ST. GEORGE — A 27-year-old man is facing a charge of first-degree felony aggravated burglary, among lesser charges, for allegedly burglarizing a home Friday night and threatening to kill the homeowner who caught him in the act. If convicted of the offense, the man could spend the rest of his life in prison.
On Saturday, officers responded to a residential burglary in which a homeowner reportedly caught a male intruder inside his home at around 1:30 a.m., according to a probable cause statement filed by the St. George Police Department in support of the arrest.
“When (the homeowner) ran after the male,” the detective wrote in the statement, “the male suddenly turned around and said, ‘I have a knife and I’ll kill you.’”
Fearing for his safety, the report stated, the homeowner stopped pursuing the burglar, who ran out of the home with a piece of camera equipment valued at over $600.
The homeowner called police who arrived and observed a vehicle parked on the street in front of the homeowner’s residence. However, officers were unable to locate or identify the vehicle’s owner because it had expired temporary tags and there was no visible VIN number on the vehicle, according to the statement.
At around 2 p.m. Saturday, the homeowner called police and said he had just seen the male suspect whom he had chased out of his home, the report stated, driving the vehicle that had been parked on the street.
Officers conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and learned the driver, who was identified as Matthew Ray Hammon, of Colorado City, Arizona, had an active warrant for his arrest.
During a search of Hammon’s vehicle, officers located a black camera bag with the homeowner’s name written on a tag, along with a large tool kit and video recorder which Hammon later admitted were stolen, according to the statement.
During an interview, Hammon reportedly admitted to pawning numerous stolen items from another burglary that same night, the report stated. Hammon admitted to being the “getaway driver” but denied he had ever physically gone inside either of the residences. However, he was unable to provide any information about his accomplice other than a name.
Hammon told police the drug paraphernalia they had found in his pocket was used to do drugs earlier that day.
“Matthew admitted to using heroin and methamphetamine this morning,” the detective wrote in the statement.
Hammon was arrested and transported to the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
He was charged with first-degree felony aggravated burglary, two class A misdemeanors for theft by receiving stolen property and drug possession, two class B misdemeanors for possession of drug paraphernalia and a warrant, a class C misdemeanor for driving on a denied license, along with an infraction for failure to register his vehicle.
First Degree Felonies are among the most serious crimes in Utah, carrying a penalty of five years to life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Hammon is scheduled to make his initial court appearance Monday afternoon in 5th District Court.
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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