ST. GEORGE — Police have located and arrested a man who allegedly assaulted a woman Friday at a St. George laundromat before fleeing the area on a bicycle.
An investigation into the incident culminated with the arrest of 28-year-old Sterling Joshua Begay, of Mexican Hat, Friday evening at Washington Wal-Mart where it was reported Begay was allegedly shoplifting.
Police responded earlier in the day to a report of a robbery and assault at the Laundromat located at 785 E. St. George Boulevard where a woman reported that a Native American male had forced her into the restroom and forced his hands up her shirt, according to court documents.
The woman’s two small children were reportedly present at the time the assault occurred.
The woman began hitting and scratching the man and was able to fight him off her, according to a probable cause statement filed by the St. George Police Department in support of Begay’s arrest. The man then fled the laundromat, taking the woman’s cellphone and an undetermined amount of money.
Police were investigating the incident and following up on leads when a man matching the suspect’s description selected several clothing items in Wal-Mart and concealed them in a suitcase before trying to exit the store without paying for the merchandise.
The total value of the merchandise was approximately $225, according to a probable cause statement filed by the Washington City Police Department in support of Begay’s arrest.
Officers detained Begay and located a fixed blade knife in a sheath on his right hip, the report stated.
When questioned, Begay allegedly confessed to committing the crimes at the Laundromat and Wal-Mart, according to court documents.
Begay was arrested and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
He was charged with first-degree felony aggravated kidnapping, two second-degree felony counts of forcible sexual abuse and robbery, two class A misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief and retail theft, along with a class C misdemeanor charge for intoxication.
Begay appeared before Judge Eric Ludlow in 5th District Court Monday afternoon for his initial court appearance.
On Feb. 12, Begay was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespass after allegedly following a woman to a Best Motel in Provo and forcing entry into her hotel room. According to court documents, Begay entered the room, stating it was cold outside and refused to leave.
The woman left the hotel room and called police, according to the arrest report. When police arrived, Begay allegedly told officers he was the victim.
On Feb. 22, Begay was arrested for criminal mischief and criminal trespass after allegedly breaking the window on the door of a Provo residence, according to court documents. When police arrived, they found Begay asleep in a bedroom inside the home.
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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