The Ames Police Department is looking for a man suspected of breaking into two downtown Ames businesses Monday morning.
Marcus Johnson, owner of No Escape Iowa, one of the businesses that was robbed, said that he went down from his office to the escape room at around 9:30 a.m. and found his laptop missing.
“I was convinced that it should be where it was, so I immediately checked the cameras,” Johnson said. “Just a few minutes earlier, there was the person. I was like “Oh my god, he’s right there,” and I was kind of freaked out by that.”
Johnson then went to check the other camera system in the building and thinking the suspect had already left, called the non-emergency police department line.
“About ten minutes later I went down there again, and this time I was just going in there when I heard a noise from the other end of the room. I went along the corridor a bit more and couldn’t see anything… I turned around and there he was, in the other area, behind a locked door,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he didn’t think the suspect knew that he was aware of the missing items because he beckoned for Johnson to let him out of the room he had inadvertently locked himself into.
“He started banging on the door and I got a little nervous then, so I grabbed a fire extinguisher, which was hanging up on the wall there, as a way to protect myself just in case he got out,” Johnson said.
He then went to call 911 to report that the suspect was still in the building, but his phone had died. Johnson was going upstairs to use another business’s phone when he heard a crash and found that the suspect had used a welder to shatter the door and escape.
Johnson chased the suspect, still holding the fire extinguisher.
“I don’t know what I thought I was doing, but I went to the parking lot and he was just trying to drive off,” he said.
Johnson then threw the fire extinguisher through the suspect’s passenger window and smashed it. The suspect crashed into another car before driving off.
“It was surreal,” Johnson said. “Looking back at it, I probably should have let him go, but at the time I just was like no, I'm not. At the time, I knew he had my laptop and I’m like, I’m not going to let this happen. I work really hard these days and life sucks so I’m like no, he’s not getting away with this.”
Along with the laptop, Johnson said he knows a large sum of money was taken but hasn’t done a complete inventory yet.
The other business that got broken into was Main Street Sports Cards. Johnson said the suspect left the items from that store behind in the chaos.
The owner of Main Street Sports Cards could not be reached for comment.
The suspect in question is 47-year-old white male named Curtis Carr. Ames Police Commander Jason Tuttle said that they already had warrants out for Carr’s arrest from a previous incident back in June.
“For ongoing criminal conduct, theft, second degree and criminal mischief. We’ve been looking for him for awhile and we believe he’s also probably doing some other type of burglaries around the central Iowa area and is being looked at by other law enforcement agencies as well,” Tuttle said.
Tuttle said police were able to quickly identify Carr after he dropped his wallet and phone while fleeing the crime scene.
Later Monday, police found Carr’s vehicle abandoned.
Any information regarding Carr’s whereabouts can be directed to the Ames Police Department. The department's non-emergency phone number is 515-239-5133. The crime tip line is 515-239-5533.