WASHINGTON CITY – Police responded to several reports of theft last week which, through the course of an investigation, all linked back to a Washington City man. Police arrested the 38-year-old Wednesday and he is now facing 14 criminal charges, including five felonies, for his alleged crime spree.
During the first reported incident, John Leslie Murphy Jr. had allegedly stolen a camera valued at over $500 along with credit cards from a residence, according to a probable cause statement filed by the Washington City Police Department in support of the arrest. He was then seen entering several stores throughout Washington County to conduct fraudulent transactions.
In another incident, a woman reported her credit cards had been stolen from her vehicle and were being used at several businesses in Washington County. According to the statement, the offender in this case was also identified as Murphy as he was seen in store surveillance footage conducting the fraudulent transactions with the stolen credit cards.
In a third reported theft incident, a man reported that the keys to his Hummer and personal buildings had been stolen.
During a search of Murphy’s residence, the statement said, officers located the stolen keys and camera, along with numerous tools and vehicle straps that were reported stolen following a fourth theft incident.
According to the probable cause statement, Murphy is restricted from having weapons in his possession due to prior felony convictions, however, officers located a handgun in his possession during the search along with drug paraphernalia.
Murphy was also found to have an active $20,000 warrant for his arrest issued by the 5th District Court for burglary, the statement said.
When questioned by police, Murphy admitted to using the stolen credit cards, according to the statement of probable cause, and returning some of the merchandise to the store for gift cards.
Murphy was arrested and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
He was charged with five third-degree felonies for forgery, unlawful acquisition of a finance card and possession of a firearm by a restricted person; two class A misdemeanors for theft and theft by receiving stolen property; and seven class B misdemeanors for theft, knowingly using a false finance card, theft by receiving stolen property, theft by deception and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Judge Jeffrey Wilcox, of the 5th District Court, ordered $30,000 bail for Murphy’s release pending trial.
He was found indigent by the court during his initial court appearance Thursday and will be represented by court-appointed attorney Douglas Terry. He is scheduled to make his next court appearance Monday afternoon.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
Email: [email protected]
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.