Vehicle burglary leads to arrest of 3 suspects accused of forgery, theft during 5-day crime spree

Stock file photo, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Three individuals were booked into jail Thursday following an investigation into a vehicle burglary that allegedly yielded evidence of a five-day crime spree involving stolen checks and credit cards.

The investigation was initiated when a woman reported to police that her vehicle was broken into during the night while it was parked in the garage of a St. George residence June 1, according to the probable cause statements filed in support of the arrests.  

She reported that her purse and wallet were stolen and told officers she began noticing purchases being charged on bank cards taken during the incident. 

“She had three debit cards that were used fraudulently all over St. George,” the officer noted in the report. 

Detectives collected video surveillance retrieved from each of the locations where the cards were reportedly being used. 

Michael Hawkes, 39, of St. George, booking photo posted in Washington County, Utah, June 11, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The footage “clearly showed” Michael Hawkes, 39, entering and leaving each store as he made purchases totaling more than $1,300, the report states.

Officers were also notified that several days prior, checks began clearing the reporting party’s account. The woman told officers she received a call from the bank notifying her that a woman by the name of Misty Cuvelier, 42, was at a branch the previous day attempting to cash a check from her account, one that she closed shortly after the vehicle burglary was reported. The teller refused to cash the check in question.

After reviewing the transaction record from the bank, the woman discovered that several other checks had been fraudulently written to multiple local merchants that began to clear the bank June 5. All told, seven checks totaling more than $1,750 cleared the woman’s account.

On Wednesday, officers received information that Hawkes and Cuvelier were living at a residence on Archturus Drive, where they found Hawkes exiting the front door as soon as they arrived.

The suspect was stopped and detained by police, which is when Hawkes told them that his wife, Cuvelier, was inside of the home. Shortly thereafter he told officers he was having a medical episode and needed medical care, for which he was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center. The suspect was cleared by hospital staff before being transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility. According to the report, the detour to the hospital prevented officers from conducting an interview with the suspect.

Misty Cuvelier, 42, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, June 11, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

In the meantime, officers at the scene spoke to Cuvelier, who denied any knowledge relating to stolen checks or receiving any money, insisting that her wallet had been stolen a couple of weeks ago, which she said “she failed to report it to the police.”

Cuvelier “tried to say both her husband and his cousin would be the people responsible for those crimes” and later allegedly admitted to being with the other parties involved during the course of the incidents, but she said she had no knowledge of any illegal activity.

During a search conducted Wednesday night, officers found the checkbook that was allegedly stolen during the vehicle burglary.

A third man believed to be involved, 38-year-old Curtis Cuvelier, was also found at the residence. He was, according to police, seen in video surveillance at a number of locations where either the cards or checks were being used. Moreover, he was also listed as the recipient in a Facebook transaction that was allegedly paid for using one of the stolen cards.   

The suspect denied any knowledge of stolen checks or bank cards during an interview with officers, but he later allegedly admitted to driving his cousin, Misty Cuvelier, to each of the locations involved and then “tried to blame his cousin as being the person responsible for everything,” the report states. 

Later, he allegedly admitted to receiving the money sent through Facebook that was paid for using the stolen credit card, but said he had no idea a stolen card was involved. 

Curtis Cuvelier, 38, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, June 11, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Officers also noted that Curtis Cuvelier had an outstanding $7,500 warrant out of 5th District Court involving theft by deception and forgery charges, one of a number of cases involving the same type of offenses.

In the meantime, Hawkes was medically cleared by the hospital and was transported to jail, where corrections officers allegedly found a cartridge during a search as part of the booking process that contained a green liquid substance that appeared consistent with THC, which Hawkes openly admitted was “possibly” the substance discovered inside the cartridge. 

Hawkes was booked on multiple offenses, including three third-degree felony counts of possession of forgery/writing device, one for each of the three cards allegedly used to make purchases, and transporting contraband into the jail, also a third-degree felony. 

He also faces 10 misdemeanor counts, including one count of theft, eight counts of theft by deception, once for each location he was seen using the bank cards in, and one count of possession of a controlled substance. He was booked into jail on $31,120 bail. 

Misty Cuvelier was also booked into jail facing eight counts of forgery and one count of theft, each a third-degree felony. Bail was set at $45,000, but she was later released on her own recognizance. 

Curtis Cuvelier was transported to jail facing one count of theft, three counts of forgery and one count of theft by deception, each a third-degree felony, as well as the $7,500 warrant. He was booked on $32,500 bail.

The total loss to the victim exceeds $4,600.

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

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