ST. GEORGE – A man already going through court proceedings for four previous alleged criminal incidents – one from 2014, one in February and two in June – was newly arrested Monday on multiple charges after he allegedly shoplifted at Wal-Mart in St. George in the presence of three young children who were accompanying him, and then ran from officers twice when they attempted to arrest him.
St. George resident Timothy Cleveland Griffith is currently in the midst of court proceedings for alleged incidents of retail theft and criminal mischief occurring in September 2014; retail theft in February; burglary, theft and criminal mischief charges from an alleged incident in June; and drug and paraphernalia possession charges from another alleged incident in June. On Monday, his list of charges grew by five.
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On Aug. 5, a St. George Police officer responded to a retail theft report at Wal-Mart on Pioneer Road in St. George. A loss prevention employee at the store had surveillance footage from July 9 showing a man with three small children taking an air compressor and a toolkit from the store without paying.
The same man came back into the store on Aug. 5. The employee saw him, followed him and observed him getting into a Chevrolet pickup truck with Utah license plates, according to a probable cause statement filed by the officer in support of the arrest.
The officer reviewed the surveillance video with the Wal-Mart employee.
“The male is seen in the toy isle (sic) stuffing the tool kit into the air compressor box,” the officer wrote in the statement. “He then proceeds past all points of sale and out the front doors to the store without purchasing the items.”
The officer then watched the Aug. 5 surveillance video and determined the man the employee had followed looked like the same man who stole the items on July 9.
“He was wearing the same brown hat,” the officer wrote, “and had the same three small children with him on both occasions.”
The officer ran the truck’s license plate, which came back as being registered to Griffith’s girlfriend.
“I have dealt with Timothy Griffith and his girlfriend on previous cases,” the officer wrote, “one of which involved Timothy and the truck.”
After running the license plate and viewing the surveillance footage, the officer knew, based on his past dealings with the man, he said in his statement, that the person captured on the security camera was Griffith.
On Aug. 9, the officer attempted to locate Griffith at his home and place him under arrest for the theft, his statement said, but Griffith ran from him and another officer who was with him.
“(The other officer) gave Timothy the command to stop, and told him he was under arrest,” the officer wrote in the statement. “Timothy said, ‘for what,’ and continued running. I gave Timothy several commands to stop as he continued to run. Timothy never stopped, and was not apprehended at this time.”
On Monday evening, the officer again attempted to locate Griffith. He was en route to a St. George address when he saw Griffith driving west on 400 North in St. George, according to the statement. The officer initiated a traffic stop on Griffith’s vehicle at the Sinclair gas station on North Bluff Street.
“Timothy exited the vehicle and started running,” the officer said in the statement.
The officer and another police responder chased Griffith, telling him multiple times to stop and that he was under arrest. The officers finally caught Griffith and placed him under arrest.
Griffith is charged with a third-degree felony for retail theft. Because he has prior convictions in the past 10 years for felony theft and burglary, the charge was enhanced, according to the statement. Griffith is additionally charged with two class A misdemeanors for failure to stop at an officer’s command and two class B misdemeanors for interfering with an arresting officer.
Griffith has additionally been booked on two outstanding warrants, according to bookings information.
Griffith’s initial court appearance for the new set of charges took place Tuesday, and his next appearance relative to those charges is scheduled for Monday. His next court appearance for the three other open cases is scheduled to take place Aug. 31. And he has a preliminary hearing scheduled for October arising from February shoplifting charges brought by the City of St. George.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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