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Jailed Iowa thief faces more charges

John Mangalonzo, The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa –

Michael Shay Grady thought his legal troubles were over in November when a judge sentenced him to serve 10 years in prison for the April 2011 break-in at First Assembly of God Church, 1809 Agency St., as well as for the August 2011 heist at the Salvation Army building on Columbus Drive.

But his woes only got worse.

Clad in a blue Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility uniform, the 47-year-old Wapello man was hauled back to court Friday, this time on allegations he set fire to a home he was hired to work on, along with two counts of burglary – one for Hibernia Hall and again at the Salvation Army store.

Grady is charged with second-degree arson and two counts of third-degree burglary.

Fire crews and police officers were sent to the blaze in June 2011 at 241 S. Fifth St., a vacant rental home being renovated.

After the fire was extinguished, Fire Marshal Mark Crooks, along with police detectives, entered the home and immediately noted smelling a strong odor of gasoline.

Damage was estimated at more than $20,000.

The owner told investigators he hired several people, Grady included, to renovate the rental property. Grady also had keys to the house.

During an interview with detectives, Grady said he went in the home June 19, proceeded to the kitchen, got gas cans and poured the fuel in an upstairs bedroom.

Grady then allegedly lit the stairs on fire, locked the front door and left.

Authorities said the burn patterns found inside the home were consistent with how Grady said he set the blaze.

Police also allege Grady used a hammer and broke two windows at Hibernia Hall April 16, 2011.

He allegedly climbed through the window, went into the kitchen and took a bottle of wine from the refrigerator.

Police said Grady drank the wine and left the empty bottle at the scene.

Grady also told police he broke into the Salvation Army store April 24, 2011, by throwing a piece of concrete he found in the parking lot to break a window.

Once inside, Grady said he went into the clothing section, took some clothes and an umbrella.

Grady is serving time for two other burglaries, one of which also involved the Salvation Army store and the First Assembly of God Church.

The church reported being broken into in April. Authorities said the culprit broke a basement window to gain entry, injuring himself in the process.

A shard of glass near the window had a dime-size droplet of blood. Blood also was located on a paper on a table and on the floor.

Police said the burglar left a trail of blood as he left the classroom leading toward a women’s restroom.

Church officials told police paper towels were scattered across the counter and floor, and there was blood all over the bathroom counter, which was cleaned up before police got to the scene.

An investigation indicated the suspect went through at least two classrooms and pried open a cabinet, looking for something to take.

Nothing was reported missing.

Samples of the blood found at the scene were sent to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation laboratory. In July, results of the test indicated a match to the DNA on file for Grady, who is not affiliated with the church.

In August, officers on patrol found a broken window at the Salvation Army building. Police said it appeared a piece of cement was thrown through the window on the south side.

Cash was taken from the charitable institution’s collection bucket.

The bucket itself, minus the money, was found outside the building.

Surveillance cameras inside the building caught the culprit, and employees identified the suspect as Grady, who did some volunteer work there, police said.

During an interview with police, Grady admitted to breaking into the building and taking the money.

He said he took the collection bucket outside and hid it under a parked vehicle.

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