File photo of St. George police officers, St. George, Utah July 10, 2021 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
ST. GEORGE – Three Nevada suspects are being held without bond following a retail theft call that later recovered more than 100 gift and debit cards, along with documents listing personal information of more than 75 people.
The arrest was triggered just before midnight Friday when officers were dispatched to Walmart on Pioneer Road on a call involving a retail theft.
According to prosecution documents filed with the courts, loss prevention officers at the store 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 anti-theft tags from merchandise before exiting the store, the report said, adding that from there the suspect got into a vehicle and drove off.
Officers located a vehicle within 100 yards of the store in the parking lot at Dickey’s Barbeque Pit that matched the car described by Loss Prevention.
Three occupants were in the vehicle, including the driver, Lloyd James Hoch, 30; Wade Ryan Perkins, 33, the suspect was reportedly seen cutting the anti-theft labels of the merchandise; and a third suspect, Melissa Jean Robinson, 52. All three suspects were from Las Vegas, Nevada.
While talking to the occupants, the report said, officers noticed drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle, and soon after, a search took place.
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 people.
Officers also recovered a number of tools commonly used to pick locks, as well as suspected heroin wrapped in foil and a number of other drug-related items and accessories.
The officer noted that when speaking to Hoch, he said he “had nothing to do with anything”, and when asked about the large amount of personal information collected in notebooks found in the car, Hoch denied knowing about it and said he no longer wanted to talk to the police.
Meanwhile, officers spoke to Perkins, the second suspect in the vehicle who was allegedly seen in store surveillance footage tucking two cell phones under his jacket and then exiting the store without paying for them. Perkins reportedly admitted to cutting off item control tags and that the alleged heroine found inside the car was his own, but he did not comment on the debit cards and gift cards recovered during the search .
The officer noted that Perkins went on to say that the papers containing the personal information of dozens of individuals were not his, adding that the lists had been left inside the vehicle by someone else. and were already there before they got in the car, but when questioned further, he did not give officers the name of the person who left the documents.
During a pre-transport search of Perkins, officers found 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 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, the officer recovered aluminum foil, straws and other drug-related paraphernalia.
The three suspects were arrested and transported to the Purgatory Correctional Facility early Saturday morning in the face of two third degree crimes, including possession of other people’s identity documents and the illegal acquisition of a financial card. The suspects also face one count of retail theft, possession of burglary tools and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Perkins also faces one count of misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.
While the suspects were treated by the prison, MPs found suspected narcotics during a search of Hoch, who initially allegedly denied the drugs were his. However, according to the report, he later said the narcotics belonged to him, but went on to explain that he was not aware that drugs were on him while he was incarcerated.
Hoch subsequently faces two additional counts, including one third degree felony possession of a controlled substance and one felony count of possession of paraphernalia.
After the arrest over the weekend, the three suspects are still in detention without bail.
Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the posting of arrest reservation photos until a conviction is obtained.
This report is based on statements from court records, the police or other stakeholders and may not contain all of the findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty by a court or as otherwise decided by a trier of fact.
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