Suspect crashes through ceiling fleeing from police in St. George, faces dozen charges in 4 cases

Stock image | Photo by TheaDesign/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A suspect wanted on four separate cases was arrested during an incident Tuesday evening where he attempted to flee by crashing through a ceiling and nearly escaped – until officers caught him exiting the second residence he allegedly forced his way into.

Stock image of St. George Police patrol vehicle for illustrative purposes only taken in St. George, Utah, March 11, 2021 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

On Tuesday, officers responded to a residence on 540 North shortly after 9:15 p.m. after receiving information that an individual who was possibly wanted by authorities was spotted hiding in one of the units on the property.

Being familiar with the suspect, identified as 28-year-old Jon Vincent Paxman, from previous run-ins with police, officers responded and while en route they ran a records check on the suspect and found he had two active no-bail felony warrants, according to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest.

As officers approached the unit they could see the suspect inside. The suspect reportedly spotted the officers at the same time and quickly closed the blinds. The officer knocked and ordered the suspect outside, at which point there were sounds of someone running up the stairs inside the unit. When the door opened the individual denied that Paxman was inside, the report states, but then allowed officers to enter the residence where the suspect continued hiding from police.

Just as backup arrived, the officer could hear a loud noise as if someone was punching a wall, and suspected that Paxman was possibly attempting to punch a hole through the wall to force his way through the adjoining unit and run from police.

One officer checked on the tenant next door, while another officer remained stationed to watch for the suspect.

Next door, the resident told the officer they could hear a loud noise coming from upstairs, and just then the suspect crashed through the ceiling of the master bedroom.

“It appeared whoever fell did not completely fall through but was able to catch themselves before falling down onto her bed,” the officer noted.

Officers could hear someone moving in the attic area, and it sounded like they were moving west and working their way into the third unit, which prompted police to contain the entire building as additional officers were called in, the report states.

Meanwhile, officers were notified a man was leaving through the back door of a third unit, and they ran in that direction yelling commands for the suspect to stop. The suspect opened the gate and was taken into custody by police.

The officer then described the suspect’s condition by writing, “it should be noted that Jon did not have any shoes on – he was covered in fiberglass insulation, and he was profusely sweating due to being up in the attic.”

While speaking to police, the suspect reportedly admitted to forcing his way through each of the two apartments to avoid being arrested. He was then transported to the St. George Police Department to be interviewed further, which pertained to other incidents with which he was a suspect.

Trailer incident at Dixie Center

One incident was reported May 19 when the owners of a trailer they had parked at the Dixie Center St. George on South Convention Center Drive were packing their belongings when they noticed the lock on the trailer was damaged.

Fearing the trailer was possibly broken into, they began inventorying the items inside and realized there were several items missing, including some lights, suitcases, tools and other items they had brought along for their trip to the conference being held at the convention center, the report states.

After reporting the incident, the owners began scouring social media sites in search of the items and came across suitcases that matched the ones taken from their trailer, which the owners reported were unique. The owners also told officers the luggage was being sold by a man named Paxman.

It wasn’t until six days later after officers arrested Paxman that they were able to question him about this incident.

During the interview at the station, the suspect reportedly said he had just returned from Mesquite, but when he was shown the ad for the suitcases on social media that included his profile and a status of “sold,” he allegedly told officers the luggage was in fact already sold.

The report says he then told police that some other items from the trailer had also been sold, but that he still had most of the items and agreed to have a friend bring those items to the Police Department so they could be returned to the rightful owners.

Suspected forged check

Paxman was also interviewed on another incident that took place a week ago when officers were dispatched to a small grocery store on Bluff Street on a report of a man who was attempting to cash a suspected forged check, charging documents state.

Officers were then advised the suspect had left the store in a white Ford Expedition and that another man was reportedly “hanging off the hood” of the vehicle, the officer noted.

The suspect sped out of the parking lot onto Bluff Street with the man still clinging to the hood. The suspect then continued onto Donlee Drive as the man pleaded with the driver to stop and was afraid the suspect was going to kill him, the report says.

The SUV came to a stop, and the man jumped off before the Ford sped away.

Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 21, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Police say several witnesses in the parking lot gave similar accounts of the incident. Further investigation revealed that the check was from a framing company that the suspect didn’t work for, nor had the business issued the check.

The Ford was later found abandoned on Northridge Drive, and during a search prior to it being impounded, officers recovered the check suspected of being forged. Officers were unable to locate or speak to the suspect at that time, and it would be four more days until Paxman would be taken into custody.

When an officer working an unrelated business burglary found out that Paxman was being interviewed at the Police Department following Tuesday’s arrest he also responded to headquarters to interview the suspect.

Missing copper

This case involved a business burglary reported at an electrical company where eight spools of copper wire had been taken from the property. Surveillance footage showed a suspect matching Paxman’s description jump over an electrified fence and enter the yard of the business.

The officer later learned that a tool box recovered from the abandoned Ford SUV matched the one allegedly taken from the electrical business that was subsequently returned to the owner.

The copper, however, was never located, the officer noted in the report.

During the interview, the officer told Paxman about the tool box being recovered and returned to the company and asked about the missing spools of copper.

According to the report, the suspect said he took the eight spools of wire and sold half to Rocky Mountain Recycling and the other half he sold to Thomas Metals.

Arrest and charges 

On Tuesday shortly before midnight, the series of interviews at the Police Department came to a close, and the suspect was transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility facing the two no-bail warrants as well as a myriad of charges in four separate cases.

On the incident at the apartment complex that led to the suspect’s arrest, Paxman faces one count of interfering with the arrest, as well as two counts for criminal trespass of a dwelling and three counts of intentional criminal mischief, each a misdemeanor

On the suspected trailer theft at the convention center, Paxman faces third-degree felony theft and misdemeanor vehicle burglary.

On the grocery store incident involving the alleged forged check, Paxman faces two third-degree felony offenses, including one count each of forgery and aggravated assault. He also faces misdemeanor reckless driving and failing to remain at the scene of an accident causing injury.

On the alleged copper theft, the suspect faces one third-degree felony count of burglary of a non-dwelling and misdemeanor theft.

On Wednesday, the suspect was formally charged on all four cases.

Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the release of arrest booking photos until after a conviction is obtained. 

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, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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