Officers recover personal information on dozens of people, along with 100 gift, debit cards during arrest

File photo of St. George Police officers, St. George, Utah, July 10, 2021 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Three suspects from Nevada are being held without bail following a call reporting a retail theft that subsequently led to the recovery of more than 100 gift and debit cards, as well as documents listing the personal information of more than 75 individuals.

2018 file photo for illustrative purposes only of police vehicles in parking lot of Walmart on Pioneer Road in George, Utah, Dec. 15, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The arrest was set in motion Friday just before midnight, when officers were dispatched to Walmart on Pioneer Road on a call involving a retail theft.

According to charging documents filed with the courts, the store’s loss prevention agents called authorities to report a suspect who had just left the store with a number of items that were never paid for. The suspect was first seen on surveillance video removing the theft-control tags from the merchandise before walking out of the store, the report stated, adding that from there, the suspect got into a vehicle and drove away.

Officers located a vehicle less than 100 yards from the store in the parking lot of Dickey’s Barbeque Pit that matched the car described by loss prevention.

Three occupants were in the vehicle, including the driver, 30-year-old Lloyd James Hoch; 33-year-old Wade Ryan Perkins, the suspect allegedly seen cutting the theft control tags off the merchandise; and a third suspect, 52-year-old Melissa Jean Robinson. All three suspects hailed from Las Vegas, Nevada.

While speaking to the occupants, the report states, officers noticed drug paraphernalia located inside of the vehicle, and shortly thereafter a search ensued.

During the search, officers recovered at least 100 gift cards, two debit cards and a notebook containing several lists documenting the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers belonging to at least 75 other individuals.

Officers also recovered a number of tools typically used to pick locks, as well as suspected heroin wrapped in tin foil and a number of other drug-related items and paraphernalia.

The officer noted that while speaking to Hoch, he said he “had nothing to do with anything,” and when asked about the vast amount of personal information recovered in the notebooks found in the car, Hoch denied any knowledge of it and stated he no longer wanted to speak to police.

Meanwhile, officers spoke to Perkins, the second suspect in the vehicle who was allegedly seen on the store’s surveillance footage placing two cell phones under his jacket and then walking out of the store without paying for them. Perkins reportedly admitted to cutting the control tags from the items and that the suspected heroin found inside of the car was his, but he would not comment on the debit and gift cards recovered during the search.

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

The officer noted that Perkins went on to say the papers containing the personal information of the dozens of individuals was not his, adding that the lists were left inside of the vehicle by someone else and were already there before they got in the car, but when questioned further, he would not give officers the name of the individual who left the documents.

During a search of Perkins prior to transport, officers located a second book in the suspect’s pocket containing a list of debit card numbers.

The third suspect, Robinson, also reportedly denied any knowledge of the bank cards or burglary tools recovered during the search and said she had no idea where the list of identifying information came from. During a search of Robinson’s backpack, officer’s recovered tinfoil, straws and other drug paraphernalia.

All three suspects were arrested and transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility early Saturday morning facing two third-degree felonies, including possession of another’s identifying documents and unlawful acquisition of a financial card. The suspects also face one misdemeanor count each of retail theft, possession of burglary tools and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Perkins also faces one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance.

As the suspects were being processed through the jail, deputies found suspected narcotics during a search of Hoch, who initially allegedly denied the drugs were his. However, the report states, he later said the narcotics did belong to him but went on to explain he wasn’t aware the drugs were on his person while he was being booked into jail.

Subsequently, Hoch faces two additional charges, including one third-degree felony possession of a controlled substance charge and one misdemeanor count of possession of paraphernalia.

Following the arrest over the weekend, all three suspects remain in custody without 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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