ST. GEORGE — After the arrest of a Washington City woman following a pursuit with police in St. George, additional charges for an unrelated burglary reported a week prior were also submitted for review – two of 11 cases filed against the suspect since April.
The arrest stems from an incident that began with an attempted traffic stop on Wednesday, when an officer noticed a woman getting into a black pickup truck and driving off near a camping site in the desert shortly before 7 a.m. The officer recognized the driver as 22-year old Mekinna Rane Sokolowski from previous interactions with law enforcement and attempted to stop the truck in the area of Commerce Drive near Enterprise Drive, according to a police report filed in support of the arrest.
Instead of pulling over, the report states, the driver and a male passenger fled through the desert. The truck the suspect was driving was later found abandoned in a remote area nearby.
The pair was initially spotted walking west toward the Southern Parkway, but officers lost sight of the suspects that were later located by an officer in an unmarked patrol vehicle who saw the suspects walking through the Desert Color development, but when the pair spotted the officer they started running and were later taken into custody by authorities. The man was not arrested or charged following the incident.
Sokolowski was arrested on an active warrant issued out of 5th District Court, as well as for evading police and possession of paraphernalia – a misdemeanor charge that was added after officers found a syringe containing suspected heroin during a search prior to transport.
One arrest warrant was issued by District Judge Eric Ludlow involving an escape from official custody case filed in May. In that case, the suspect was being treated at St. George Regional Hospital while in police custody, and according to charging documents filed with the court, she was able to slip out of the handcuffs while her arms were concealed underneath a blanket.
As she attempted to push past medical staff, an officer grabbed her and she was then placed in more secure restraints and then transported back to jail. She was later charged with a third-degree felony escape charge.
Sokolowski also faces additional charges that were filed in connection with a burglary reported Aug. 31, when officers were dispatched to a residence on South Main Street in Washington City.
Officers arrived and spoke to the resident who reportedly said they returned home that evening and, after noticing several items missing, they checked the footage captured by the security system and saw a woman breaking into the residence.
The homeowner also told officers that no other individuals, other than the suspect, were seen on the surveillance footage from the time the owner left until they returned home later that evening, according to the report.
Officers also reviewed the footage and saw a woman with red hair standing at the front door, and then another camera captured the suspect throwing a backpack over the side fence into the backyard before jumping over the fence. The suspect then walked out of range of the camera.
Officers also found the screen torn on one of the windows located behind the home and also noticed finger marks on the glass that appeared to have been caused by someone attempting to slide the window open. When officers found both doors to the rear of the home ajar, the homeowner said those doors were always locked and were locked when they left for work that morning.
The reporting party also told officers that several items were missing, including a man’s ring, an iPad and an Apple watch, along with cash that was kept in an empty liquor bottle that was later found broken next to the fence and the cash was missing. In total, the report states, more than $3,500 in property was reportedly taken from the residence.
Washington City Police Chief Jason Williams told St. George News the suspect is known by police, but added that Sokolowski did not start “popping up on our radar,” until late last year.
On Wednesday afternoon, officers went to the jail to speak to Sokolowski after they learned she had been arrested earlier that same day by police in St. George.
When Washington City investigators advised the suspect they were there to discuss the burglary reported in August, Sokolowski said she would rather wait until her attorney was present.
The interview was terminated. When the suspect was advised she was being charged with burglary, the officer wrote that Sokolowski did not ask any further questions nor did she “act surprised.”
The following day the suspect was formally charged with second-degree felony burglary in connection with the case.
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.
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