Suspects arrested after burglarizing multiple vehicles, using stolen credit cards

Composite image shows St. George Police on Bluff Street in St. George, Utah, Jan. 25, 2018 | File photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Three out-of-state suspects are facing more than 30 felony charges after a battalion of police officers descended upon Walmart on Pioneer Road Thursday night.

St. George Police officers respond to Walmart on Pioneer Road after alleged stolen credit card is used at store, St. George, Utah, July 18, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The incident started shortly after 9 p.m. when officers responded to one of the parks in Little Valley on a possible theft call. An individual called 911 to report that their vehicle was broken into while parked and a wallet was stolen. The caller also reported that their bank card was used at the Walmart on Pioneer Road, St. George Police officer Tiffany Atkin said.

While en route to the park, the St. George Communications Center began receiving calls from a number of other victims reporting that their vehicles were broken into at the same park. Another caller also told dispatch their bank card was just used at Walmart on Pioneer Road.

Additional officers were dispatched to the store and were updated with information that a white Honda Pilot with two black males was seen in the parking lot of the Walmart. Officers arrived and began searching for the vehicle which was located minutes later, but sped off with officers in pursuit.

The Honda turned right heading toward the cul-de-sac near the store. Once they were blocked, both jumped out of the car and ran as officers began setting up a containment area, Atkin said.

One of the men was located and taken into custody by police while the second suspect is still at large.

All the while, two suspects were still inside of the store allegedly making purchases with the stolen credit cards. Both were apprehended by officers that were staged outside of Walmart.

Detectives responded to process the vehicle for evidence. Inside they found a significant amount of stolen property, as well as bank cards reported taken during the vehicle burglaries, Atkin said. There was also a problem locating any registration information for the Honda itself, so the ownership of the vehicle is also in question.

The three suspects apprehended by police were then transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility in the early morning hours on Friday.

L-R: Camre Cooper of Lauderhill, Fla.; Lashounte Taylor of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. and Kevin Miller of Austell, Ga., booking photos taken in Washington County, Utah, July 19, 2019 | Photos courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Camre Cooper of Lauderhill, Florida and Lashounte Taylor of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida each face 12 third-degree felonies which include one count of unlawful use of a credit card, one count of mail theft and 10 counts of acquiring a finance card without consent along with 10 misdemeanors, including five counts each of vehicle burglary and criminal mischief.

Kevin Miller of Austell, Georgia was booked into jail on one count of unlawful use of a credit card, one count of mail theft and 10 counts of acquiring a finance card without consent as well as four counts each of vehicle burglary and criminal mischief.

Atkin said the quick actions of the officers, and the information provided by the 911 callers, facilitated in the apprehension of the suspects as officers continue searching for the fourth individual believed to be involved in the crimes.

“We will send out any resource needed to stop criminals from victimizing our people – both residents and visitors alike,” Atkin added.

The public also needs to do their part to protect themselves as well, she said. Keeping cars locked and valuables stored in a safe place away from the vehicle will reduce the risk of becoming a victim.

“And, don’t think that hiding a wallet or purse under the seat will help. It doesn’t – criminals know just where to look for valuables,” she said.

St. George Police officers were assisted by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office that also responded to the area.

The investigation is ongoing and the fourth suspect remains at large.

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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