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Man using abandoned rig as “makeshift living space” at trucking company was only caught because he took a pickup for a joy ride

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A man living in abandoned semi truck at a trucking company has been arrested on multiple charges after helping himself to items in the truck and taking a pickup for a joyride.

29-year-old Jeremy Rickefs was arrested on January 22nd at C & W Trucking on 4100 Elm Street in Bettendorf, Iowa after reports of a theft. 

According to Our Quad Cities News, police were called to the trucking company at around 6 a.m. on Monday by a truck driver who claimed he saw his personal pickup being driven around town. The trucker claimed that his blue Dodge Ram with aftermarket parts had been parked at the trucking company with the keys inside and the door unlocked, but was seen driving around at 35th and State Street. 

The trucker told police that he had not driven the pickup since January 21st, but when he returned to the trucking company lot, his pickup was parked inside “in a spot it should not have been in the lot” and without the key inside. 

Police found footprints leading from the pickup to an abandoned semi truck in a remote part of the lot. The cab of the truck was set up as a “makeshift living space,” but a suspect was nowhere to be found. 

Police left the scene, but were called back an hour later after the trucker saw Rickefs crawling out from under the semi truck police had searched. The trucker confronted the man, but he ran, “hopping a barbed wire fence in the process.” Police then returned to the scene and found Rickefs lying in the snow. After a brief chase on foot, police took Rickefs into custody. 

Police searched Rickefs and found the pickup key in his pocket. Rickefs then admitted to driving the pickup, returning it, and entering two semi trucks at the trucking company. He was also found to be in possession of multiple items that belonged inside of the semi trucks, such as a coat, checks, and glasses. Another employee also accused Rickefs of using the company facilities to shower. 

At the time of his arrest, Rickefs was on probation for multiple charges, including theft and burglary. He is now facing felony charges of second-degree burglary, aggravated misdemeanor charges of operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent, two counts of third-degree burglary – motor vehicle, third-degree theft, and driving while barred. 

Rickefs is being held on $5,000 bond and is set for a preliminary hearing on February 2nd.

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