‘John Doe’ sleeping in vehicle next to bundled cash faces more charges after fingerprint identification

Stock image of Purgatory Correctional Facility | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A suspect who was arrested in Hurricane on Oct. 9 as a “John Doe” has been identified by police as 43-year-old Eric Fernando Maldonado, of North Las Vegas. Maldonado has a no-bail felony warrant out of Nevada and faces additional charges following further investigation into items found in his car.

2020 stock image of Purgatory Correctional Facility, Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 20, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The original arrest was set in motion when emergency dispatch began receiving calls that a man had been sitting in his vehicle with the engine running for several hours. Officers found the man sleeping inside of the car, and after a search of the vehicle, he was taken into into custody.

During the search, officers found a large amount of cash on the passenger seat and multiple ID and credit cards belonging to a number of individuals, along with more than $37,000 in government checks that appeared to be forged, according to charging documents filed with the court.

The man gave officers an ID card that didn’t appear to belong to the suspect and then reportedly refused to provide his actual name or date of birth, the report states.

The suspect was booked into jail under the name of John Doe until authorities could determine his true identity. He was facing 14 third-degree felony charges, including one count of unlawful acquisition of a financial card, four counts of forgery and nine counts of possession of a forgery device.

Authorities ran the inmate’s name through the national data base, and they received a match Oct. 11, confirming the suspect was Maldonado.

The following afternoon, Maldonado faced additional charges after further investigation into the evidence recovered from the search of his vehicle Oct. 9.

According to the report, officers contacted several of the individuals whose credit cards were found inside Maldonado’s vehicle, including one whose wallet was recovered by police that contained five credit cards. Through the course of the investigation, officers learned the cards, a driver’s license and the wallet were reported as stolen out of Las Vegas.

Officers also recovered a government check in the amount of $4,200 that was issued under another individual’s name, along with a receipt from Walmart showing the check had been cashed at the store.  Officers obtained video surveillance that showed Maldonado cashing the check that was later determined to be fraudulent.

Las Vegas Metro Police Department Complex on Martin Luther King Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nev., date not specified | Photo courtesy of Google Maps, St. George News

Maldonado also used another individual’s ID card and identified himself as that person when he went in to cash the check.

The report also states that authorities found an active no-bail warrant for Maldonado’s arrest issued out of Nevada, which police in Utah confirmed was extraditable.

With the suspect already in custody on the 14 felony offenses, additional charges were submitted to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review, including five second-degree felony charges. Maldonado faces one count of possession of a forgery device and four counts of unlawful acquisition of a financial card. He also faces misdemeanor theft and representing a license as one’s own not issued to person.

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, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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