video jump ahead that time or go black, he had it hold the last image for that time. Ingham asked if, besides those time jumps, what is views on the original system is the same as the video Mojeiko made. Mojeiko said it was.

Mojeiko and Mussmann went through the chain of evidence with Wolf, entering different items as State’s exhibits.

The trial was set to begin this morning at 9 a.m.

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