An Iowa City man is accused of robbing two cab drivers and stealing their cabs on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
Iowa City police were called to the area of Fairfield Street and Van Buren Street at around 11:41 p.m. Tuesday for a report of an armed robbery.
Once on scene, officers found a Marcos Taxi driver who said he picked a man at 2401 Highway 6 East and drove him to Market Street. The driver says that once at the destination, the man pointed a gun at him and demanded his money and cell phone. The victim told police that he followed the demands and then ran from the area.
Officers say that when they went back to where the cab was left, it was gone.
Then, at about 1:21 a.m. Wednesday morning, Coralville police were called to 23rd Avenue, near Coral Ridge Mall, after a Yellow Cab driver reported being robbed at gun point. The victim told police that the suspect also stole his cab.
Coralville officers located the cab a short time later. They say that when they tried to stop the cab, the driver refused to pull over and continued west on 2nd Street.
Officers put out stop-sticks at the intersection of 2nd Street and Coral Ridge Avenue, which they say deflated the tires. Police say the driver then drove the cab into the Lowe's parking lot, where he rammed the cab into a police car.
The suspect was identified as 21-year-old Bruce Steven Austin, Jr. of Iowa City. Police say he was identified using his Illinois driver's license. Officers say they found a 9mm handgun in his waistband, along with other evidence.
Iowa City police say the Marcos Taxi driver positively identified Austin as the man who robbed him. They say the Marcos cab was found in a parking lot on Heinz Road in Iowa City.
Austin is charged with first degree robbery and operating a motor vehicle without owner's consent in Iowa City. In Coralville, Austin is charged with first degree robbery, second degree theft and eluding law enforcement.
Coralville Police Chief Barry Bedford says Austin was also wanted on a warrant out of Cedar County in relation to a previous motor vehicle theft.
Bedford added that the Coralville police car received about $1,050 in damage. The Yellow Cab received minor damage.
Bedford says no one was injured during either incident.
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