Woman charged in connection to explosion set off inside Sioux City Scheels

Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 12:26 PM CST
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Authorities say two women were involved in an incident where an explosive device went off inside a Sioux City store. Police say one of those suspects was recently arrested.

According to court documents, Jessica Katz has been charged with first-degree arson, criminal mischief and theft. The charges stem from an incident that occurred on Oct. 26, 2022, at the Scheels in Sioux City.

Documents claim Katz and another woman, Claudette Loera, entered the Scheels at the Southern Hills Malls around 7 p.m. Then over the next half-hour, the two women allegedly gathered merchandise from throughout the store.

At about 7:32 p.m., authorities allege Loera went out to the Scheels parking and got a BB gun/pistol from the car the two arrived in. Loera then allegedly went back into Scheels and gave the BB gun/pistol to Katz. Authorities say Katz then began organizing all the store merchandise the two had gathered.

Then at about 7:37 p.m. Loera allegedly took an explosive device from her sweatshirt pocket, lit its fuse and tossed it onto a shelf. Shortly after, the device exploded.

While this was happening, Katz allegedly took all of the store merchandise they had collected and left the store without paying. Documents claim Katz and Loera eventually met back up at their car in the Scheel’s parking lot and drove away. Scheels employees reportedly followed Katz and Loera out to their car and unsuccessfully tried to stop them.

Authorities say Katz and Loera stole $562.97 worth of merchandise and the explosion caused $3,412.14 worth of damage. At the time of the explosion, there were dozens of employees and customers inside the store.

Surveillance video from Scheels was used to discover what happened before and after the explosion, according to court documents.

The Sioux City Police Department says Katz was arrested by Omaha police on Jan. 25, 2023, and was transported to the Woodbury County Jail on Feb. 2. As of Feb. 3, Loera has not been located. She is believed to be living in Omaha.