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Facility Owners, Community Members Help Police Nab Self-Storage Thieves in Cottonwood, IA

The owners of Camas Prairie Mini Storage in Cottonwood, Iowa, pulled together with community members on Sunday to help police catch two burglary suspects. Ultimately, an arrest was made after a high-speed chase.

Two of the facility’s storage units were broken into on Feb. 2. Since then, Roy and Denise Uhlenkott, who own the property at 1905 Lewiston St., and local residents have been on high alert, according to the source.

On Sunday, a resident called police at 2 p.m. to report that a truck towing a 10-foot utility trailer left the storage facility at high speed. Idaho State Police engaged in pursuit and discovered the vehicles at a Nez Perce Express convenience store in Lewiston, IA, where the suspects lived. The truck and trailer contained items that were later identified as having been stolen from the storage units.

“We were literally eight to 10 minutes behind the vehicle,” said Cottonwood Police Chief Terry Cochran. “Without community involvement and the community willing to say, ‘I just saw this,’ we’d never have caught up with them that fast.”

Upon further investigation, officers discovered that four total units had been breached. The suspects were adding new, unbroken locks to the unit doors to cover up the crimes.

Cassandra M. Mastrup, 24, and Ethan R. Fuhs, 38, have been charged with grand theft by receiving or disposing of stolen property. Fuhs was also charged with enhancement of persistent violator. They appeared in court on Monday, but a preliminary hearing date hasn’t been set.

Camas Prairie Mini Storage opened in 1984 with two buildings and has grown to 10. The Uhlenkotts also own C & R Storage in Cottonwood. Combined, the facilities offer 200 units.

Idaho County Free Press, Lewiston Pair Arrested Following Sunday Storage Unit Burglaries


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