California woman arrested on warrants in case linked to car stolen from St. George rental business

Composite image with background image of St. George Police patrol vehicle and overlay image taken in St. George, Utah, March 17, 2021 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A California woman is back in jail on multiple warrants issued in Washington County involving three cases of identity fraud, theft, forgery and aggravated assault.

Ashley Clare DeWolfe, 30, of Anaheim, Calif., booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, March 19, 2021 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Ashley DeWolfe, 30, of Anaheim, California, was arrested shortly after 9:30 p.m. on Thursday by officers in St. George and was booked in Purgatory Correctional Facility on three active warrants for her arrest issued more than a year ago.

One warrant was issued in January 2020 on a case that involved a two-month fraud investigation that began with a call from a car rental business in St. George reporting that a vehicle rented 30 days prior that had not been returned to the facility and was believed to have been stolen, according to charging documents filed with 5th District Court.

The vehicle had been reserved under the name of a woman living in Las Vegas, according to the report, and the business also provided the email address the store was using to contact the lessor advising them to return the vehicle — efforts that were unsuccessful.

Officers then reached out to the woman in Las Vegas whose ID was being used in St. George, who reported she was a victim of identity theft after her photo ID had been stolen in Nevada.

Detectives served a search warrant on Google to obtain the subscriber information on the Gmail account, which is when they discovered there were ads on Craigslist with an audio recording as well as an email that included a photo of the owner of the account. They also located an email that included a scanned image of a temporary Nevada ID card issued to DeWolfe.

They also obtained additional booking photos of DeWolfe from an unrelated investigation that were matched with the surveillance footage taken at the bank. Officers also conducted a voice comparison between the jail phone calls and the recording the suspect placed on the Craigslist ad – all of which allegedly matched that of DeWolfe.

According to authorities, once the suspect was identified, a warrant was issued for her arrest the following month and she was charged with one count of second-degree felony theft by rental agreement as filed by the Washington County Attorney’s Office.

The unrelated case referred to an incident reported in October 2019 involving a report of stolen checks. A man called police stating that a check for $44.76 he had put in his outgoing mail the previous day had been taken. He went on to explain that three hours after putting the check in the mailbox, a worker in the neighborhood arrived on his doorstep and handed him the envelope that was ripped open and the check was missing.

The caller also told authorities that a few hours later, he received a call from his bank advising that an individual was attempting to cash a check with the same check number but for a different amount – $844. The caller was also advised that a woman presented the check and provided an ID belonging to a woman living in Las Vegas, Nevada. The bank refused to cash the check, the suspect left and the bank then called the customer.

Officers recovered the check and upon closer inspection, they found a faint fingerprint on the paper that was later determined to be insufficient for a comparison. Detectives also retrieved surveillance footage from the bank and discovered that the ID used in the attempt to cash the check belonged to the same woman in Las Vegas whose ID had been stolen and was being used in St. George.

This was one of several cases of mail theft and identity fraud reported in the area during that same period, the officer noted, and authorities had already identified a suspect in the previous cases as Ashley DeWolfe, based on ATM footage and the suspect’s distinctive tattoos.

When officers compared the bank footage of the woman attempting to cash the stolen check to the ATM footage collected in the other cases, they determined that the height, hair color, build and facial structure was consistent with DeWolfe who also had corresponding tattoos.

Stock photo. | Photo by
The Crimson Ribbon/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

The report also states the suspect had used the stolen identity to cash a forged check, which is a forgery since the payee and amount had been altered. A warrant was then issued for her arrest and she was later charged with third-degree felony identity theft and forgery, charges the suspect has yet to make an initial appearance on.

The third warrant was issued on an aggravated assault case, also filed in 2019, involving what was initially reported as a family fight. However,  911 continued receiving calls from witnesses who reported seeing a man being chased by a woman with a crowbar she was using to hit him as well as the back of a moving truck.

Officers arrived to find the window of the cab shattered and an injured man sitting in the driver’s seat who was covered in glass.

DeWolfe initially denied hitting the man or the window and she was arrested on Aug. 6, 2019, and charged with third-degree aggravated assault. After spending more than two months in jail, she was released during a sentencing hearing and placed on probation. Five months later, a warrant was issued for her arrest when she failed to report to her probation officer as ordered by the court.

The suspect remains in custody at the writing of this report.

This report is based on statements from court records, 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.

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