ST. GEORGE — A St. George man was arrested Saturday after he allegedly stole a Mormon missionary’s gas card and used it to fill the tanks of six random vehicles. The man reportedly told police that after being kicked out of the St. George Temple Visitors’ Center, he had received a prompting from “the spirit” to clean up around the building.
Officers responded to the Temple Visitors’ Center on a report of a stolen gas card belonging to missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to a probable cause statement filed by the St. George Police Department in support of the arrest.
A concerned citizen contacted one of the sister missionaries stating that a man wearing a multicolored coat and a pink hat was using a MasterCard with the name on the card listed as “Mission Expense Only,” the arresting officer wrote in a sworn statement.
The sister missionary checked her assigned vehicle and found that her card was missing.
The witness took a picture of the man and sent it to the missionary, who recognized the suspect as a man who had been in the Temple Visitors’ Center earlier in the day, the report stated. The missionary remembered that the man went by the name “Richard.”
When police officers viewed the photo of the suspect, they recognized the man from numerous previous interactions and identified him as 35-year-old Richard C. Zeh, the report stated.
Just after 8 p.m. Saturday, authorities located Zeh at his St. George residence. He was wearing the same coat and pink hat as the suspect in the photo, according to the statement.
After being read his Miranda rights, Zeh agreed to talk with officers about the incident.
“Richard stated he had gone to the Temple Visitors Center and been kicked out,” the officer stated. “He stated that as he was leaving, the Spirit told him to clean up stuff on the side of the road and, in the process, he got into a red passenger car and found a Mission gas card inside.”
Zeh told police he then took the card to three separate gas stations and purchased gas for several random vehicles, according to the statement. Officers were later advised of six separate transactions that went through on the card, totaling $180.
Zeh was arrested and transported to the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
The Washington County Attorney’s Office filed an information in 5th District Court accusing Zeh of third-degree felony unlawful acquisition of a financial card, class A misdemeanor burglary of a vehicle and class B misdemeanor using a false finance card for goods.
Bail for Zeh’s release pending trial stands at $7,630. As this report is published, Zeh remains in police custody. He made his initial court appearance in 5th District Court Monday afternoon and is scheduled to make his next appearance May 16.
This was not Zeh’s first run in with St. George Police.
Zeh was arrested March 16 in St. George on burglary charges after a woman arrived at work to find an unknown man in her office who had allegedly spent the night, rearranged the furniture, written with marker on the ceilings and walls and tried to cool down a room to make ice cream by opening a refrigerator.
The man was later identified as Zeh. When asked to explain what happened, Zeh told police “he had been drawn to the location.”
“He stated he had written the statements on the walls. He stated he had also stacked the chairs on the tables,” according to a statement of probable cause. “When I asked him about the fridge and freezer being opened, he stated he had opened them to try and get the room colder. He stated he had attempted to make ice cream in a Gatorade container. He said when the container was too large to fit in the freezer, he opened both the doors to try and cool the room down. He stated he wanted to share the ice cream.”
Zeh was also arrested on March 14 for disorderly conduct and March 21 for making a false alarm. He entered a guilty plea on both charges, according to Utah Court documents.
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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