Suspicious person call lands Hurricane man in jail on felony vehicle theft charge

Composite image with background stock photo and overlay of Washington City Police vehicle taken in Washington City, Utah, May 11, 2021 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Hurricane man is in jail charged with vehicle theft following a suspicious person call Wednesday from a property owner who had seen the suspect on multiple occasions at one of his rental properties where a tenant under hospice care lives.

May 2021 file photo of Washington City Police Chief Jason Williams, Washington City, Utah, May 11, 2021 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Washington City Police Chief Jason Williams told St. George News, the caller told officers one of his tenants had recently hired a woman to provide home hospice care, and at some point, the caretaker had started allowing a man to stay at the residence, something which happened on a number of occasions.

The property owner said the man drove a pickup truck and that he would pull in late at night and park the truck behind the residence, as if to keep it hidden so it would not be “noticed,” Williams said.

The owner also told officers the man, later identified as 48-year-old Louis Faustino Peterson, was seen on the property numerous times acting “very suspicious.”

Officers were dispatched to the residence Wednesday afternoon and observed a pickup truck matching the description from the caller parked on the property. The truck was flagged as a stolen vehicle, and Williams said a records check would later confirm it was reported as stolen out of Nevada.

Peterson was arrested and booked into jail on second-degree felony theft, which he was formally charged with the following day, as well as for an active warrant for his arrest out of justice court for criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

Peterson has a criminal history dating back more than 20 years, including a case in which he was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual assault and two counts of aggravated assault. He pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault charges. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the sexual assault charge was dropped, and in 2007, he was sentenced to serve up to 15 years in Utah State Prison. Court records indicate his file was sent to the Sonoma County Probation and Parole Department six years later.

On Thursday, the suspect made in initial appearance on the theft charge and is scheduled to appear for a bail hearing Nov. 4. He remains in jail on $10,000 bail.

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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