News short: Shoplifter scuffle, employee tackle leads to arrest

St. George police officers and Gold Cross paramedics respond to the incident, St. George, Utah, April 6, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — With the help of two Harmons Grocery Store employees, a civilian and St. George Police officers, Averill Begay, 35, was arrested after an attempt to steal an 18-pack of beer and a carton of coconut water early Sunday afternoon.

Around 11:15 a.m. after grabbing a coconut water and a box of beer from the coolers Begay is said to have bolted toward the front entrance without paying. An employee spotted the suspect at which point the employee, and another employee, chased after Begay to try to stop him, Sgt. Dave Williams said. Just outside the front sliding glass doors one of the employees got a hold of Begay and a short scuffle ensued. Begay pushed one of the employees backward, injuring him slightly, and succeeded in getting away.

The area where Avril Begay was detained, St. George, Utah, April 6, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard
The area where Avril Begay was detained, St. George, Utah, April 6, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard

A civilian, with his two children, had pulled into the parking lot to meet someone for lunch when he saw the struggle between the suspect and the two employees on the east side of Harmons. The man parked his SUV, got out and ran to help.

“He was able to tackle the suspect and detain him,” Williams said.

Shortly after the civilian tackled Begay, St. George Police arrived on scene, followed by a Gold Cross ambulance. Paramedics checked out the condition of all people involved and concluded no one needed to be transported to the hospital by ambulance.

Begay will be booked into Washington County’s Purgatory Correctional Facility after receiving medical clearance from Dixie Regional Medical Center. He was charged with retail theft, assault and intoxication, Williams said. Begay is also classified as an interdicted person, which means that the justice system ordered that he can’t possess, buy or have alcohol in his system.

“He had all the symptoms of intoxication,” Williams 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.

Ed. note: Spelling of first name corrected from Avril to Averill, based on Washington County Booking.

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  • My Evil Twin April 6, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Purgatory needs to give this clown “frequent flyer” status. What a loser.

  • JOSH DALTON April 8, 2014 at 9:33 am

    To bad Harmons has to fire the employees so that the perp can’t file a lawsuit against the store. Unless they were LP det. Not only that he perp can also file a civil suit for assult against the employees as well if they are not certified to make a productive detainment. Good work though! I really enjoy hearing stories like this.

    • My Evil Twin April 8, 2014 at 11:17 am

      Hey Josh, don’t know what you mean by LP det. Take a look at this:
      and also the rest of Utah Code Title 77 Chapter 7.

      Yes, of course the dirt bag can attempt to sue. You can sue anyone for anything. Doesn’t mean a whole lot though when you have the criminal code backing you up.

      • Josh Dalton April 8, 2014 at 1:22 pm

        Considered. The fact of the matter is MOST retail orginizations have policies against thier clerks making stops. That job is for a (LP det.) Loss Prevention Detective or Asset Protection.

  • Josh Dalton April 8, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Here are the the correct procedures to making a productive detainment. 1.You must see the perp approach the merchandise. 2.You have to see the subject select the merchandise. 4. You must see the subject conceal. 5. You must maintain continous survallience of the subject after they have concealed the merchandise. 5. You must see the subject pass the point of sale and exausted all intentions to buy the merchandise. 6. The subject must exit the store. Now Harmons might have the subject selecting the beer, how did they maintain constant survalliance? So the question still remains…were those associates traind to make a Productive Detainment?

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