Man prompted by ‘the spirit’ steals LDS missionary gas card, buys gas for 6 strangers

St. George LDS Temple Visitor's Center, St. George, Utah, May 10, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A St. George man was arrested Saturday after he allegedly stole a Mormon missionary’s gas card and used it to fill the tanks of six random vehicles. The man reportedly told police that after being kicked out of the St. George Temple Visitors’ Center, he had received a prompting from “the spirit” to clean up around the building.

Richard C. Zeh, of St. George, Utah, booking photo posted May 7, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News
Richard C. Zeh, of St. George, Utah, booking photo posted May 7, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Officers responded to the Temple Visitors’ Center on a report of a stolen gas card belonging to missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to a probable cause statement filed by the St. George Police Department in support of the arrest.

A concerned citizen contacted one of the sister missionaries stating that a man wearing a multicolored coat and a pink hat was using a MasterCard with the name on the card listed as “Mission Expense Only,” the arresting officer wrote in a sworn statement.

The sister missionary checked her assigned vehicle and found that her card was missing.

The witness took a picture of the man and sent it to the missionary, who recognized the suspect as a man who had been in the Temple Visitors’ Center earlier in the day, the report stated. The missionary remembered that the man went by the name “Richard.”

When police officers viewed the photo of the suspect, they recognized the man from numerous previous interactions and identified him as 35-year-old Richard C. Zeh, the report stated.

Just after 8 p.m. Saturday, authorities located Zeh at his St. George residence. He was wearing the same coat and pink hat as the suspect in the photo, according to the statement.

After being read his Miranda rights, Zeh agreed to talk with officers about the incident.

“Richard stated he had gone to the Temple Visitors Center and been kicked out,” the officer stated. “He stated that as he was leaving, the Spirit told him to clean up stuff on the side of the road and, in the process, he got into a red passenger car and found a Mission gas card inside.”

Zeh told police he then took the card to three separate gas stations and purchased gas for several random vehicles, according to the statement. Officers were later advised of six separate transactions that went through on the card, totaling $180.

Zeh was arrested and transported to the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.

The Washington County Attorney’s Office filed an information in 5th District Court accusing Zeh of third-degree felony unlawful acquisition of a financial card, class A misdemeanor burglary of a vehicle and class B misdemeanor using a false finance card for goods.

Bail for Zeh’s release pending trial stands at $7,630. As this report is published, Zeh remains in police custody. He made his initial court appearance in 5th District Court Monday afternoon and is scheduled to make his next appearance May 16.

This was not Zeh’s first run in with St. George Police.

Zeh was arrested March 16 in St. George on burglary charges after a woman arrived at work to find an unknown man in her office who had allegedly spent the night, rearranged the furniture, written with marker on the ceilings and walls and tried to cool down a room to make ice cream by opening a refrigerator.

The man was later identified as Zeh. When asked to explain what happened, Zeh told police “he had been drawn to the location.”

“He stated he had written the statements on the walls. He stated he had also stacked the chairs on the tables,” according to a statement of probable cause. “When I asked him about the fridge and freezer being opened, he stated he had opened them to try and get the room colder. He stated he had attempted to make ice cream in a Gatorade container. He said when the container was too large to fit in the freezer, he opened both the doors to try and cool the room down. He stated he wanted to share the ice cream.”

Zeh was also arrested on March 14 for disorderly conduct and March 21 for making a false alarm. He entered a guilty plea on both charges, according to Utah Court documents.

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: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

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30 Comments

  • Jessica May 10, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    This man obviously suffers from mental illness. Putting him into the prison system is the exact opposite thing he needs. I would hope local authorities would be able to figure out a way to provide treatment to this individual rather than locking him up.

    • .... May 12, 2016 at 8:56 am

      Yeah that’s a good idea. .now if they could do the same thing for mean momma

  • Mean Momma May 10, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    Obviously this guy is mental…
    Missionaries, I know you probably believe you have protection against people doing you wrong, but remember that The Lord helps those who help themselves… Please lock your doors, ALWAYS!

    • .... May 11, 2016 at 4:53 am

      Obviously this guy is mental… duhhhhhhhhhhhh

      • Mean Momma May 11, 2016 at 9:28 am

        Still feeling hurt that I won’t eat with you ….? It’s okay, I don’t mind your idiotic replies …. They make me smile. I guess it’s just the stupid things in life… Or wait, was it the simple things? Stupid, simple, …. Same difference.

        • fun bag May 11, 2016 at 2:35 pm

          someone is raging… lol

          • .... May 12, 2016 at 8:50 am

            Yeah meanie mommie is having another ugly face day ….typical

        • .... May 12, 2016 at 9:00 am

          stupid or simple ? uh same thing duhhhhhh uhhh yup yup uhh yup yup yup duhhhhhh yup yup

          • Mean Momma May 12, 2016 at 5:46 pm

            Lol

  • fun bag May 10, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    lol

  • anybody home May 10, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    Well, at least the voices didn’t send the guy to Oregon to take over a wildlife refuge.

  • voice of reason May 10, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    If he gained a testimony of his actions, who are we to question what he did? Maybe the sister missionaries should have followed the promptings of the Spirit to keep their car doors locked.

  • John May 10, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Hopefully he gets mental health help instead of being treated solely as a criminal

  • SteveSGU May 10, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    Are we going to continue to let Mr. Zeh wreak havoc in our community? Why has he not been locked up and given help for his mental illness?

  • .... May 11, 2016 at 12:20 am

    Must of not been any auto accidents to report. Oh well slow news day I guess. but the RealMcCoy will be upset that someone committed an atrocitie against his Mormon Brethren

  • voice of reason May 11, 2016 at 6:36 am

    Some of the comments make me think you people need to read the bible again. this guy listens to the promptings of the spirit and he must be in need of serious mental health, but the millions of Mormons and other religious folks who follow the promptings of the same spirit don’t need mental health treatment? He didn’t use the gas card to benefit himself. He probably helped out some really needy folks, which was more than the sister missionaries were doing standing around the visitor center. Reminds me of that one time that guy, Jesus, spoke about hypocrites.

    • .... May 11, 2016 at 8:58 am

      By your comment it’s clear to see. I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK ..your the same blowhard I see on yahoo news and used to see on the spectrum web site. ….

    • digger May 11, 2016 at 9:09 am

      Nailed It Voice!

      • .... May 12, 2016 at 8:53 am

        Hiya diggly wiggly . Taking a break from watching T.V eh ?

  • ladybugavenger May 11, 2016 at 10:04 am

    The only spirit that would tell someone to steal is the devil.

  • DRT May 11, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Mental case? Perhaps. Or perhaps just looking for “three hots and a cot,” in a place where he doesn’t have to work for them, doesn’t have to think for himself, and can find all the “brotherly love” that he wants. . .

    • ladybugavenger May 12, 2016 at 10:13 pm

      It’s not his first arrest so maybe you’re right,

  • Jose May 11, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    It’s funny to me how many people are calling him crazy, meanwhile half of you pray to beings that don’t exist.

  • fun bag May 11, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    NEVER IN MY LIFE HAVE I SEEN “THE CHURCH” OFFER TO FILL SOMEONE’S GAS TANK IN AN ACT OF GENEROSITY. that “church” is all about the revenue and has $$$$$$ billions in reserves, and this guy is like robin hood. give the man a medal

  • fun bag May 11, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    expect this area to be totally draconian in the way they treat mentally ill also. guy doesn’t need to be a felon. he needs to be back on his lithium…

  • Eddieboy May 11, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    Hey, the man was “feeling the Spirit” who can question that?

  • .... May 12, 2016 at 10:34 am

    I can feel the spirit to with a bottle of booze and mushrooms

  • Rose June 14, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    As an LDS person who has experienced promptings of the Spirit for spiritual guidance, and “promptings of the spirit” stemming from mental illness, I can tell you that there is a definite difference, though it’s hard to see when in the throes of a psychotic episode. I don’t deny he was being prompted, but I certainly can question which spirit was prompting him. He is definitely in need of psychiatric treatment, and I pray that he gets the help he needs.

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