crime

A couple from Bolivar face felony robbery and armed criminal action charges after allegedly stealing a lizard from a home by gunpoint last week. 

According to online court records, both Tara L. Cooper, 28, and William T. Cooper, 29, are charged in Polk County Circuit Court with class A felony first-degree robbery and felony armed criminal action. 

The probable cause statement said Polk County deputies responded to a home in the 300 block of East 2nd Street in Fair Play on Monday, Nov. 16, for a report of a past armed robbery. 

The victim said he was babysitting five children, ranging in age from 4 to 11, when he heard a knock on the front door, the statement said. 

When the victim opened the door, William Cooper had a .22 gun pointed in his face and said to let him and Tara Cooper in the house or he’d shoot the victim, the statement said.  

The victim said he let the Coopers in the house because “he didn’t want anything to happen,” the statement said.  

“William entered the residence and took a bearded dragon lizard in a large fish tank, two red lawn chairs and a box of DVD’s,” the statement said. 

The victim said the Coopers then left in a black four-door pickup truck.  

He told deputies he was shaken up about the gun being pointed at his face with the children inside the residence, the statement said. 

One child saw William Cooper point the gun at the victim and was scared the couple were going to hurt the man, the statement said.  

Later that day, deputies found the bearded lizard in the tank and the red lawn chairs at the Coopers’ residence in Bolivar, the statement said. A witness said Tara Cooper told her that William Cooper had pointed a gun at the victim. 

When talking with deputies, the Coopers denied that they entered the residence without permission and pointed the gun at the victim. 

If convicted of the class A robbery charge, they could each spend 10 to 30 years or life in prison, per the felony complaint. 

Both Tara and William Cooper are each being held in Polk County Jail on $75,000 cash or surety bond. They are due in court Wednesday, Dec. 2.  

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