By RICK HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — An Iowa man being held locally following two carjacking incidents in Mt. Vernon earlier this week was in court Thursday for a bond hearing.
Resident Judge Jo Beth Weber set a $500,000 bond for David J. Pederson, 55, whose address on his driver’s license is Ames, Iowa, although the defendant was recently in custody at the U.S. Penitentiary in Marion.
Chris Cullum, human resource manager at the Marion prison, said Thursday that Pederson was serving a 71-month term for a Dec. 17, 2008, bank robbery conviction in Iowa. He was scheduled to be released on Aug. 23 of this year. Prison officials released him on furlough on Tuesday to attend a halfway house in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he was supposed to finish out his sentence.
Cullum said it is commonplace for prisoners to finish out their terms in a halfway house, although he did not know what the prison’s policy is on releasing the prisoners on furlough, and making sure they reach their destination.
Pederson was arrested in Nashville on Tuesday following the two carjacking incidents in Mt. Vernon.
The first carjacking took place at the McDonald’s restaurant on Potomac Boulevard. Pederson ordered an 18-year-old female employee to her car, bound her hands and drove to the B.P. service station on 44th Street and Broadway. She pepper-sprayed Pederson and was able to get free.
Pederson then carjacked a maroon Mecury Estate van, occupied by a woman and her two sons. The victim told police that Pederson displayed a black semiautomatic handgun — later identified by State’s Attorney Doug Hoffman as a pellet gun.
Pederson drove to Wells Bypass Road where he freed the woman and her children at the NAPA Distribution Center. He then drove west, apparently on Interstate 64, and was arrested shortly after 3 p.m. by Nashville Police at a Circle K service station.
Hoffman said formal charges against Pederson remain under review. Hoffman confirmed that he is in discussions with federal officials on the possibility that Pederson may be charged in federal court with charges related to the carjackings.
Local officials say Pederson has a long criminal history, and multiple Iowa media outlets have reported Pederson was initially convicted of six bank robberies in 2002 over a three-state area.