Iowa jury doesn’t buy robbery tale, convicts motel clerk

Charles Smith

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa prosecutor said the motel clerk was a bad actor, and the jury apparently agreed, convicting the man of theft and other crimes during a staged robbery.

The Hawk Eye reports that 28-year-old Charles Smith was found guilty Wednesday. Prosecutors say he and an accomplice faked a struggle during the fairytale robbery last June at a Burlington motel. The other man hasn’t been arrested, and the $3,500 taken hasn’t been recovered.

A surveillance video showed Smith and the armed, masked “robber” grappling near a motel safe early on June 12. The masked man soon fled, a wad of cash in one hand, a pistol in the other.

Investigators found the performance unconvincing.

During closing arguments, prosecutor Justin Stonerook said, “I’ve seen better acting in a community theater production.”