July 25, 2013

Calhoun County law officers have been slow to charge two teenagers accused of a string of break-ins and vehicle thefts this month because deputies didn't catch them red-handed, according to the Calhoun sheriff.

Zach Wailes, 19, of Breda, and Josey Wilson, 19, of Carroll, face multiple felony charges for burglary and theft in Carroll and Greene counties since their arrests on July 9, which followed a series of attempted arrests and escapes in all three counties over the course of about a day.

Wailes and Wilson are suspected of leading Carroll sheriff's deputies on a high-speed chase on July 8, escaping arrest and hiding at a makeshift campsite in Calhoun County northwest of Lake City.

Calhoun County Sheriff Bill Davis and two of his deputies went to the campsite after the chase about midnight, but Wailes and Wilson allegedly fled on foot before the officers arrived. The teens are suspected of stealing an all-terrain vehicle and, later, a car to flee the county.

"Our case is a little more complicated because we didn't actually catch them in the vehicle," Davis said. "We're still putting it together."

Davis declined to elaborate but said investigators will use different types of evidence to tie the teens to the thefts.

"We most likely will be filing charges," he said. "We want to have everything that we need when we charge them" so that the evidence is ready if it goes to trial within 45 days - the threshold for a speedy trial under Iowa law.

Both teens are charged with felony theft in Greene County, and Wailes faces another felony drug possession charge. They have allegedly admitted to a series of thefts from unlocked cars in Jefferson and Scranton.

Wailes faces four felony charges in Carroll County - one each for theft and eluding and two for burglary - and is held in the county's jail. Wilson is held in the Greene County jail.