ST. GEORGE – More than two years after a vehicle had been reported stolen, police finally caught a break last week when the stolen truck turned up for sale on Craigslist, leading to the arrest of a 38-year-old Hurricane man.
In June 2013, officers responded to a wrecking yard in Hurricane on several theft reports, according to a probable cause statement filed by the Hurricane City Police Department in support of the arrest. Several items had reportedly been stolen from vehicles that had been broken into in the yard.
One of the reported burglarized vehicles, a 1997 Ford truck which was rendered inoperable during a crash and had heavy damage to the passenger side, had several items taken from it, including the driver’s seat.
Approximately five days later, officers were called back to the wrecking yard on a report that the same burglarized Ford truck had been stolen in its entirety.
The truck was removed from the yard with a forklift that had been stolen from a mechanic shop across the street, according to the probable cause statement, and then loaded onto a transport vehicle.
On Tuesday, more than two years after the truck was reported stolen, officers caught that break in the case when they learned the Ford truck had reportedly been listed for sale on Craigslist.
When police spoke with the person who had listed the truck, he told them he had purchased two vehicles – an operable 1996 Ford and the inoperable 1997 Ford – from Jeremy Keith Stover in December 2014.
The individual had documentation of the sale, as well as documentation of payments he had been making to Stover for the vehicles, according to the statement. The individual told police the stolen 1997 Ford truck was still on the trailer belonging to Stover.
On Thursday, police met with Stover about the recovered stolen vehicle.
“Jeremy advised he had obtained it from a person in a cash deal on Craigslist,” the arresting officer wrote in the statement. “He then advised he had met the subject at the wrecking yard where the theft occurred, and the subject used the forklift to load the truck.”
“He also said the subject loaded the vehicle using the wrecking yard’s forklift,” the officer wrote. “Evidence showed the forklift had been taken from the mechanic shop across the road.”
Stover told police when he got the truck home, he replaced the driver’s seat in his operable vehicle with the one from the stolen vehicle, the statement said. However, police knew the seat had been reported as stolen from the truck five days prior to the truck being stolen.
Stover was unable to provide information for the subject from whom he said he purchased the truck, the statement said.
Stover was arrested and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility. He was charged with third-degree felony theft, and class A misdemeanor burglary of a vehicle.
He was released from custody on $6,940 bail and is scheduled to make his initial court appearance Thursday.
According to Utah court records, Stover has an extensive criminal history in Utah.
Stover was convicted of class B misdemeanor retail theft in December 1995, and class A misdemeanor theft by deception in April 1998. He was then arrested in August 2000 for class B misdemeanor theft and class C misdemeanor criminal trespass, but both charges were later dismissed.
In June 2004, Stover was convicted of forgery. However, the third-degree felony charge was amended to a class A misdemeanor. Stover was again arrested in August that same year on two second-degree felony charges of theft and burglary of a dwelling, but those charges were dismissed.
Stover was then convicted of possession of stolen property in February 2005, with the second-degree felony charge reduced to a class A misdemeanor.
In 2006, Stover was convicted of class A misdemeanor theft in February and class B misdemeanor criminal mischief in December. In June of that same year, Stover was arrested and convicted on two charges of theft. However, those third-degree felony charges were both reduced to class A misdemeanors.
The following year, April 2007, Stover was convicted of class B misdemeanor criminal mischief and class C misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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