Store owner confronts, detains man attempting to steal money with modified tape measure

Stock image | St. George News

HURRICANE – A 29-year-old Hurricane man was arrested Thursday after a gas station owner took matters into his own hands and detained the man, who had allegedly attempted to use a tape measure modified with a hook to steal money from the store.

Around 10 p.m. Thursday, officers were dispatched to the Chevron gas station at 41 N. 6300 West in Hurricane on a report of a man using a modified tape measure to steal money from a machine at the store, according to a probable cause statement filed by the Hurricane City Police Department in support of the arrest.

Kurt John McMahon, of Hurricane, Utah, booking photo posted Oct. 29, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s booking, St. George News
Kurt John McMahon, of Hurricane, Utah, booking photo posted Oct. 29, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s booking, St. George News

The gas station owner recognized the man, later identified as Kurt John McMahon, as the suspect in other recent retail theft incidents at his store, the statement said. The store owner also recognized the vehicle McMahon was driving.

The owner told police that McMahon had also been seen in a Washington City gas station attempting to use a modified tape measure with electrical tape and a metal hook at the end to commit a theft, according to the statement.

When the store’s owner and an employee saw McMahon using the modified tape measure in their store to steal money from the machine, the statement said, police were called, and the owner used a cellphone to video the man committing the crime.

When police arrived at the store, a store employee said to hurry.

“As I turned the corner of the building I observed two males physically fighting,” the arresting officer wrote in the statement. “One male was on top of the other male and I could hear the male on the ground tell the other male to let him go.”

The officer separated the two men, whom he identified as McMahon and the store owner, according to the statement of probable cause.

The officer observed injuries on both the owner’s knees as well as on his elbow. The owner said the injuries occurred during the scuffle with McMahon.

The owner told the officer that he confronted McMahon while he was at the machine and told him to stay put, the statement said. McMahon allegedly swore at the owner and tried to exit the store. When the owner approached him, McMahon attempted to punch him in the face but missed. At that point, the owner grabbed McMahon to detain him until police arrived.

When questioned, McMahon told police he was experimenting with the machine rather than trying to steal.

“Kurt stated he heard how to make the tape measure from a friend and went inside the store to see if it was possible to get coins from the machine,” the arresting officer wrote in the statement. “Kurt stated he told the store employee he wasn’t ‘trying to steal’ but just wanted to see if it would work.”

The officer placed McMahon under arrest and asked him if he had illegal contraband on him, and McMahon said he had hypodermic needles inside a pouch in his pants pocket, according to the probable cause statement. Police located the pouch and found the hypodermic needles and two plastic bags. Inside the two plastic bags, a white powdery substance was found that tested positive for amphetamines.

McMahon was arrested and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.

He was charged with a class A misdemeanor for drug possession and four class B misdemeanors for assault, retail theft and possession of burglary tools and drug paraphernalia.

McMahon was released on $5,060 bail. His court arraignment is scheduled for Friday 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.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.


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  • ladybugavenger November 4, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    He went through all that trouble for some change? I don’t get it. What kind of machine was he putting the tape measure in?

  • fun bag November 4, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    “the machine”, “the machine”, “the machine”, “the machine”. what is “the machine”? without knowing what “the machine” is, this is just another story about a So. UT meth head … anyone know what “the machine” is?

  • sagemoon November 5, 2015 at 8:17 am

    Dang tweeker thinks he’s McGuyver. He forgot McGuyver used his skills for good not for ripping off his neighbors to get money for drugs.

  • CaliGirl November 5, 2015 at 8:34 am

    Maybe it was the tampon machine in the ladies bathroom?

    • .... November 5, 2015 at 5:15 pm

      Really ? You don’t get out much do you ? Geeez

  • .... November 5, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Yeah you know .it was the machine but it just happened to be that particular’s the machine that has some stuff stacked next to it.

  • kaci November 5, 2015 at 9:32 am

    I’m assuming they are talking about the quarter machine. It’s a game that you would find in an arcade or something. They put $100 dollar bills in it and you put quarters in and try to push the money over the edge.

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