ST. GEORGE — A local man was arrested Friday in Mesquite for multiple felony offenses after a police officer noticed him sleeping in a vehicle.
Following arrest, it was determined that the suspect was also wanted in St. George for multiple felony charges after he and two accomplices allegedly forced a man at gunpoint into a vehicle where they took the man to various banks in the area to withdraw money.
The Nevada arrest stems from an incident that began Friday morning when an officer in Mesquite noticed a suspicious vehicle parked in the parking lot of one of the area casinos.
According to a press release from Mesquite Police Sgt. Wyatt Oliver, as the officer approached the car, he observed drug paraphernalia lying outside of the vehicle near the drivers door and a man later identified as 26-year-old Jacob Hancock of St. George slumped over the steering wheel. The officer knocked on the window to wake the driver up, and as he did so the officer noticed additional items of drug paraphernalia and multiple knives in the vehicle within reach of the driver.
Hancock was awakened and placed under arrest for possession of drug paraphernalia initially, although the officer suspected he was possibly under the influence of an illegal substance as well.
During a search of Hancock, the officer located what appeared to be methamphetamine, heroin, drug paraphernalia and a loaded .22-caliber pistol, and a search of the vehicle allegedly yielded led more items, including a loaded 9 mm pistol with its serial number removed, a .22-caliber rifle, multiple pry bars and bolt cutters and a Nevada license plate that was take off of a vehicle in Las Vegas.
Hancock was charged in Mesquite with 10 felonies, including two counts of possession of methamphetamine, three counts of possession of heroin, one count of carrying a concealed firearm and one count of possession of a firearm with obliterated serial number.
The suspect was also charged with three counts of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person due to being under the influence of a controlled substance at the time. He also faces one gross misdemeanor count of burglary tools and two misdemeanors, including possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of stolen property.
Hancock was transported to the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas due to the felony charges.
Oliver told St. George News that investigators in Mesquite also learned that Hancock had recently been involved in an alleged crime committed in St. George that was still under investigation.
That investigation began Dec. 23 when detectives in St. George were dispatched to a motel on St. George Boulevard on a reported robbery, St. George Police Officer Tiffany Atkin told St. George News the day of the incident.
While interviewing witnesses at the scene, officers learned that three suspects, one of which police say was Hancock, entered the motel room armed with handguns, which they pointed at the guest and demanded money from him for “a debt” Hancock claimed the man owed.
Using a stun gun repeatedly during the incident, the man was allegedly forced into a vehicle and was driven to three banks in St. George where the man attempted to cash a check from his wallet and get cash out of the ATM using his debit card – attempts that failed – while the suspects continued shocking the man with the stun gun, court records indicate.
The three suspects returned to the motel and took about $1,500 worth of tools, clothing, electronics and other property from the man, as well as a Kel-Tec handgun and $100 that was transferred from the man’s account.
The suspects took the stolen items to their vehicle and were just about to take the man to another bank to attempt to cash the check when the individual fled into an open room and secured the door before calling police. The investigation continued up until Hancock’s eventually arrest in Nevada.
While in custody for the Mesquite arrest, Hancock allegedly admitted to being at the St. George motel but claimed the man owed him $250 for a paint sprayer and said he took the gun and property as “collateral for the money owed,” the officer noted in the report.
Hancock also denied that the Kel-Tec handgun recovered by officers in Mesquite was the gun taken from the man in the alleged motel robbery.
Following the interview, a search warrant was obtained for Hancock’s residence in St George, where officers recovered tool bags, electronics and a phone that matched the property allegedly taken from the man in the motel, the report said.
A second suspect, Drake Beckler, 29, of St. George, was arrested during the search of Hancock’s residence and was booked into jail on felony narcotics charges. Beckler was later identified as the second suspect allegedly involved in the motel incident after he admitted to being involved in the incident during an interview with police, saying that Hancock told him about the money the man owed him.
Police say that Hancock later admitted that the Kel-Tec was the same gun taken during the alleged robbery, explaining to officers that he altered the gun’s appearance by changing the slide and adding accessories to the firearm. He also admitted that the second firearm recovered in Mesquite during his arrest was the weapon used during the motel incident.
Hancock and Beckler each face multiple felony charges that were submitted to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review, including two first-degree felony counts, one for aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping, along with second-degree felony burglary of a dwelling. The suspects also face two third-degree felonies for aggravated assault and theft.
Hancock remains in custody in Clark County, Nevada. Bail on the Utah charges is $72,500. Beckler’s offenses were added while he was in custody in Washington County on the drug charges, and he remains in custody on $70,000 bail.
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