Scrap Yard Owner Denies Assaulting Officers

Earl Norris,78, is accused of assaulting two Iowa law enforcement officers Friday. They were investigating stolen manhole covers and sewer grates found at his scrap yard north of Council Bluffs.

Norris denied the charges. “Why would I want to hurt anybody cause you know them people got you beat before you start.”

Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker said, “He shoved one officer and then was able to throw a rim at the other.” One is an investigator for Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the other a Deputy Sheriff.

Neither suffered an injury.

They had been investigating the discovery of 23,000 pounds of iron that belongs to taxpayers. The iron includes 24 manhole covers from the City of Omaha. Each cost $200 with the rings for installation in streets.

Manhole covers from Council Bluffs and Iowa Department of Transportation were also recovered along with sewer grates. The Omaha police detective on the case Bill Fell reports 137 pieces of iron seized.

Investigators said they’d have to prove the scrap yard owner knew he was accepting stolen iron to charge him. Earl Norris said he didn’t know it. “When it goes by the scale -- if they got it buried in a load you wouldn’t even see it.”

Norris estimates he paid $3,100 for the iron that turned out to be stolen manhole covers and sewer grates. On Monday that type of iron was going for $230 a ton at scrap yards.


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