ST. GEORGE — A St. George man was arrested Wednesday on a wide variety of charges, including being in possession of an elderly couple’s forged check. However, the situation went from bad to worse when the man’s girlfriend used one of the stolen checks to bail the man out of jail and the two allegedly attempted to defraud a bail bondsperson out of more than $63,000.
At approximately 11 a.m. Wednesday, officers patrolling near the Wendy’s restaurant located at 120 N. 1000 East encountered 21-year-old Randy David Rehnstrom, who was wanted by the Washington County Drug Task Force for suspicion of drug distribution, according to a probable cause statement filed by the St. George Police Department in support of the arrest.
During a narcotics distribution investigation that took place over the course of the last six months, according to court documents, the task force conducted a controlled buy of methamphetamine on two occasions in Washington County through the use of a confidential informant. The informant allegedly purchased meth from Rehnstrom.
Task force detectives requested that officers place Rehnstrom under arrest. Rehnstrom refused to comply with officers’ orders and physically resisted but was eventually placed in handcuffs, the arresting officer wrote in a sworn statement.
While searching Rehnstrom, officers located a blank check with the names of a couple in their mid- to late-70s listed on the check in Rehnstrom’s pocket, along with a Nevada driver’s license with another man’s name on it, the report stated. In another pocket, officers located suspected marijuana and a used hypodermic needle.
“Randy stated the needle was for his meth addiction,” the officer wrote in the statement.
During this time, officers were advised that the couple whose names were on the check had been the victim of a residential burglary two days prior, the report stated. The woman had reported that her purse was stolen during the burglary and that someone had attempted to use her credit card.
Officers found the woman’s driver’s license, three credit cards and social security card in Rehnstrom’s possession, according to the statement, along with several additional checks belonging to the woman.
“One of the checks was written out to Randy Rehnstrom in the amount of $750,” the officer stated.
In Rehnstrom’s backpack, officers located methamphetamine, marijuana, used syringes, multiple small baggies, a digital scale, pipes and a glass dripper bottle that contained a clear liquid, according to the statement.
“Randy admitted the liquid was ‘Molly’ a street name for MDMA,” the officer stated. “He explained that he had bagged up Smarties candy that he had yet to place the liquid on.”
Rehnstrom 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 Rehnstrom of four second-degree felony counts of burglary of a dwelling, drug distribution and drug possession with the intent to distribute; five third-degree felony counts of possession of another’s identifying documents, possession of a forgery and unlawful acquisition of a financial card; two class A misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance; and two class B misdemeanor counts of theft by receiving stolen property and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Later that day, a bail bondsperson contacted detectives to inform them that 20-year-old Sierra Lorine Wilbanks had possibly used a fraudulent check to bail Rehnstrom out of jail.
After bailing Rehnstrom out of jail pending trial for more than $63,000, the bail bondsperson had dropped Rehnstrom and Wilbanks off at Motel 6 in St. George and was to meet them at a later time to go to the bank and work out cashing the $1,750 check Wilbanks had provided. However, the couple didn’t show.
When police were shown the check Wilbanks had given the bail bondsperson, police were able to confirm the check was in fact stolen from the same couple in their 70s.
The bail bondsperson said Wilbanks had told her that the check was from her grandparents and that they had given her the money, the report stated. Wilbanks also provided tax return information to prove she would be getting the money to pay the bond fees for Rehnstrom’s release.
At 6:31 p.m. Thursday, the St. George Police Department posted on its Facebook page requesting the public’s help in locating Rehnstrom and Wilbanks.
At 10:10 p.m. Thursday, Rehnstrom responded to the Police Department’s request by posting the following message on his own Facebook page:
WTF is this sh– y’all talked to me yesterday when you charged me with this sh– and why is Sierras pic up there she wasn’t involved so stop bringing innocinnocent people in this so I’m here if y’all wanna talk call me 435 6– —-
On Friday afternoon, the Police Department thanked St. George citizens for their help in the case and stated: “Despite Randy’s ‘FB post offering to talk’ the two were located while trespassing on private property in an attempt to avoid officers.”
The couple was booked into the Purgatory Correctional Facility following their arrest for the alleged scheme to defraud the bail bondsperson of more than $63,000 to get Rehnstrom out of jail, the report stated.
Rehnstrom received an additional second-degree felony charge of communications fraud, while Wilbanks was charged with second-degree felony communications fraud along with a third-degree felony count of forgery.
According to Utah Court documents, the couple was arrested earlier this year after they were allegedly caught shoplifting at Kohl’s department store in Washington City on Jan. 15. After the two were apprehended for shoplifting, officers allegedly located heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, pipes, syringes and a digital scale in the couple’s possession.
As this report is published, the two remain in police custody, according to booking information.
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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