Casino jackpot turned into bad luck for accused Dike ATM burglars

The Courier
Wild Casino

DIKE — Two Mason City men used a city-owned pickup truck in an attempt to steal ATMs in Dike, according to the Grundy County Sheriff’s Office.

They were caught after they won big at a casino, according to court records.

Ryan Marek, 30, and Brandon Hufstedler, 36, each face charges of second-degree burglary, three counts of third-degree burglary, operation without owner’s consent, third-degree attempted burglary, second-degree criminal mischief and possession of burglar tools, according to the sheriff’s office.

Authorities said the two took part in numerous burglaries in Grundy County in the early morning hours of Jan. 5, including attempts to remove ATMs at banks in Dike and a break-in at the Memorial Building in Reinbeck. Officials are also investigating a burglary in Tama County.

Court records allege the two broke into the Dike city shop and took a city-owned pickup truck. They then used the truck in an attempt to crash through the overhead door at Easton Technical Products on 160th Street. When that didn’t work, they tried to pry open an walk-in door but eventually gave up without getting inside.

The pickup truck also was used in an attempt to take an ATM at People’s Savings Bank on Dike Road.

It was then backed up to the lobby at Fidelity Bank and Trust on Main Street where the suspects entered the lobby, breaking through a glass door, and tried to attach a chain to the ATM.

When that didn’t work, the two walked across the street and kicked in the door to a home, waking the resident, according to court records.

Investigators said the two also pried open the door at Reinbeck Memorial Hall on Broad Street and took cash and alcohol.

Following the burglaries, the two went to try their luck at the Meskwaki Bingo and Casino in Tama. According to court records, Marek won a slot machine jackpot but couldn’t claim his winnings at first because he didn’t have his ID. He later came back with his ID and collected his money.

The stolen pickup was later found abandoned south of Dike.

During the investigation into the burglaries, deputies used video from the businesses and the casino to link the suspects by their clothing, shoes and vehicle. Authorities later searched Hufstedler’s Mason City home and seized clothing, court records state.