Report of strong arm robbery by 4 suspects draws heavy police response

Police circulated the area near Pilot Travel Center located at 2841 S. 60 East looking for suspects after a truck driver claimed he was robbed by four men, St. George, Utah, May 4, 2016 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A 911 call from a man claiming he was robbed at a St. George truck stop Wednesday received heavy response by police.

A man was arrested after making a false police report claiming he was robbed by four suspects at Pilot Travel Center located at 2841 S. 60 East, St. George, Utah, May 4, 2016 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News
A man was arrested after making a false police report claiming he was robbed by four suspects at Pilot Travel Center located at 2841 S. 60 East, St. George, Utah, May 4, 2016 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

At approximately 2:44 p.m., police responded to a strong arm robbery at the Pilot Travel Center located at 2841 S. 60 East after a truck driver called 911 alleging he had been robbed at an ATM inside the gas station, St. George Police Lt. Thad Feltner said.

The man told police that four male suspects grabbed him, detained him and stole $400 from his hands as he took it from the ATM.

“The description of the four suspects the man gave was very vague,” Feltner said. “One male had a red shirt on with pajama bottoms, the second male had on blue jeans with a white shirt, the third male had a blue shirt and jeans, and that was all that he could remember.”

The man said the four suspects then fled the area in different directions – some toward Brigham Road and some toward La Quinta Inn and Suites – prompting officers to set up a large perimeter in the area.

Douglas Joseph Chiarletto, of Salt Lake City, Utah, booking photo posted May 4, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News
Douglas Joseph Chiarletto, of Salt Lake City, Utah, booking photo posted May 4, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Officers began searching trailers one by one at Premier RV Brokers Sales and Service located between Pilot Travel Center and La Quinta Inn and Suites.

“Officers noticed that all the trailers for sale, for the most part, their doors were open,” Feltner said. “We wanted to verify that the suspects had not hidden inside the trailers, so we had several officers going through all the trailers to verify no one was hiding inside the trailers.”

Law enforcement circulated all the businesses in the area and hiked around nearby rugged terrain area in search of the suspects.

About an hour into the ordeal, detectives who were interviewing the truck driver began finding holes in his story.

“His story was he was robbed in front of the ATM inside the business, and we had been in contact with the business, viewed the video and found that he did not have any altercations inside the store,” Feltner said. “He approached the ATM, withdrew an undisclosed amount of money – we don’t know – and walked out of the establishment.”

A man was arrested after making a false police report claiming he was robbed by four suspects at Pilot Travel Center located at 2841 S. 60 East, St. George, Utah, May 4, 2016 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News
A man was arrested after making a false police report claiming he was robbed by four suspects at Pilot Travel Center located at 2841 S. 60 East, St. George, Utah, May 4, 2016 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

Detectives also talked with several other truck drivers who appeared to have been in the area for awhile, and none of them reported seeing anything that resembled a robbery, Feltner said.

“We talked to him about that,” Feltner said, “and he told us that he had made it up because he had lost $400 in a scam here in the parking lot – something to do with a card game, and he chose wrong and lost $400.”

The man — identified as Douglas Joseph Chiarletto, of Salt Lake City — was arrested on suspicion of 911 abuse by falsely reporting a crime along with writing a false statement. He was booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility and later released from custody on $1,360 bail.

“If we have a report of a strong arm robbery, we take it very seriously,” Feltner said.

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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Email: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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