Southeast CR

There is a man, whose name I don’t have, who’s been creepin’ all over town.

I got this e-mail from an editor, who got it today from an observant reader:

We have several SE side parents in our department and we got to discussing the guy known by Washington High School students as the “creeper.” He’s a man in his 20s with his face painted white, wearing a long black trench coat.


 Apparently he was hanging around Washington this week when several teams were practicing. The story goes that he eventually yelled at security “I’m going to kill you,” and he was taken down. Police were called and he was taken away.


 This, of course, is all second hand. I will say that I saw him loitering at a strip mall on Collins Road Sunday, staring into cell phone store. I drove by an hour later, and he was still there. This week I spotted him walking across the Rockwell Collins parking lot.Kind of a scary Halloween story.



The Cedar Rapids Police Department agrees. Sgt. Brian Been said Thursday that their officers are aware that this guy is hanging around, although he was not arrested — he WAS given a warning that if he is found trespassing near Washington again he will be arrested. He said the man hasn’t done anything except be creepy, basically.

“Halloween really brings the characters out,” Been joked. Let’s just hope “The Creeper” stops being so creepy soon…


Today I talked to former CR council member Dale Todd, also a long-time Wellington Heights resident, and he brought up a pretty obvious point that I should have tried to clarify in my story about no witnesses coming forward in Hurt’s death — Why give information to the police if you don’t feel like they will protect you afterward?

There are crack deals happening in the Second Avenue/15th Street corridor, Todd said. There are prostitutes. The police should see this stuff happening, he said, it’s so out in the open. So why are they still letting it happen? And if they’re letting that stuff happen, how can anyone believe the police will put a stop to vandalism and worse retaliation against you if you share information on a murder?

It’s true that some of the people who live here and are affected by criminal activity aren’t saints themselves. But even fallen angels deserve the same protection as everyone else. We are, after all, created equal.

I got this e-mail from a Wellington Heights resident this morning:



Really… you really believe what the cops tell you, have you spent anytime in this neighborhood… the cops constantly ignore this problem and will do nothing about it because they are scared of the residents in the neighborhood… who’s the boss here… the thugs or the police?   That neighborhood should be on lockdown every night with the crime that goes on down there… but time and time again it’s “nobody talks to us”… we’ll there are ways around that if you actually want to solve this problem but I guess we’re too busy causing accidents on I-380 doing speedtraps… you do realize they were running one last week which caused the accident that the newsroom sent a text message out about… the drugs are so rampant and out of control and the cops consistently ignore it and call it a landlord-tenant dispute.  Beatings, prostitution, drugs, sexual assault, theft, vandilism and now murder again… please tell me this is the first you’ve heard about this because everyone else just says how horrible that is and then looks away and asks about the Hawks… the cops are 0 for 2 on murders so far this year, you would think in a city this size they could apply some pressure somewhere… thought this new police chief was a go getter… anyways please do not disseminate this info as our families lives are in danger in the neighborhood and nobody will help us either:(

I hear this alarmist version of what’s going on in the neighborhood, and then I think of my own experience, and the experience of others I know who live in here. I feel like there’s a disconnect — I have not once felt my life was in danger there, even walking at night. I even live a block from where Aubrey Young was shot to death shortly after the flood. I feel like I DO take a stand against drugs and violence. I won’t tolerate being intimidated by criminal activity. If I don’t like what’s going on, I will get involved.

Here’s a theory: Do you think some people view Wellington Heights as more dangerous simply because the population of black people and other minorities there is 5 times higher than the rest of the city? That racism is part of the problem here?

I think Terry Bilsland, Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association president, is right when he says, “95 percent of the residents here go to work in the morning and come home to mow their lawns at night. 5 percent of the people cause all the problems.” And, I can assure you, those people come in all colors.

An old photo of Jerry Hurt, pictured here with ex-wife, Doris Moody, and their two children — Erica Moody, now 15, and Jerry Jr. (right), now 10. Dempsey Moody (center) is Doris’ son from a previous relationship.

Hurt, 46, died at St. Luke’s Hospital last night after he was whacked in the head with some kind of pipe laying in the 200 block of 14th Street SE. His family thinks they know the man who did it. That man robbed Jerry last week, they said, and the two had a longstanding “beef” with each other. Police are being cautious with their statements, but it’s clear they also think they know who did it. They are just trying to determine the man’s intent. Did he just want to rob him again, or did he mean to kill him?

Hurt clearly has a large family with a long history in Cedar Rapids, especially living in the Wellington Heights neighborhood. When talking to them, I began to think about how fleeting life is. A niece told me that the last time she saw Hurt was Monday, when he went to see her while she was working at Kentucky Fried Chicken on First Avenue E. He got something to eat and left. The next time she sees him, he’ll be in a casket.

To have your life taken from you before it’s over…I can’t think of a worse crime.

Seems like the police are really paying attention to curfew violations lately.

Last week, when I wrote a story about people protecting their flooded property, cops had only written seven citations in total to people walking around in the flood zone after 8 p.m. — the curfew set in those areas until further notice. But when I looked at the arrest log today, I saw eight people were arrested on curfew violation charges from the early morning Tuesday to early this morning. Wow!

Three of them were kids between 18 and 20 years old who didn’t live near where they were found in the 1800 block of B Street SW. Two others were found near the intersection of 12th Avenue and Fourth Street SE. A 36-year-old man from Rock Island got a drug charge at the same time he was arrested in the 200 block of 12th Avenue SE. None of them had any reason but a bad one to be there. Police said if there had been proof they were stealing things, those charges would have been filed, too.

“We’ve warned people long enough,” said Cedar Rapids police Lt. Kenneth Washburn. Hopefully this effort cuts down on burglaries and vandalism in those areas, which are both still happening.

The joke here is pretty obvious. A store that provides psychic readings being robbed? Yeah.

On Thursday, the search warrant for the home of James Waldron at 1920 Washington Ave. SE was finally filed in court. Waldron, 63, is being charged with second-degree sexual abuse, accused of forcing sex acts on a 5-year-old girl since 2007. The girl was attending an in-home daycare run by Waldron’s wife.

Before I go into what was included in the warrant, I should tell you that I feel it is important for us to share some of the details given in search warrants in cases like this for a few reasons, although they are of such a sordid nature that we would not include them in a story printed in the newspaper. Most importantly, it puts the accusations in context. It also can be useful for parents to know, perhaps helping them find the right questions to ask their children about their caregivers and making sure the environment is healthy.

The girl’s parents went to the police station on April 28 to speak with officers about the alleged abuse, according to the search warrant. The girl told them the day before that Waldron was touching her in a sexual way, and the girl’s older sibling said she saw her little sister under a blanket with James before in a living room chair. The girl described an incident of abuse that happened in that chair while a children’s movie was playing.

Police seized a red swiveling chair from the Waldrons’ living room, 13 children’s video tapes, two blankets and two pairs of white men’s underwear from the house, according to the return to the warrant.

Waldron is set to be arraigned on Tuesday, May 27.

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