ST. GEORGE — A Salt Lake City man accused of stealing a city-owned service truck in St. George earlier this year is in jail.
The vehicle theft was reported March 30 at the water treatment facility located at 1550 W. Treatment Plant Road where one of the plant’s service trucks was missing.
Police were provided surveillance footage that showed two suspects, a man and a woman, walking through an opening in the outside gate while running an extension cord and carrying a grinder, which the man allegedly used minutes later to cut the chain securing the fence.
Both were then seen getting into one of the service trucks before driving off the property, with the woman driving.
The following day, the St. George Police Department ran a media blitz asking for the public’s help in finding those responsible for the theft, along with surveillance shots showing the people allegedly involved.
Police began receiving tips identifying the two suspects as Moses Smith and Maria Eason, who were also suspects in the theft of a black GMC Yukon that they allegedly borrowed to go to Mesquite, Nevada, but never returned.
The identity of the suspects was confirmed through social media and other searches, as well as driver’s license photos that matched photos taken from the treatment plant footage.
A number of reports were received by police placing the service truck northbound on Interstate 15, pulling out of the parking lot of Home Depot in Cedar City, as well as other locations within Washington and Iron counties.
The other stolen vehicle was equipped with OnStar, allowing police to locate it abandoned in the parking lot of a hotel. The vehicle was impounded, and the SUV’s owner was notified.
On April 3, both suspects were charged with second-degree felony theft and two misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief. Warrants were issued for their arrest, and Eason was apprehended April 19. She pleaded guilty to one count of theft in May and was later sentenced to serve 70 days, with 70 days credit for time served, and placed on 36-months probation.
Smith’s warrant remained outstanding until Aug. 5, when he was arrested and booked into jail in Salt Lake County. He was transported to Washington County and appeared in 5th District Court Aug. 23, with bail set at $10,000.
Smith posted bond Sept. 3 and then failed to appear for a felony roll-call hearing two weeks later, after which a $15,000 warrant was issued for his arrest.
Two weeks later, more than 280 miles north of St. George, Santaquin Police officers stopped a vehicle heading south on Interstate 15 after they observed the car weaving in and out of its travel lane, according to charging documents filed with the court.
While speaking with the driver, the officer noticed that the passenger, later identified as Smith, appeared to be “on the verge of passing out” and exhibiting signs of intoxication. With the help of other officers, Smith was pulled from the vehicle. After he was removed, police allegedly found what appeared to be a crack pipe on the front seat.
A K-9 unit was called in and indicated to the presence of drugs, at which point officers searched the vehicle and allegedly found what appeared to be heroin, drug paraphernalia and a semi-automatic, high-caliber rifle.
Smith was arrested and booked into jail on second-degree felony possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, along with misdemeanor drug and paraphernalia offenses.
Smith remained in jail in Utah County until Thursday after posting bond on the charges there. Washington County Sheriff’s Lt. Dave Crouse said he was likely transported from jail to Washington County and was then booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility where he remains on $15,000 bail.
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