ST. GEORGE– Charges kept stacking up Monday against a 30-year-old alleged shoplifter who was found in possession of weapons and drugs after he reportedly stole merchandise from Sportsman’s Warehouse, 2957 E. 850 North in St. George, and then attempted to run from police.
Officers responded to the sports store on a report of retail theft and met with the store’s loss prevention personnel who reported Austin Michael Padgett, of St. George, was observed taking several items from the store without paying for them, St. George Police Officer Mark Biehl said in the probable cause statement supporting the arrest.
Padgett agreed to speak with Biehl and admitted to taking items without paying for them, the statement said.
“I checked (Padgett) for weapons and located an odd strap wrapped around his waist,” Biehl said in the statement. “I thought it may have been a gun holster so I unclipped it. The strap had a pouch on it containing a glass pipe with white residue inside.”
The residue tested positive for methamphetamine, the statement said. Padgett was also found to be in possession of a large straight-edge knife and a metal baton.
While Padgett was in custody, Biehl said, he attempted to flee and ran away from officers across the Sportsman’s Warehouse parking lot.
Padgett was apprehended, arrested and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
He was charged with one second-degree felony for drug possession; two class A misdemeanors for weapons possession by a category II dangerous person and possession of drug paraphernalia; two class B misdemeanors for interfering with an arrest and retail theft.
This was not Padgett’s first run-in with the law. He was convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in 2006, drug and paraphernalia possession in 2008 and unlawful sale or supply of alcohol to a minor in 2009, according to Utah state court records. Padgett was also convicted of retail theft and manufacturing or possessing a burglary tool in March 2014, and pleaded no contest to retail theft in November 2014.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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