Man sentenced in theft spree at St. George Target

St. George Police officers at Target in St. George, Utah | File photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A man convicted for taking part in a theft spree at a retail store in St. George was sentenced Thursday.

Josh Pirnie, 31, of Philadelphia, appeared in 5th District Court for sentencing. At the time of his arrest in May, he was charged with second-degree felony theft by receiving, third-degree felony retail theft and misdemeanor failing to stop at an officer’s command. On June 27, he pleaded guilty to both felony charges, and the state agreed to drop the misdemeanor charge as part of a plea deal.

Pirnie has been in custody since his May 28 arrest. At the time, officers responded to a retail theft involving two individuals reportedly seen taking items from the Target store on River Road. A witness observed Pirnie leaving the store with a cart full of items without paying and then driving away in a white pickup truck.

When officers responded, Pirnie attempted to flee but was stopped and arrested. A records check on the pickup showed it was a rental car out of Las Vegas that was a month overdue; the rental agency was in the process of reporting the truck stolen.

During sentencing, a prison term of up to five years for each of the felony theft charges was suspended. Instead, the defendant was ordered to complete 50 hours of community service in lieu of a fine and ordered to pay $8,300 in restitution. He was placed on 36-months probation and sentenced to 72 days in jail. He received credit for time served since his arrest and was ordered to be released from custody during the hearing. Pirnie was also ordered to complete substance abuse evaluation and treatment.

Joshua Edward Pirnie, 31, of Philadelphia, Pa., bookings photo posted in Washington County, Utah, May 28, 2019 | File photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Before rendering his decision, 5th District Court Judge John J. Walton said he reviewed the pre-sentence report and found it “concerning.” He then addressed Pirnie directly, giving him a stern warning.

“If you come before this court again it will be a much more serious matter,” Walton said.

Referring to the defendant’s actions during the crime, Walton said he would “consider it a mistake, rather than a pattern” after reviewing Pirnie’s background check. The records check came back clean, a point the judge said he considered when rendering his sentencing decision.

Pirnie’s attorney, Michael Lastowski, said his client planned to return to Las Vegas upon release and would be applying for an interstate compact agreement, which would allow his sentencing and supervision requirements to be transferred to Nevada.

Pirnie’s co-defendant in the May 28 arrest, 27-year-old Jade Culwick, of Las Vegas, appeared in 5th District court last week for sentencing on one charge of third-degree felony retail theft, as well as three misdemeanors, including providing false information with intent to be another actual person and two counts of possession of a controlled substance.

A third accomplice, Darlien D. Munoz, of Las Vegas, who police initially believed had nothing to do with the alleged crimes, was later charged with 13 third-degree felony offenses, including two counts of obtaining encoded card information, 10 counts of possessing finance card information to use and one count of possession of multiple identification documents. Munoz is scheduled to appear in 5th District Court Sept. 18 for a resolution hearing.

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

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