ST. GEORGE — A swarm of law enforcement officers were on scene to arrest a probation fugitive Friday who was holed up in the bathroom of a St. George apartment trying to negotiate his surrender, saying he wanted to give his girlfriend a hug and a kiss before he came out.
Parole officers received a tip that probation fugitive Steven Robert Thomas, who had failed to comply with the terms of his probation, was possibly at a residence in St. George, according to a probable cause statement written by Adult Probation and Parole Officer William Weaver in support of the arrest. Thomas was also allegedly seen carrying a silver revolver handgun in the waistband of his pants.
Five probation officers and two supervisors responded to three possible locations where they thought Thomas might be, the statement said. The officers, supervisors and regional administrator then converged at a St. George apartment on the 50 West block of 400 South where Thomas was suspected to be, and set up a perimeter around the building.
When three agents went up to the apartment, a woman came to the door, the statement said. The agents identified themselves and asked the woman if she knew Thomas and if he was inside the apartment.
Appearing very nervous, Weaver said in the statement, the woman acknowledged she knew Thomas but denied he was inside the apartment and declined the agents’ request to search the apartment.
According to the statement, agents reminded the woman that Thomas was a fugitive with active warrants for his arrest, and, if she was hiding him, she could be arrested for harboring a fugitive. She was further told they would request a search warrant for the property, but the woman continued to decline to let the agents inside.
Approximately 15 minutes later, the woman exited the residence to get something from her car, the statement said. At that time, agents engaged her in conversation again, and she told them she was “scared and didn’t know what to do.”
After receiving confirmation that Thomas was inside the apartment, the U.S. Marshals were contacted for assistance in obtaining a ballistic shield in order to safely enter the apartment, according to the statement of probable cause.
When Thomas didn’t come out after receiving verbal commands to do so, law enforcement officers lined up with guns drawn and made forced entry into the apartment, according to the statement. Officers cleared all the rooms of the apartment before discovering a muffled noise coming from behind the closed door of the master bathroom.
They commanded Thomas to come out with his hands up.
“Fugitive Thomas then asked why we were there and asked what he had done,” Weaver wrote in the statement. “Sup. Garrett stated he had violated his probation and a warrant had been issued for his arrest. Fugitive Thomas wanted to negotiated (sic) his surrender and wanted to give his girlfriend a hug and kiss before he was arrested.”
Officers were eventually able to talk Thomas into coming out.
During a search of the bathroom, officers located pipes with drug residue in the bowls, a Sharps container half-full with used needles, a large plastic bag containing unused hypodermic needles, plastic baggies and cotton filters, according to the statement. A further search of the Sharps container revealed six loaded syringes of different colored substances, a digital weight scale, a glass pipe with white residue and several other used syringes.
Four of the loaded syringes tested positive for methamphetamine and two of the syringes tested positive for lorazepam, according to the statement.
Thomas was arrested and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
He was charged with a second-degree felony for drug possession with the intent to distribute, a third-degree felony for drug possession with the intent to distribute, and two class B misdemeanors for possession of drug paraphernalia and interference with arresting officer.
Judge John Walton, of the 5th District Court, ordered Thomas’ bail for release pending trial reduced to $20,000 during his initial court appearance Monday.
Thomas is represented by attorney Gary Pendleton and is scheduled to make his next court appearance on May 15.
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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