ST. GEORGE — A local couple was charged Monday with felony distribution of heroin, adding to a series of felony charges against the couple since their arrest more than a month ago.
A multimonth investigation by the Washington County Drug Task Force resulted in both Patricia Kerby and Justin Kerby, both 28, being charged.
According to the probable cause statements filed in support of the arrests, Patricia Kerby was charged with a first-degree felony charge due to having a similar drug conviction within the last 10 years, while Justin Kerby was charged with a second-degree felony with no enhancement, as police found no prior history of similar crimes.
Both suspects face other outstanding charges from prior cases as well, including a third-degree felony theft case that stems from an incident Dec. 9 when officers responded to investigate a report of a suspicious person at a coin store in St. George.
According to the report, the suspect, later identified as Patricia Kerby, was inside the store attempting to pawn several silver bars and coins that the store suspected were stolen.
As it turned out, an individual reported a vehicle burglary days before in which silver bars and coins were allegedly taken from the car. Photos of the items were provided to police, who circulated them to local pawn shops in the area.
When officers got to the store, they were able to confirm that the items presented for pawn matched those taken from the vehicle. When confronted by police, Patricia Kerby told officers that her ex-husband, Justin, had received the items from another individual she did not know.
According to police, Justin Kerby was located outside of the store and denied committing any vehicle burglary or knowing the items were stolen. He told officers he purchased the coins from an individual; however, he refused to name the person, nor would he expound on the circumstances surrounding the purchase.
Both were transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility by police on third-degree felony theft. Patricia Kerby was further charged with one count of transporting contraband into a secured facility after corrections staff allegedly found a glass pipe on the suspect during processing at the jail.
With the pair in custody, each was charged with additional felony retail theft stemming from an incident reported in March, when the asset protection manager of the Hurricane Walmart store told officer he was reviewing surveillance footage on a suspicious person report taken inside of the store and saw multiple incidents of alleged theft.
According to the report, the footage showed Patricia and Justin Kerby, along with a third unidentified person, entering the store on March 1. Once inside, the trio separated and then spent the next hour moving throughout the store, concealing merchandise inside of the cart and on their person as well as underneath clothing items or inside other items already in the cart.
“All three individuals acted together in a coordinated effort, obtaining merchandise from disparate areas of the store prior to meeting in a central location,” the officer noted in the statement.
The trio was seen allegedly hiding the merchandise before passing all registers and then exiting the store without paying.
Justin and Patricia Kerby were observed entering the store twice the following day, and the manager said each time they left with items that were never paid for and were seen getting into a silver SUV with Justin Kerby driving.
Officers also learned that Patricia Kerby had prior theft incidents and had been previously banned from all Walmart stores for life.
The suspects could not be located during the investigation, and the charges were submitted to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review at that point. Once the couple was arrested in December, they were booked on the charges involving the Walmart thefts since they were in already in custody.
Additionally, the felony drug distribution charges were added upon the completion of the task force investigation.
Both remain in jail on $5,250 bail and are scheduled to appear in 5th District Court Wednesday.
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