ST. GEORGE — Authorities apprehended a robbery suspect who was reportedly in possession of 61 stolen lottery tickets and bundles of stolen cash during a routine traffic stop on Interstate 15 in Washington County.
After observing a car with dark window tint traveling north on I-15, a trooper initiated a traffic stop near milepost 2 at approximately 11:55 a.m. Thursday, according to a probable cause statement filed by Utah Highway Patrol in support of the arrest.
Before speaking with the driver – identified as Antonio Urtiaga, 19, of Barstow, California – and his passenger, a 19-year-old female, the trooper noticed empty beer cans in the back of the car, the report states.
During the traffic stop, the trooper became suspicious of criminal activity and radioed for backup, according to the statement. When backup arrived, a UHP K-9 was deployed around the vehicle and gave a positive indication to the presence of contraband, giving authorities probable cause to search the vehicle.
Urtiaga allegedly told the trooper that he had robbed a gas station in Barstow, California, and that he would find cash, lottery tickets, cigarettes and alcohol, the report states.
As authorities searched the trunk of the vehicle, they allegedly located a bag containing bundles of cash, 61 lottery tickets, 28 cartons of cigarettes and seven cans of beer, according to the statement.
Utah Highway Patrol contacted the Barstow Police Department about the discovery and learned $4,287.70 in cash had been reported stolen from the gas station and that the 61 stolen lottery tickets had a value of $1,290, the trooper wrote in the statement.
“I mirandized Urtiaga and he stated that he works in the gas station and stole all the contraband before locking the store and fleeing the area,” the trooper stated.
Urtiaga 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 Urtiaga of second-degree felony theft by receiving stolen property; class B misdemeanor unlawful for minor to possess alcohol; and two infractions for obstructing visibility of windshield and failure to register vehicle.
Urtiaga has been released from police custody and is scheduled to appear before Judge Jeffrey Wilcox in 5th District Court on March 5.
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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