ST. GEORGE – A five-finger-discount beer run escalated Saturday night when one of the alleged perpetrators in the theft ran from St. George Police and later assaulted two officers as they attempted to arrest him.
Shortly after 10:30 p.m. Saturday, St. George Police officers responded to a report of a retail theft at Albertsons grocery store, 745 N. Dixie Drive in St. George. Two men allegedly stole beer from the store and were then seen running north on Dixie Downs Road.
Responding officers caught up with one of the suspects and were able to detain him. The second man, Levi Billsie, continued fleeing from police.
“The second male fled on foot northbound, dropping the stolen beer that had been taken from Albertsons,” St. George Police Officer David McDaniel wrote in a probable cause statement supporting Billsie’s arrest.
McDaniel unsuccessfully searched for Billsie and then returned to the place where two other officers had detained the second suspect. As McDaniel pulled up, he saw a man walking who matched the description Albertsons employees had given officers of the second suspect. Another officer also saw the man, later identified as Billsie, and began approaching him while McDaniel got back into his patrol car and pulled into the roadway. The second officer yelled for Billsie to stop, but Billsie ran north on Dixie Downs Road, according to the statement.
“I activated my emergency lights and drove towards their location, at 1040 N. Dixie Downs,” McDaniel wrote in the statement. “As I got closer the male ran into the street in front of a moving vehicle, causing them to slam on their brakes. The male continued to run.”
McDaniel and another officer pursued Billsie, following him to a housing complex in the 1840 West area. Billsie began jumping a fence into the backyard of a residence.
“I stopped my siren and yelled ‘St. George Police! You are under arrest!’” McDaniel said in the statement. “He (Billsie) continued over the fence. I observed him run behind a shed in the backyard, then heard a loud crash as if he had fallen.”
McDaniel and the other officer obtained permission from a neighbor to get an elevated vantage point into the yard, where they saw Billsie hiding under a table. They then attempted to get permission from the homeowner to enter the yard, but no one answered the door.
“I returned to the fence and observed the male (Billsie) had not moved,” McDaniel said in the statement. “He was given commands to show us his hands and not move. He refused to show us his hands.”
The second officer entered the yard and attempted to handcuff Billsie. Billsie refused to answer the officer and kept yelling, “What took you so long?” according to the statement. Billsie resisted being handcuffed, so McDaniel broke a portion of the fence, entered the yard, handcuffed Billsie and made him stand up.
“He refused to provide his name and said over and over, ‘My name is John Doe, I plead the fifth,’” McDaniel wrote in the statement. “He would not say anything else besides ‘what took you so long’ and ‘I want 3 square meals a day.’”
McDaniel helped Billsie through the hole he had created in the fence and took Billsie to the patrol car. Billsie was then searched, and five allegedly stolen beers were found in his pockets along with a Nevada identification card showing him to be Levi Billsie.
Billsie continued telling officers that his name was John Doe; his breath smelled strongly of alcohol and his eyes were bloodshot and glassy, according to the statement.
McDaniel asked Billsie to get into the back seat of the patrol vehicle, but Billsie refused, telling the officers he would fight them first before consenting to enter the vehicle.
“Levi was asked several times and continued to refuse,” McDaniel said in the statement. “Officers attempted to put Levi in the backseat. He started fighting officers.”
Billsie head-butted one officer and kicked him in the shin, chest and sternum. McDaniel moved in to assist and Billsie then kicked McDaniel in the leg and chest. Billsie continued fighting until the officers had him secured in a seat belt.
“When the seatbelt went on he immediately stopped fighting,” McDaniel wrote in the statement. “Levi stated he just ‘had to get his aggression out because he had not been in a fight in a while.’ Levi was hobbled based on the amount of fighting he had done with officers.”
Billsie broke McDaniel’s wristwatch during the struggle, according to the statement. The watch was valued at $100.
Before leaving the scene, officers repaired the fence through which McDaniel had entered the yard.
Billsie was transported to the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility without further incident. He was booked on one count of failing to stop at an officer’s command, two counts of assaulting a police officer, and one count of retail theft, all class A misdemeanors; one class B misdemeanor each for failure to disclose identity, interfering with arrest, criminal mischief and trespassing; and one class C misdemeanor for intoxication.
The other man who was with Billsie at the time the alleged theft took place was released by police due to lack of evidence that he had been involved in the theft, St. George Police Capt. Mike Giles said.
At the time of this publication, Billsie remains in custody on $23,790 bail.
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