2 enter pleas in truck, snowmobile theft; 3rd defendant fails to show up

5th District Courthouse, St. George, Utah, date not specified | File photo, St. George News

ST. GEORGE —Two of the three defendants arrested in April for fleeing from police in a stolen truck hauling snowmobiles appeared in 5th District Court this week to plead guilty, while a $50,000 arrest warrant was issued for the third defendant who failed to appear.

L-R: Brian Knowlton, Sara Autumn Dickinson and Rodney Ian Watkins booking photos, Washington County, Utah, April 16, 2019 | Photos courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Sarah Dickinson, 28, appeared before 5th District Court Judge John J. Walton Monday to plead guilty to one second-degree felony charge of  receiving/transferring a stolen vehicle and third-degree felony theft, while three remaining counts of receiving/transferring a stolen vehicle were dismissed in accordance with the plea agreement.

Rodney Ian Watkins, 36, pleaded guilty to three second-degree felony charges of receiving/transferring a stolen vehicle while three charges, including two counts of receiving/transferring a stolen vehicle and a theft by receiving charge were dismissed.

Meanwhile, Brian Knowlton, 41, failed to appear for arraignment Thursday and a $50,000 warrant was issued for his arrest.

The incident leading to the charges began the afternoon of April 12 when a man called 911 to report that a snowmobile and utility trailer his family had reported stolen six weeks prior was observed in the Dixie Downs area of St. George being pulled behind a Dodge pickup truck.

Read more: Troopers arrest 3 people suspected of leading police on extensive pursuit in stolen truck

A Utah Highway Patrol trooper traveling south on state Route 18 spotted the truck with the three suspects inside and performed a traffic stop on the vehicle, which fled as the trooper approached.

A pursuit ensued and shortly thereafter the trailer being hauled behind the truck was found abandoned. Inside were three snowmobiles and a motorcycle, all of which had been reported stolen.

Three snowmobiles and a motorcycle, all reported stolen, were found inside a stolen utility trailer, Washington County, Utah, April 12, 2019 | Submitted photo, St. George News

A search for the suspects continued for hours with officers from multiple agencies, including a helicopter crew that conducted an aerial search.

Dickinson was located at 11 p.m. and arrested on warrants. He provided information on the two other suspects until additional charges were added when police determined she was allegedly involved in the crime.

During the investigation Knowlton told officers it was Watkins who took the truck after looking through several other cars parked at a housing complex in St. George. Both men were located and taken into custody days later.

Dickinson is scheduled to appear for sentencing July 25 while Watkins will be sentenced July 30 and pre-sentence reports were ordered in the two cases. Both defendants remain in custody as this report publishes and Knowlton is still at large.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

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