Hurricane man charged in armed robbery outside grocery store on Bluff Street

Composite image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Hurricane man faces a first-degree felony charge after he allegedly robbed a man at gunpoint outside of Smith’s Food and Drug on Bluff Street in July.

Timothy J. Armstrong-Nichols, 18, was scheduled to make an initial appearance on a charge of aggravated robbery Thursday in Fifth District Court in St. George.

The charge stems from an incident reported July 14 when officers were dispatched to Smith’s after a man called 911 to report an armed robbery, according to the police report.

Booking photo of Timothy Armstrong-Nichols of Hurricane, Utah, Sept. 4, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

During the investigation, officers were told that a young black male had approached an individual who was sitting outside near the main entrance of the store, pointed a gun and demanded the bag the person was holding.

The individual complied and the suspect, later identified as Nichols, fled the area on foot and was last seen heading east on Tabernacle Street.

According to the reporting party, the bag contained a laptop computer, two cell phones, bank cards, an expandable baton typically used by police, and other miscellaneous items, the report said.

On July 20, Nichols, who was incarcerated in Washington County on an unrelated incident, was identified as the suspect involved in the robbery and was interviewed at Purgatory Correctional Facility by detectives at the end of August.

During that interview, police say, Nichols confessed to robbing an individual outside of Smith’s in July, and admitted to using a gun during the crime, “but claimed it was an air-soft gun,” that he discarded near a building immediately afterward.

Nichols told police he returned to the area to retrieve it days later, but it was no longer there.

Nichols also said he did not remember all of the items contained in the bag, but told officers he either dropped the items or sold them.

He was booked on the charge and bail was set at $20,000.

Court records show that two unrelated cases filed since June are still pending against Nichols in Washington County.

The first involves an incident June 17 when Nichols was was stopped by a Hurricane Police officer for what was initially a moving violation that ended in arrest.

During the stop, the officer asked Nichols for his driver’s license. Instead of complying, Nichols asked to see the officer’s license, the report said.

Nichols then provided the requested identification, but refused to comply with the officer’s commands from that point on, which led to Nichols being physically removed from the vehicle by the officer.

During a search of the car, officers found a baggie containing what appeared to be methamphetamine and a presumptive test came back positive, police said.

Nichols was transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility and later charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor, one count each for interference with arresting officer and possession or use of drug paraphernalia, both class B misdemeanors, as well as one traffic infraction for failure to signal for two seconds.

On July 20, six days after the robbery at Smith’s was reported, further drug charges followed when a vehicle that Nichols was a passenger in was stopped by officers in Washington City, court records show. Police began searching the car after the driver consented, while a K-9 was called in to assist.

The dog reacted to a backpack located near the backseat where Nichols had been sitting and alerted its handler to the possible presence of drugs.

During the subsequent search, a white powder that appeared to be methamphetamine was discovered inside the backpack.

Nichols claimed ownership of both the backpack and its contents, according to police, and was arrested and booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility. Charges were filed the following day, and included two misdemeanor charges, including drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Nichols remains in jail as this report publishes.

This report is based on statements from police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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7 Comments

  • NickDanger September 8, 2018 at 6:48 am

    I’d like to commend the writer of this story. Miss Blowers consistently provides cogent, thorough, and factual reporting. Be it an auto accident, or the usual type of minor crime we have in St. George, or in this case, an armed robbery by a meth-head, by the time I get through reading one of Cody Blowers news pieces (and I almost always read them to the end because they’re so well-organized and well-written), I feel I know ALL the relevant facts. Thank you, maam.

    • Paul Dail Paul Dail September 8, 2018 at 7:17 am

      Nick,

      Thank you for taking the time to commend our reporter. More often than not, it’s criticism we receive (and sometimes with good cause, as we are not perfect), so it’s nice to be able to start the day with a compliment. I’m sure our reporter would be pleased to hear it, and I have passed it along to her.

      Thanks again, and thanks for reading St. George News

      Paul Dail
      Editor in chief

  • mmsandie September 8, 2018 at 8:46 am

    This is why I don’t go on Bluff st.. construction, ut they always rob Walgrens there . Now just sitting out front..we’ll written article..

    • Striker4 September 8, 2018 at 10:33 am

      if you are going to make a comment at least try to make it look like you know what you’re talking about

  • Foxyheart September 8, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    “the bag contained a laptop computer, two cell phones, bank cards, an expandable baton typically used by police, and other miscellaneous items, the bag contained a laptop computer, two cell phones, bank cards, an expandable baton typically used by police, and other miscellaneous items…” Did the police ever wonder why the bag contained those items? Something sounds a little off to me. A police-like baton? hmmmmmm

    • DB September 9, 2018 at 2:01 pm

      I’m with you regarding the bag’s contents. Me thinks that this wasn’t a random robbery.

  • Randys Sister September 10, 2018 at 8:33 am

    All I have to say about this poor mis-guided young man is that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Yes, he was old enough to make his own choices, but when the people who are supposed to teach you values through their example fail terribly, this is what you get.

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