ST. GEORGE — A Cedar City man was scheduled to appear in 5th District Court Friday facing multiple charges after leading police on a pursuit from Hurricane to LaVerkin while driving an allegedly stolen Jeep.
Romeo Lopez, 26, of Cedar City, was arrested Thursday and charged with one count of second-degree felony theft by receiving stolen property, along with two third-degree felonies for failing to respond at the command of police and for unlawful acquisition of a financial card without consent. The defendant was also charged with five misdemeanors, including unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon, possession of another’s identifying documents, possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, as well as driving on a suspended license and an infraction for speeding.
The arrest stems from an incident that took place Thursday when an officer observed a silver Jeep traveling East on State Street in the area of 500 West in Hurricane around 6:15 a.m. The Jeep was going approximately 45 mph in a 30 mph posted speed zone, according to the probable cause statement filed in 5th District Court.
The officer got behind the Jeep near 100 East State Street. The vehicle sped up to 50 mph and the officer ran a license plate check through dispatch. The SUV slowed to 30 mph and then began to speed up again, a pattern that continued until the Jeep was traveling east into LaVerkin at 70 mph with the officer right behind.
The Jeep came to a stop minutes later near 100 South and the officer approached the SUV to speak to the driver, later identified as Lopez, who began yelling as the officer who directed him to put the vehicle in park.
When backup arrived, Lopez was ordered out of the vehicle and told the officer that “he should have kept going but it is too early for this,” the officer noted in the report.
During a search of the suspect, officers allegedly located a knife in the front pocket of his pants, along with a clear bag that contained a green leafy plant that appeared to be marijuana.
Lopez was detained while the officer ran a records check which revealed the suspect had 11 outstanding arrest warrants and a suspended Utah driver’s license.
The license plate check on the Jeep also revealed it was reported stolen out of Evanston Wyoming Oct. 7, and inside of the wallet was the registered owner’s Wyoming driver’s license and bank card. In the center console, officers allegedly located a white straw that looked to have a white powdery substance at the end, and on the backseat of the Jeep they found a box of 9 mm ammunition, the report said.
Officers then contacted the Evanston Police Department in Wyoming and learned the Jeep was stolen when the suspect found the vehicle idling and unoccupied.
Lopez was then transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility and declined to answer any questions. A criminal history check later revealed that Lopez was a convicted felon, and officers then provided copies of all 11 warrants to the defendant who was being booked into jail. He is currently being held in jail without bail.
One of the warrants involves an arrest in Salt Lake County where the defendant was charged with second-degree felony robbery and theft in the third-degree reported Oct. 3. Another warrant was issued for third-degree felony theft reported Aug. 29 also in Salt Lake County, one of multiple felony theft cases that remain outstanding with the courts.
Another warrant was issued after Lopez was arrested in a case involving a theft at Kohls Departement store where police say the suspect exited the store with $665 worth of merchandise without “making any attempt to pay for the items,” according to the statement provided to police in Salt Lake City.
Lopez also has outstanding warrants for aggravated armed robbery as well as a warrant issued Oct. 7 in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake County for aggravated assault and two felony counts for evading police.
The defendant remains in custody without bail.
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