Des Moines pair arrested for December thefts in Perry

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Justin Roy Gerlach, 40, of Des Moines, left, and Amanda Lee Gerlach, 31, of Des Moines were each arrested on warrants for first-degree theft, second-degree criminal mischief and two counts of trespassing-injury or damage greater than $300.

A Des Moines man and woman face theft charges in Dallas County after allegedly stealing a utility task vehicle from Van Wall Equipment near Perry in December but abandoning the UTV when it ran out of gas before they got it home.

Justin Roy Gerlach, 40, of 5225 Merced St., Des Moines, was arrested Friday on warrants for violation of probation and for first-degree theft, second-degree criminal mischief and two counts of trespassing-injury or damage greater than $300.

Amanda Lee Gerlach, 31, of 5225 Merced St., Des Moines, was arrested Jan. 29 on a warrant for first-degree theft, second-degree criminal mischief and two counts of trespassing-injury or damage greater than $300.

Justin Gerlach could be called the 12/12 thief. When he was arrested as a suspect in the Dec. 12, 2020, theft, he was on probation for a conviction for third-degree burglary in connection with a Dec. 12, 2019, incident in which he stole four television sets from the community room of the Strathmore Apartments in West Des Moines.

Shortly after midnight Dec. 12 day, the Gerlachs allegedly “did go onto the property at 1223 Willis Ave. and attempt to steal a gas station globe and a wall sign,” according to court records. Their afternoon theft at the Perry Oi Co. was “unsuccessful,” but they “did admit to attempting to steal the items.”

The Van Wall incident began about 1:30 a.m. on the same day, Dec. 12, 2020, when the Gerlachs allegedly entered the property at 22728 141st Dr. near Perry and made off with “a John Deere Gator,” valued at $27,080.45, according to court records.

The Gerlachs “did admit they took the Gator and planned on keeping it, but it had run out of gas,” and so the Gator was “abandoned in rural Dallas County,” where it was later recovered and returned to its owner, according to court records.

In the course of the alleged theft, the Gerlachs also allegedly “caused damage to a skidloader, a UTV and two snowmobiles,” with repair costs “estimated at $5,138.66,” according to court records.

An arrest warrant for Justin Gerlach was ordered in Dallas County District Court Jan. 17 and served Feb. 12. He is currently held in the Dallas County Jail on a $20,000 cash-only bond. He is scheduled for a hearing Feb. 19 in Dallas County District Court.

Justin Gerlach was convicted of first-degree theft and two counts of third-degree burglary in 2020 in Polk County District Court. He was convicted of third-degree burglary in 2020 in Dallas County District Court. He was convicted of attempted third-degree burglary in 2019 in Dallas County District Court. He was convicted of third-degree burglary in 2013 in Polk County District Court. He was convicted of second-degree theft and ongoing criminal activity in 2013 in Polk County District Court. He was convicted of fourth-degree burglary in 2012 in Polk County District Court.

An arrest warrant for Amanda Gerlach was ordered in Dallas County District Court Jan. 17 and served Jan. 29. She was held in the Dallas County Jail before posting a $15,000 cash or surety bond. She is scheduled for a hearing Feb. 15 in Dallas County District Court.

Amanda Gerlach was convicted of fourth-degree theft in 2013 in Polk County District Court. She was convicted of trespassing in 2015 in Polk County District Court. She was convicted of fifth-degree theft in 2014 in Polk County District Court.

*A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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