ST. GEORGE — A St. George man was arrested Sunday morning after he allegedly entered an occupied vehicle parked in a St. George Wal-Mart parking lot and attempted to kidnap the person inside.
Prior to the attempted kidnapping incident, a store employee reportedly thought the man was trying to rob the store when he allegedly put on a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mask and tried to enter the store through a locked door.
At approximately 11:49 p.m. Saturday, officers responded to the Bloomington Wal-Mart located at 2610 S. Pioneer Road on a report of a suspicious person, according to a probable cause statement filed by the St. George Police Department in support of the arrest.
A female customer reported that a man – described as being in his 30s, thin with blond hair, wearing no shoes and “really dirty” – had climbed into her vehicle while she was parked in the store’s parking lot, the arresting officer wrote in a sworn statement.
The woman told police that when she first pulled into a parking stall on the south side of the parking lot, she saw the man pacing around and that “he seemed a little out of it,” according to the statement.
As she was sitting in her vehicle reviewing her shopping list on her cellphone, the man allegedly walked up to her passenger window and began staring at her, the report stated. When she looked up at him, he ran away.
However, when she looked back down at her cellphone, the man – later identified as 28-year-old Jace Michael Farr – opened her passenger door and “grabbed onto her right arm tightly” with a “crazy look in his eyes” and facial expression that never changed, according to the statement.
“The female victim stated the male began trying to pull her out of the vehicle,” the arresting officer stated. “The female stated the male did not make any demands, did not ask her to exit the vehicle, and stated he did not say anything to her.”
As she “screamed at the top of her lungs” and tried pushing and hitting the man, he allegedly climbed completely into her vehicle, grabbed her with both hands and continued trying to pull her out of her vehicle, according to the report.
“The female victim stated she did not feel like Jace (Farr) was trying to take her vehicle or any property, however she stated she felt like he was trying to take her,” the officer stated.
The female customer drove her vehicle in reverse and began backing out of the stall while continuing to push and hit Farr, who “eventually” fell out of the vehicle, according to the statement, and the woman was able to drive away and call police.
When an officer arrived on scene, he was directed by another citizen to a man whom the citizen said “seemed off” and “appeared out of it,” according to the report. The man was sitting on the curb of the south side of the store. As the officer began to approach, he was stopped by a Wal-Mart associate who pointed at the man and also said he had been acting “very strangely.”
“She stated at one point he had approached the north doors of the store, which are locked at night, holding his hands underneath his shirt,” the officer wrote in the statement. “She stated he pulled out a brown bag and removed a ninja turtle mask and put it on. He then attempted to enter the doors three different times but they would not open.”
The employee told the officer that she was alarmed by the man’s behavior and thought he may have been trying to rob the store, according to the statement. As the officer was speaking with the employee, he kept an eye on the man, who then stood up from the curb and began to walk away.
When the officer told him to stop, the man began to run. The officer chased the man behind the back of the store, repeatedly telling him to stop, the report stated. The officer stopped pursuing the man because the area was not well lit, and he could not maintain visibility of him.
The man eventually stopped and began walking toward the officer with his hands raised, yelling, “Leave me alone, don’t ask me questions, and I have a right to silence,” according to the report. The officer told him to get on the ground, but the man refused and continued to stand with his arms raised, screaming and yelling.
When other officers arrived, the man was taken into custody without further incident, according to the statement. The man, whom officers were able to identify as Farr based on previous dealings with him, was taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George for medical clearance.
“Jace’s (Farr) behavior seemed erratic as he was calm for one moment then screaming and yelling the next,” the officer stated. “Jace (Farr) also would speak to himself and state things that did not make sense or sounded like random mumblings.”
Farr was transported and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
The Washington County Attorney’s Office filed an information in 5th District Court accusing Farr of third-degree felony attempted kidnapping, two class A misdemeanor counts of burglary of a vehicle and failure to stop at the command of law enforcement, a class B misdemeanor count of interference with an arresting officer and a class C misdemeanor for intoxication.
According to Utah Court documents, Farr has a lengthy criminal record involving drug- and alcohol-related offenses.
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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