2 arrested following foot pursuit by owner of pickup the pair was allegedly caught burglarizing

ST. GEORGE — Two suspects were arrested Saturday following a foot pursuit by the owner of a pickup truck the pair was seen breaking into. Officers would later learn the truck was one of several vehicle burglaries the men were allegedly involved in that day.

Griffin A. Johnson, 20, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, March 13, 2021 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

On Saturday, officers were dispatched to a parking lot in the 800 block of North Red Rock Road on a vehicle burglary involving two suspects who were being pursued on foot by the vehicle owner shortly after 7:30 p.m.

According to the probable cause statements filed in support of the arrests, while en route to the scene, officers learned a handgun was stolen out of the pickup truck, and the man chasing the pair was the 911 caller.

Within minutes of arriving, the two suspects, later identified as 20-year-old Griffin A. Johnson and 19-year-old Jackson Robert Rogers, were spotted and taken into custody by police. Officers interviewed the 911 caller, who said that not only was his handgun missing from the truck, but a $3,000 radio was taken as well.

During a search of Johnson prior to transport, officers located a handgun that matched the firearm reportedly stolen from the truck.

Both suspects were separated and interviewed by police, which is when Johnson allegedly told officers he was the one who opened the truck door and was shuffling through the vehicle, adding that when he found the handgun, he took it before stepping aside to allow Rogers to look through the vehicle.

The officer noted in the report that Rogers said he went into the truck and found the radio, which he grabbed just before the owner saw them and chased after them.

Jackson Robert Rogers, 19, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, March 13, 2021 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Both suspects allegedly admitted to breaking into several other vehicles earlier that same day, and they took officers to where the cars were located. In addition to the handgun found on Johnson, a knife, sunglasses and credit card were recovered by police during searches of the suspects before both men were transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility and booked into jail.

On Monday, each man was charged with one second-degree felony count of theft and two third-degree felonies, including theft and unlawful acquisition of a financial card. They each also face seven misdemeanors charges that include three counts of vehicle burglary, two counts of theft and two counts of criminal trespass for entering private property to commit the alleged crimes – one of which involved the pair climbing under a fence to access one of the burglarized vehicles.

Johnson had no prior criminal history that could be found during a review of court records. Rogers was arrested in July 2020 and later charged with assault on a police officer and two counts of assault.

During a sentencing hearing held in December 2020 the state agreed to accept a plea in abeyance, where all charges would be dismissed if Rogers successfully completed the terms of the arrangement, which include paying a $750 fine and not committing any new crimes for 24 months, an arrangement that was still active at the time of Saturday’s arrest.

Johnson remains in custody while Rogers was released after posting bond. Both are scheduled for an initial appearance in 5th District Court on Monday afternoon.

This report is based on statements from police or other responders 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, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!