Employee arrested after video shows them taking money from safe

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A local woman was arrested and later charged with theft after restaurant surveillance footage revealed an employee matching her description taking money from the restaurant’s safe.

Misti B. Wilgar, 44, of St. George, booking photo posted in Washington County, Utah, May 8, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Misti Wilgar, 54, of St. George appeared in 5th District Court Tuesday on three felony warrants issued after the defendant was arrested April 30 and charged with misdemeanor theft and possession of paraphernalia.

The April 30 incident stems from a theft reported at a local restaurant on St. George Blvd. where the business owner showed police video footage of one of his employees, later identified by authorities as Wilgar, allegedly taking money out of a safe located in the office.

The thefts took place on two separate occasions between April 22-25, with a combined loss of $175, according to the probable cause statement filed in support of Wilgar’s arrest.

The footage shows a woman matching the defendant’s description entering the business on her scheduled day off where she was seen walking behind the counter and continued straight to the office.

There, a second camera captured the employee entering the safe and grabbing money before “stuffing it in her shirt,” the statement said.

The owner told officers he knew the defendant had a history of theft, and the losses were possibly greater, as he had reason to believe she had stolen from him in the past. The defendant was located by police and arrested later that same day.

The court then issued three warrants after the defendant violated the terms of her probation in connection with three ongoing cases starting in 2016.

The first warrant was issued on a 2016 case where the defendant pleaded guilty to third-degree felony theft and was placed on probation. That incident involved a reported theft where a wallet was taken from a shelf located behind the customer service counter of Albertsons on Dixie Drive. A store employee noticed it was missing and called police.

According to court records, surveillance footage revealed Wilgar and another person walking near the counter just prior to that incident. Seconds later, the defendant allegedly reached over and grabbed the wallet, hiding it under a sale flyer. Police located the defendant and she was subsequently placed under arrest.

The second warrant was issued in connection with a 2017 case where Wilgar was convicted on two third-degree felonies. Charges of theft and acquisition of a finance card without consent were applied after investigators learned Wilgar allegedly stole a laptop computer and credit cards from a vehicle parked at a resort in Ivins in February, 2017.

That same month the defendant was charged with felony theft and vehicle burglary, a class A misdemeanor, after she was arrested for allegedly breaking into another vehicle parked at a spa in Ivins that was witnessed by an employee. The defendant later pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor burglary charge while the felony was dismissed. Wilgar was placed on probation for all three convictions.

The record shows that in August, 2018, a probation officer learned the defendant had gone to Mesquite, Nevada without informing the probation department as required by the court.

Upon further investigation, the probation officer located Wilgar who was incarcerated at the Mesquite Adult Detention Center in Nevada. The defendant was serving a 30-day sentence for petty larceny and trespassing after she was arrested which was a violation of her probation in Utah, according to the probation report filed with the court.

Officers investigating the restaurant theft also found that Wilgar had an extensive criminal history and numerous cases dating back to 2008.

In a 2011 case, for instance, the defendant pleaded guilty to third-degree felony theft after she was arrested and later admitted to taking a friend’s wedding ring.

According to the report, when the officer asked the defendant what happened, she told him “she was just tired of being broke so she took the ring and pawned it.”

Two years later, Wilgar was arrested in 2013 after allegedly pawning items stolen during a burglary. She later pleaded guilty after the third-degree felony theft charge was reduced to a misdemeanor.

The defendant is scheduled to appear in 5th District Court May 14 at 8:30 a.m. and remains in custody on $30,000 bail.

This report is based on statements from police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

 

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