A man accused of stealing diapers, baby wipes, tequila and other items during a six-day theft spree told police he was trying to barter the items for crack cocaine.
Thomas Elmer Reuther, 32, of 428 W. 17th St., Davenport, was in the Scott County Jail Tuesday on 10 individual theft counts.
Reuther is accused of stealing $780 in merchandise from stores in Davenport and Bettendorf. The spree lasted from July 19 to July 24.
On July 19, he took $60 worth of alcohol and cigarettes from The Liquor Store, 211 W. 53rd St., according to his arrest affidavit.
Two days later, he hit the Dollar General, 403 E. Locust St., where he took diapers and baby wipes valued at $96, and the Tobacco Outlet, 2312 State St., Bettendor, taking four cartons of cigarettes valued at $240, the affidavit states.
On July 22, he stole multiple bottles of tequila valued at $140 from Slagle's grocery store, 6723 Northwest Blvd., the affidavit states.
Reuther also is accused of stealing lottery tickets. While at the Kwik Shop, 2805 Telegraph Road, on July 23, he dropped a bottle in the back of the store then reached over the counter and took lottery tickets while the clerk cleaned up the broken bottle, the affidavit states.
Some of the tickets were later cashed in at another store. Multiple tickets from three separate Iowa Lottery scratch games were stolen. Their value was $150.
The next day at another Kwik Shop, 3129 Rockingham Road, he again dropped a bottle in the store and swiped lottery tickets while the clerk was distracted cleaning up the mess, the affidavit states.
Police caught Reuther by matching known photos of the suspect with surveillance footage from the stores, the affidavit states.
He told police he stole the items either to use them himself, sell them for money to buy drugs or barter them in exchange for drugs, the affidavit states.
Reuther has an extensive criminal history with multiple convictions for theft in the past 12 years, according to court records.
He's charged with four counts of third-degree theft, an aggravated misdemeanor, and six counts of lottery ticket theft or forgery, a Class D felony. The felony carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.