Wal-Mart shoplifter busted for more than stolen merchandise

WASHINGTON CITY – A St. George man was detained for shoplifting at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Washington City Thursday, but the incident evolved to include a felony drug possession charge when officers found a tin container full of heroin in the man’s pocket.

Thursday evening, Washington City Police Officer Colton Skeem was dispatched to Wal-Mart, 625 W. Telegraph St. in Washington City, on a report of retail theft, according to a probable cause statement filed by Skeem in support of the arrest. When Skeem arrived, Wal-Mart Asset Protection employees advised him that Jason Gubler, of St. George, had taken merchandise without paying for it.

Jason Richard Gubler, booking photo posted March 6, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff's Office, St. George News
Jason Richard Gubler, booking photo posted March 5, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Skeem made contact with Gubler in the parking lot, according to the statement, and escorted him back inside to the store’s Asset Protection office. Gubler was read his Miranda rights, and Skeem then began questioning him about the stolen merchandise.

“I asked him about the merchandise and he said he had an item in his pocket,” Skeem said in the statement. “He took out a wallet and said he didn’t pay for it.”

Skeem told Gubler he was going to search him to see if he was concealing any other Wal-Mart items.

“I located a light that was Walmart merchandise,” Skeem said in the statement, “and then I located a small round tin container in his right pocket that had a black tar substance in it. I recognized this as heroin from my training and experience.”

Another officer performed a NIK, narcotics identification kit, test on the substance finding it tested positive for heroin, according to the statement.

“I asked Jason what else he took and he said a gas cap and the blue long sleeve shirt he was wearing,” Skeem said in the statement.

Gubler was arrested and transported to the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility. At the jail, a round, silver tube and a used syringe containing a brown substance were found in his back pocket.

Gubler was booked on one third-degree felony charge for possession of heroin; one class B misdemeanor charge for possession of drug paraphernalia; and one class B misdemeanor charge for retail theft.

Gubler posted $6,360 bail and has been released from custody, according to court documents. He is scheduled to make his first appearance in 5th District Court on Thursday.

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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