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3.18.23 – Laurel Leader-Call

Iowa man says he stuffed snacks in pipe to ‘feed starving children’

An Iowa man who is accused of breaking into a convenience store in Shady Grove and stealing snacks in the predawn hours Tuesday was only trying to help kids.

That’s what Robert Randolph Carter III, 50, of Des Moines told Deputy Reagan Smith as she was handcuffing him and taking him into custody at the Chevron on Highway 15 North just after 2:30 a.m. He didn’t, however, mention what he intended to do with the more than $4,000 cash he had in his pocket or all of the quarters that were in front of the building after he apparently used a Leader-Call newspaper rack to break the glass of the door to get inside.

That set off the alarm and deputies from the Jones County Sheriff’s Department responded. When Smith arrived, she saw Carter go to the side of the building, where he was putting objects into a PVC pipe that went into the ground, according to the report.

“I’m trying to feed starving children,” Carter reportedly said, then made several rambling statements about “commies.”

He had taken a Mountain Dew Major Melon, a V8 Splash, packs of honey-roasted and salted peanuts and some Grandma’s oatmeal raisin cookies after breaking in and going into the back office, where he ripped the alarm system out of the wall and took cash, according to the report.

While Carter was handcuffed, he told deputies that he was “overheating’ and needed medical attention. EMServ Ambulance responded and medics checked him out before he was booked into the Jones County Adult Detention Center for commercial burglary.

Investigator Wesley Waites was assigned the case. Carter was later evaluated by mental-health officials, who determined that he needed further treatment.