Homeowner calls 911 after finding homeless man standing in kitchen ‘eating their food’

Stock image from 2019| St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A suspect was arrested after a homeowner called 911 reporting they found a homeless man standing in their kitchen. They then discovered he had been staying in the basement of their home.

Shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday, officers were dispatched to North Main Street in Washington City on a vagrancy report involving what appeared to be a homeless man who was caught sleeping in a resident’s basement. 

When officers arrived, homeowners said the suspect had already left, but shortly after, police found him in the backyard of the residence.  

The officer noted in a probable cause statement that  he recognized the suspect as Paul Swindler, 33, from previous contacts with law enforcement. In this instance, Swindler refused to answer any questions asked by police.  

“Paul seemed to be ignoring everything I asked him,” the officer said.

Swindler was placed in handcuffs while officers requested emergency medical to respond to have him evaluated at the scene. 

Paul Robert Swindler, 33, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, May 12, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Meanwhile, the homeowner walked officers through the events that took place prior to the call to police. They said they awoke that morning to find the suspect standing in the kitchen “eating their food.” 

When the resident told the suspect to leave, Swindler asked if they had a pair of shoes for him. When told to leave a second time, the suspect proceeded into the backyard where officers found him later. 

The homeowner brought officers into the basement of the home, where they found a sleeping bag and pillows set up, in addition to evidence that the suspect was taking food from the homeowner’s kitchen and eating it in the basement. 

The homeowner also showed officers several boxes that appeared to have been gone through by the suspect, as if he was “trying to find something of value” the officer noted, and then gave police several bags left behind by the suspect, one of which allegedly contained a counterfeit $5 bill along with legitimate currency. 

Swindler was arrested and booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility facing one second-degree count of  burglary of a dwelling and third-degree forgery charges. He was also booked on an active misdemeanor warrant out of Washington City.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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