Burlington man jailed after Monday manhunt in FM


FORT MADISON – A Burlington man is in custody after leading area law enforcement on a chase near Ivanhoe Park Monday evening.

Officers with the Fort Madison Police Department, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, West Point/Donnellson Police Department and the Iowa State Patrol took to the woods and fields between Bluff Road and Avenue L for about two hours Monday night looking for the suspect.

According to Fort Madison Police Chief Mark Rohloff, officers responded to a call in the 4500 block of Avenue O just prior to 7 p.m. to investigate a motor vehicle theft. He said Ottumwa police had indicated GPS tracking placed a wanted 2019 Hyundai at the motel.

Upon arrival officers found the people in possession of the vehicle in the room and began questioning them. During that time, one of the suspects broke free and fled the scene with officers in pursuit.

The suspect, later identified as Loran L. Cheely, 38, of Burlington, eluded officers by entering a wooded area, and a manhunt began.

During the search, it was revealed that Cheely had a lengthy criminal history and was also wanted on an outstanding warrant. Numerous calls from residents and the use of a drone with heat sensing capabilities, provided by Lee County Emergency Management Agency, helped law enforcement officers narrow down the search.

“He had a caution indicator with his warrant that he was believed to be armed and dangerous, so we had that for one clue,” Rohloff said.

“The other clue was that there was some ammunition in plain view, so that substantiated the fact he had a weapon. It was put out that he was believed to be armed and dangerous and that raises the hair on everyone’s neck with someone who takes off in the dark and into the woods.”

Rohloff said a weapon was recovered from the hotel room, and no additional weapons were recovered when troopers found Cheely walking in Ivanhoe Park and chased him down in the 1200 block of 37th Street.

He is now in custody in the Lee County Jail on charges of 1st-degree theft of a motor vehicle, interference with officials acts causing injury and felon in possession of a firearm.

One Fort Madison police officer suffered minor injuries in the chase. Rohloff said there was no gun fire involved in the chase and Cheely was not armed when taken into custody.

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