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Davenport's West end business owners frustrated by break-ins

Davenport's West end business owners frustrated by break-ins

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They came, prepped with question after question, searching for answers to ease their minds and their fears.

The room — West end business owners and representatives of two Davenport churches — was a meeting of hard-working sorts, roll-up-your sleeve types, all wanting the same thing from Davenport Police and city leaders.

Rudy's Tacos, Cedar Memorial Christian Church and Sweet Delite Ice Cream Shop, each suffered loss and damages after Father's Day weekend break-ins.

This after a string of burglaries to Scott's Shovelhead Shed, St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Wooden Nickel saloon and GruBeez eatery, respectively, in city's western corridor.

Sgt. Dennis Colclasure, supervisor for detectives for Davenport Police, Mayor Mike Matson and Rick Dunn, Davenport's 1st ward alderman, were on hand to support and answer questions of those gathered at the Cedar Street Rudy's Tacos. The three also stayed after to discuss any further concerns of the group.

The group asked thorough, thought-provoking questions and showed all the care and concern. Given a variety of options to help them move ahead, the solution to its problem appears to lie within the courts.

Much of the 63-minute meeting surrounded questions about an individual those gathered allege is responsible for the burglaries in the neighborhood. The individual in question — after a weekend arrest — was released Monday on his own recognizance. Those who spoke Tuesday, fear more break-ins are just around the corner.

"I cannot speak to certain specifics, but this is an on-going investigation,'' Colclasure said of the group's concerns and the recent break-ins. "I can tell you there is an enhanced presence by our department in the area through patrol and those officers who are undercover.''

Colclasure offered those on hand a number of enhanced security options and with Dunn, encouraged all to exchange information, stay together, communicate and not hesitate to seek police assistance.

Matson fielded a bevy of questions, explaining the court system and how non-violent offenders — especially in the midst of a pandemic —  are handled. He noted there are state guidelines regarding the weight of an arrest that ties the hands of a judge or a county prosecutor.

"I urge you all to contact your Scott County Supervisors,'' Matson said to the group. "I urge to to contact your state legislators and the Scott County Attorney's office to understand the situation even better. Please know the city wants what's best for you. Call, write, stay on top of it. And if a situation arises, do not hesitate to call 911.''

Dunn, like Matson, lauded those sitting around the room and the work of the Davenport Police Department. 

"Great questions from people who care,'' Dunn said. "This is my home, it's special to me. Our police department  does fantastic work, but I believe the frustration here is with the system — the courts. What we can do is stay vigilant like these folks have been and stay together.''

The meeting led to an exchange of information by the business owners on hand and a vow from all but one — who left early — to work together to stop the break-ins.

"Frustration is way up here,'' Rudy's owner Amanda Antle said, waving her hand above her head. "It's come to me being having to be inside the restaurant after closing — and others doing the same — to keep this from happening.

"It's my husband coming by after work at 6 a.m. It's constant watching of our security cameras on my phone after we close just to make sure,'' she added. " I believe we made strides today and did some good. I hope a solution is soon.''

Columnist John Marx can be reached at 309 757 8388 or jmarx@qconline.com

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