Have wigs, will shoplift; Nevada woman back in jail after alleged thefts involving wardrobe changes

St. George Police stage at Fossil Ridge Intermediate School after a beating incident at the Red Rock Ridge student housing complex in St. George, Utah, July 9, 2019 | File photo by Ryann Richardson, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Nevada woman was arrested on a warrant for allegedly stealing more than $1,500 in merchandise from a number of St. George stores in October, one of which was the Kohl’s department store, where the suspect donned a number of wigs and returned to the store multiple times to take items, police say.

Rebecca Yates, 36, of Las Vegas, Nev., booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Aug. 5, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Rebecca Theresa Yates, 36, of Las Vegas, was booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility Monday on a warrant issued out of 5th District Court in April for a 2018 case involving multiple charges, including third-degree felony theft by receiving stolen property. She was also charged with six misdemeanors, which include four counts of possession of a controlled substance, manufacture/possession of burglary tools and shoplifting, court records say.

The charges stem from an incident reported Oct. 6 when officers were dispatched to Kohl’s department store to investigate a reported theft. Responding officers spoke to the store’s manager who said a woman wearing a black wig was seen entering and exiting the department store as well as other nearby shops.

She was then seen going to a white Nissan pickup truck with a Nevada license plate, where she unloaded the items and changed her clothing and wig before going back into various shops.

Officers circulating the parking lot soon spotted the vehicle matching the description provided by the employee and then waited for the suspect to return to the pickup.

A short time later, police observed a woman who matched the description of the suspect standing near the pickup truck. She was accompanied by a man, later identified as 27-year-old Ryan Freeman.

Yates provided officers with her identification, while Freeman, police say, first provided them with a fake name and later identified himself as Ryan Freeman.

In the bed of the pickup, officers could see boxes of items that still had the price tags attached, as well as items covered by a tarp.

During a search of the truck, officers found a number of cardboard boxes full of merchandise from Walgreens and Walmart, as well as other stores in the area.

The items covered “the entire bed of the truck,” the officer noted in the statement, including suitcases full of clothing, shoes, cologne, supplements and other merchandise with a combined value of about $1,500.

Officers brought a pair of pants found in the pickup back into Kohl’s, where the manager confirmed the clothing came from the store. Officers also contacted stores from where other items were taken.

Inside the cab of the truck, officers found a black tar substance that appeared to be heroin, along with a pipe and other paraphernalia.

As the search continued, police located a tool used to take inventory tags off clothing to prevent the device from setting off a store alarm. Yates and Freeman were then arrested and transported to jail.

A $15,000 warrant was issued for Yates’ arrest after she failed to appear for a pre-trial conference scheduled in April.

Freeman pleaded guilty to one third-degree felony count of theft in exchange for the state dismissing six misdemeanors as part of the plea agreement, including two counts of theft, one count of possessing burglary tools, one count of possession of a controlled substance and one count of giving false personal identity to a peace officer. He was also fined $43 after $2,457 was suspended, and he was placed on 18 months probation. He was credited for time served, which satisfied the jail sentence, and was released from jail Nov. 5.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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