Man charged with stealing cars from Las Vegas employer, selling them here

St. George Police Department vehicle, St. George, Utah, undated | File photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

ST. GEORGE A Washington City man is in jail on a dozen felony charges after he allegedly transported vehicles from Las Vegas and sold them to car dealerships in St. George, even though he never owned the vehicles – his employer did.

Jacob Brann booking photo, Washington County, Utah, Feb. 7, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Jacob Brann, 42, was arrested and booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility Thursday morning and charged with 12 second-degree felony counts of theft by receiving stolen property.

St. George Police officers were dispatched Wednesday to a business on a possession of a stolen vehicle report and told that Brann was transporting vehicles owned by his employer, an auto group based in Las Vegas, and selling them without the company’s knowledge or authorization.

During his employment with the auto group, Brann was tasked with handling the sale of used vehicles to a wholesale business based in the Las Vegas area, according to the probable cause statement filed in support of his arrest.

Brann’s employer began an internal investigation after realizing there were numerous cars missing and unaccounted for. It was soon discovered he had altered records to hide the fact he was taking the vehicles and selling them.

The auto group never received any proceeds from the sales and learned that some of the vehicles “have been gone for several months.”

“Brann brought the cars here to local dealerships where he sold them and kept the money,” St. George Police officer Tiffany Atkin said.

The sale of the vehicles went against the auto group’s policy and it “never gave Brann permission to sell cars to businesses other than their local distributor,” according to the statement.

The auto group was able to track at least 12 of the missing vehicles to St. George and were told by one of the local dealerships that during the sale they were allegedly told by the defendant to make the check payable to a “business that is not” the auto group in Las Vegas, the legal owners of the cars.

The auto group then contacted the Henderson Police Department in Nevada and reported the vehicles stolen. Shortly thereafter, Brann attempted to “recover the stolen vehicles from the local dealerships.”

When St. George Police officers interviewed him Brann claimed he was working on behalf of the auto group and was trying to recover the cars from the local dealerships because they never paid for them, police say.

He denied any wrongdoing, claiming it was “standard operating procedure,” according to the statement.

Atkin said the investigation is ongoing.

Brann is scheduled for an initial appearance Feb. 15 in 5th District Court and remains in custody on $50,000 bail 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, 2019, all rights reserved.

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