ST. GEORGE — An alleged robbery committed at knifepoint and gunpoint at a park in St. George led to the arrests of two men early Tuesday morning.
Jesse P. Bozek, 18, and Angel Isaiah Vazquez-Mendoza, 19, both of St. George, were identified by the St. George Police Department as the two men involved in an incident at the Slick Rock Park at 2395 E. Riverside Drive Monday.
Prior to 5 p.m., a man had arranged to meet with Bozek and Vazquez-Mendoza for what was described as “a normal and legitimate business transaction,” St. George Police officer Tiffany Atkin told St. George News Tuesday.
According to probable cause statements connected to the arrests, the victim in the incident was robbed by the two men near the bathroom at the park.
“(The victim) stated one (of the man) grabbed him from behind in a headlock and placed a gun to his head, and the other exited the bushes and held a knife to his stomach area,” according to the statements.
Bozek and Vazquez-Mendoza proceeded to take the victim’s jacket, wallet, watch, hat and other items, according to court documents.
Police arrived soon after and the victim identified the two men through different “photo line-ups.” Police also took note of shoe prints in the area believed to belong to the suspects.
A warrant was issued for a residence where Bozek and Vazquez-Mendoza were staying, and because weapons were involved in the original incident, the St. George Police SWAT unit was brought in as a precaution, Atkin said.
While there was no initial response at the door, according to the probable cause statement, both men walked out of the residence and were taken into custody without incident.
Bozek told police “he was robbed of his money in the past, so he ‘basically did the same thing’” in this instance, according to the statement. He also identified Slick Rock Park as the location of the incident. His shoes also matched the shoe prints found at the scene, according to the statement.
Vazquez-Mendoza told police they took the victim’s property as “collateral,” yet claimed they would give it back as well, according to the probable cause statement. He initially denied using weapons during the incident, but later said he had the knife while Bozek had the gun. The weapons weren’t used until the victim began to resist giving the two men his property and was about to hit them.
The gun used in the incident was actually a fake, Vazquez-Mendoza said, according to the statement.
Court documents further state that a search of the home located the victim’s personal property, including suspected drugs and drug paraphernalia found in Bozek’s room.
Both men were arrested and booked into the Purgatory Correctional Facility. Both men face felony counts of aggravated robbery and obstruction of justice, as well as misdemeanor drug offenses.
“We are happy to report that this case was solved quickly and peacefully,” Atkin wrote in a press release that was posted to the St. George Police Facebook page Tuesday.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.