Been caught stealing


I’ve had a few readers write in, asking whatever happened to Tammy Brandt, a former finance executive assistant at Mercy Medical Center accused last March of embezzling more than $200,000 from the hospital. Well, don’t worry, everyone — she hasn’t even gone to trial yet.

Brandt, 49, of 223 Stoney Point Rd. SW, pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree theft in April and was originally supposed to face a jury in July.  A motion to dismiss the charge was heard in November, and the trial postponed two more times. Now she’s set to go to trial March 2. We will update you as it progresses.

Brandt was arrested on a charge of first-degree theft after more than four months of investigation, said Cedar Rapids Lt. Kenneth Washburn. A 28-year employee in Mercy’s finance department, Brandt is accused of converting various checks she handled into cash through the hospital and taking the cash for personal use. Mercy officials discovered the thefts through a routine internal audit conducted in fall 2007, said spokeswoman Karen Vander Sanden. The audit revealed account irregularities in excess of $200,000 back to at least 2004. Mercy carries insurance that protects the institution from such losses, Vander Sanden said. A claim was filed with the insurance carrier.

P.S. — I called the garden center where I was told she was working now, but no one recognized her name.


Cedar Rapids police are searching for this man, who is accused of “skimming” bank account and PIN number information off of three peoples’ debit cards in September. He did it by placing an electronic device over the card slot that can read the cards’ magnetic strips.

If you have information on these crimes, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-CR-CRIME. Callers may remain anonymous and be eligible for a small reward if their information leads to an arrest.

To be fair, he told police he needed the money to fill his prescriptions and to feed his dogs.

Cory A. Murray, 39, of 1300 Oakland Rd. NE, #1512, was arrested just after 8 p.m. yesterday after he was spotted climbing around in the fountain at Mercy Medical Center by a security guard there, police reported. His clothes were soaking wet, and his pockets bulging from the $17.35 in coins he pilfered. After attempting to run, officers caught him and arrested him. He was also charged with intoxication and interference with official acts.

I wonder how long the guy was rummaging around in there…must have taken awhile to grab all those nickels and dimes.

James Patterson already had a patchy criminal history of petty theft and burglary when he started checking DVDs out of the Marion Public Library earlier this year — and stopped returning them. After two months, the 20-year-old now owes more than $400 in overdue fines there, and the staff banned him from checking out any more. Now Marion police say he’s resorted to stealing them, and they served a search warrant at his residence to prove it.

In the application for the search warrant, police said library staff reported seeing Patterson carry nearly 20 movies from the DVD section over two days in mid-April and taking them to the children’s section, where he broke the cases with a knife and took the DVD inside. A police officer caught him in the act the second time.

He’s being charged with fourth-degree theft. Take that! Maybe now I’ll finally get to rent that copy of “Red Dawn” I’ve been waiting for…

Six times a year, Tradeshow Productions owner Daryl Klein sponsors a gun show at Hawkeye Downs. Sellers rent booths from him in order to hawk their handguns, rifles and etc. to the background-check approved masses over a few days. Although two Iowa teens have been charged with stealing guns from the event in January, it’s not too often that illegal transactions go on inside his events, Klein said.

“We have strict rules we need to follow,” he said. “I will not allow vendors who have been found selling guns without the proper background checks to sell at my shows…and our security measures are tough.”

There are off-duty police officers and sheriff’s deputies who check every weapon that comes in the door to make sure they’re unloaded, also checking weapons on the way out. Exhibitors use their own methods to secure their weapons, he said, whether that’s by connecting them all with a cord or rope, or putting them inside a glass case. Tyler Carter and Ethan Johnston just “got lucky” when they ran out the door with their stolen guns, Klein said.

“The vendor’s table was right next to the door, and they must have just taken off running,” he said.

But, alas, their plan was faulty. In their haste, they didn’t realize one of the guns was missing a clip. So they took a chance when they returned the next time to ask for a clip for one of the stolen guns. The woman recognized them and pointed them out to security officers. They were searched, and officers found MORE stolen goods on them from the show. That time, security worked like it was supposed to, Klein said.

The people who attend the gun shows are looking for hunting weapons or handguns and pistols for concealed carrying or target practice, he said — the shows are NOT conduits for illegal sales. I, for one, appreciate that. Bureau of Justice statistics suggest that at least 1/3 of gun crimes involve stolen guns. Interestingly enough, they also say juvenile offenders are more likely to have guns than adults. Hm.

You just need an ice chipper. NOTE: It’s a shovel-looking blade. Not an ice scraper you’d use on your car.

Derdre Rodriguez, you’re my hero.

Apparently, people like Lynnette Batey. Batey, 33, of 3300 Bowling St. SW, is accused of using her 82-year-old grandmother’s identity for more than a year to open credit card accounts, buying a computer, clothing, etc. etc.

Lynnette BateyBatey

She’s accused of identity theft, getting more than $1,000 worth of merchandise from places like Dillard’s and Menard’s between Feb. 1, 2007 and March 13 of this year. The Dell Financial account to buy the computer was opened on a computer at HACAP in Hiawatha, where Batey worked, Cedar Rapids police reported in a search warrant to comb through her computer files. The computer was sent to her home, which assessor’s records indicate she rents.

Her grandmother, Maxine Drallmeier of Cedar Rapids, reported the first identity thefts she noticed in June 2007. My gramma would whoop me silly if I ever did anything like that.

Batey has been twice convicted of small-time theft before, as well as driving on a suspended license. But at least when she was in high school, she “decided drugs weren’t for her,” according to the cutline underneath an Oct. 20, 1990 photo in our archives. She was holding a baby in the Metro High day care center.