ST. GEORGE — A man was arrested in Hurricane early Friday morning after allegedly driving a stolen car while wearing a firefighter badge and a military-style beret, one of a number of military items allegedly taken during a theft at a nearby residence.
Shortly before 6 a.m. patrol officers were dispatched to the area of 700 West in Hurricane in search of a man who reportedly removed a basketball hoop from a residence and then moved it to the opposite side of the street.
The suspect was seen driving a Lincoln passenger car wearing a red shirt, tattered shorts, a beret-style hat and a “badge of some kind,” the investigating officer wrote in the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest.
Minutes later, a car matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle was stopped on State Street. While speaking to the driver, 34-year-old Danny Dutton, the officer recognized him from several prior interactions.
The officer also noticed that Dutton’s clothing matched the description provided by the 911 caller, including the badge, which turned out to be a firefighter badge.
When asked, police say the suspect admitted to moving the basketball hoop and told the officer he was a firefighter.
“Danny is not a fire fighter,” the officer wrote in the report.
The Lincoln’s owner was contacted after a registration check on the vehicle came back with a name other than Dutton’s. The owner told police she wasn’t aware the car was missing and denied ever loaning it to anyone.
At that point, Dutton was arrested for allegedly being in possession of a stolen vehicle. He was searched prior to being transported to jail, during which the officer allegedly found money, both foreign and domestic, as well as several military items, including challenge coins, rank insignia and the beret he was wearing.
In the meantime, officers were notified by dispatch that Dutton matched the description of a man who entered a local bakery that was closed at the time. He allegedly remained inside of the business when employees arrived to open the store a short time later and refused to leave until one of the employees started making a phone call.
During a followup investigation, the owner of the Lincoln told police the military items found in the suspect’s possession belonged to her son, who was a military veteran.
When officers arrived at her house, she reported that a number of items were missing from the garage and inside of the residence. As officers went through the property, they noticed a military-style duffel bag that was left open and determined that the items found on the suspect at the time of his arrest were taken from the residence.
Dutton was booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility facing two second-degree felonies for theft and burglary, as well as misdemeanor theft, impersonating an official and criminal trespass. He remains in custody on $25,000 bail.
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