Suspect facing 21 charges for string of thefts in St. George, Washington City

ST. GEORGE — A local man is facing more than 20 charges following an investigation into multiple break-ins and thefts that ensued across two cities that ended in an arrest last week.

David Keith Knowles, 30, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Nov. 4, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

David Knowles, 30, was arrested and booked into jail facing multiple felony charges following an arrest that was preceded by two foot pursuits and extended interviews by authorities working multiple cases in both St. George and Washington City, according to probable cause statements filed in support of the arrest.

The incident that led to the arrest on Nov. 4 began when officers in St. George were contacted by the owner of a vehicle reportedly stolen who also provided police with the license plate number that was captured on surveillance footage as the theft took place.

The officer ran the plate which came back to a registered owner out of St. George. The vehicle was also one that was known to police as having been involved in a number of open cases still under investigation in Washington County.

Authorities responded to the residence listed for the suspect, later identified as Knowles, and were soon joined by officers from Washington City, since the suspect was wanted in connection with a number of crimes there.

The officer noticed a man jump the fence on the south side of the residence, and when he yelled for him to stop, the suspect continued fleeing and was next spotted running east on Main Street. Recognizing the man from previous interactions, the officer pursued the suspect on foot.

As the suspect ran onto the driveway of a residence, the officer closed in and drew his taser as he yelled for Knowles to stop, which is when the suspect complied and the chase was over.

As the officer was handcuffing the suspect, he noticed Knowles was wearing a black leather vest that matched the vest worn by one of the suspects shown in surveillance footage captured at a storage facility in Washington City where multiple burglaries had been reported, and also noticed that Knowles had the same build and haircut as the suspect on the footage as well.

When asked, the suspect told police he drove a red SUV and then confirmed it was a red GMC Acadia, which also matched the vehicle in the footage. When the suspect was shown still shots from the storage unit video, he confirmed that he was the man in the footage, police said. He went on to explain he tied a rope to the lock on one of the storage unit doors and secured it to his bumper “to fix the bumper” he said, but as he did so, the force bent the bracket to the door which made it impossible to enter the unit.

The footage also showed Knowles kicking the door of another storage unit that according to Knowles, he shared with another individual. However, when pressed by police, he could not recall the unit number he shared with the friend. He also told police that he damaged two of the units, but said he never entered any of them.

As the questioning continued relating to crimes reported both in Washington City and St. George, the suspect was cooperative and provided details that assisted in multiple investigations, Washington City Police Chief Jason Williams told St. George News.

St. George and Washington City Police respond to Main Street during arrest of David Knowles, Nov. 4, 2020 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

Knowles also told officers that during an earlier pursuit with police, one in which he avoided being captured, he said he knew officers were trying to stop him but he had narcotics on him at the time and did not want officers to find the drugs. He then cut through several yards, changed his clothes and discarded the motorcycle he had allegedly stolen to evade capture, and instead he “went into the hills and hid,” the officer noted.

The Washington City Police officer then transported Knowles to Purgatory Correctional Facility where he was booked into jail on multiple offenses.

Back in St. George, officers had several open cases they were investigating, including a stolen side-by-side valued at more than $25,000 that was reportedly taken from inside of a shop on Industrial Road.

According to the report, when the suspects arrived at the shop to take the all-terrain vehicle, they left a blue GMC behind, which was later found to have been stolen from a car dealership on St. George Boulevard the night before as evidenced by the damage to the ignition and the steering column that was torn apart. The suspect also attempted to steal a second vehicle, a red GMC that was parked behind the shop, by using a battery charger to start the vehicle – efforts that were unsuccessful.

Inside of the two trucks, officers found items reportedly missing from a number of vehicle burglaries reported throughout Washington County, including an iPad, clothing, keys, a checkbook and other valuables.

Earlier that same day, officers responded to the stolen side-by-side reportedly taken from the front of a residence that was spotted at a home known to police on South Main Street. Officers found the Honda at the residence and according to neighbors; Knowles was seen driving the ATV which he parked in the driveway. When asked, Knowles allegedly told witnesses the ATV cost $69,000.

When officers attempted to make contact with the suspect who was inside of the home, Knowles allegedly fled from the area and was captured a short time later on Main Street.

St. George and Washington City Police respond to Main Street during arrest of David Knowles, Nov. 4, 2020 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

Knowles allegedly admitted to being at the shop when the Honda was stolen, stating he thought he had permission to take the vehicle. He also said he arrived at the shop in the blue GMC later found by the shop owner, and told officers he was the one who attempted to get the red GMC started using the battery charger. He also admitted to taking property during the series of vehicle burglaries, as well as other items from inside of the shop.

During a search of Knowles’ residence, officers recovered a number of items reportedly stolen during the series of vehicles burglaries reported to police. Officers then submitted a number of charges to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review.

The cases from Washington City and St. George were ultimately combined and 21 charges were filed, including four second-degree felony charges that include theft, two counts of theft by receiving stolen property and possession of a controlled substance. Knowles also faces burglary, failing to stop an an officers command and possession of a controlled substance, each a third-degree felony, as well as 15 misdemeanors for vehicle burglary, theft, criminal mischief, possession of paraphernalia, fleeing and criminal trespassing.

Knowles posted bail Thursday and is scheduled for his initial appearance in 5th District Court on Jan. 8.

This report is based on information provided in probable cause statements and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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

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