Santa Clara man faces 5 felony charges after alleged theft spree

Stock image | Photo by Chalabala/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — St. George Police Department arrested a Santa Clara man for allegedly breaking into and stealing items from multiple storage units on the afternoon of Sept. 2.

Lee Sydney A. Ward, 50, of Santa Clara, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Sept. 15, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, St. George News

According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, a St. George Police officer was called to Classic Commercial Storage after a report of multiple unit break-ins. The officer conducted an investigation and found that approximately $3,250 worth of items had been stolen.

Video footage of the incident was obtained, and the police were able to photograph two male suspects and the vehicle used. The rear license plate was covered with a piece of paper, but the truck had “distinct paint markings,” the statement said, and one of the windows was being held up by a clear piece of tape.

Officers were able to use this information to identify one of the suspects as 50-year-old Ward Sydney A. Lee but were unable to find him or bring him in for questioning until Sunday evening when two officers out on patrol spotted Lee’s car on Tabernacle Street. The officers followed Lee until they observed him failing to signal as he turned onto St. George Boulevard.

A traffic stop was initiated, and Officer Anthony Ott was able to positively identify Lee as the wanted suspect. Lee was arrested and told police he had been high on dope at the time of the thefts and could not remember what he took.

Lee is facing three third-degree felony counts of burglary of a nondwelling, a third-degree felony count of theft of $1500-$5000, and a class B misdemeanor count of criminal mischief under $500. Officers also found a 6-inch blade in Lee’s vehicle, which resulted in a third-degree felony charge of a category 1 restricted person in possession of a dangerous weapon.

According to the statement, Ott has asked for Lee’s continued detainment as the officer believes Lee constitutes a substantial danger to the community and asserts that Lee committed a felony while on probation or parole or while free on bail awaiting trial on a previous felony charge.

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

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