6 arrested for alleged fraud, warrants, drugs after investigation of credit card theft in Springdale

Composite image, ST. George News

ST. GEORGE — Six people were arrested for a number of offenses, including fraud and possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, during a police investigation of a stolen credit card in Springdale.

Austin Lebaron, 20, of Hurricane, booking photo taken in Washington County Nov. 16, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

On Saturday afternoon, 20-year-old Austin Lebaron was arrested and booked into jail on five third-degree felony offenses, including four counts of unlawful use of a credit card and one count of acquiring a finance card without consent.

Charges filed Monday include one third-degree felony count of unlawful acquisition of a financial card without consent and five misdemeanor counts of knowingly using a false financial transaction card for credit/goods.

The arrest stems from an investigation into the alleged theft of a credit card that was used at a number of businesses after the card’s owner lost it while dining at a restaurant in Springdale. Officers learned the owner was visiting from Japan when the card was lost and did not authorize anyone else to use it.

Officers contacted businesses in Hurricane and LaVerkin where the card was allegedly used and obtained video surveillance footage.

Later, officers learned from a store employee that the suspect had in fact used the credit card at a store in Hurricane and noted the suspect in the surveillance footage matched the description of the individual named in the report.

Later that same day, Springdale Police officers spoke to Lebaron at his residence. During the interview, the suspect admitted to using the card and told police he knew the card was stolen.

Sadie Pace, 19, of Hurricane, booking photo taken in Washington County Nov. 17, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The suspect also told police “he used the card for another individual who made him buy items for her,” the report said.

The suspect told officers he used the card at various businesses accompanied by the same woman who he said gave him the credit card, and who was with him when he made the purchases.

Lebaron was arrested and transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility and remains in custody on $5,680 bail as this report publishes.

The following day, officers located 19-year-old Sadie Pace, of Hurricane, at her residence. During an interview with police she allegedly admitted to using the credit card at multiple businesses, telling officers she was with another woman when she did so, according to the report.

While viewing video surveillance obtained from the businesses, the officers observed a female matching Pace’s description. However, the report makes no mention of a second female.

Pace was taken into custody Sunday and police reportedly found alcohol, marijuana and drug paraphernalia during a search of her backpack.

The suspect was transported to jail and charges were later filed including one third-degree felony count of unlawful acquisition of a financial card without consent and three misdemeanor counts of knowingly using a false financial transaction card for credit/goods. She was also charged with possession of a controlled substance and paraphernalia and alcohol.

Springdale Police Officer Britt Ballard told St. George News that Pace was the primary suspect who obtained the credit card from the restaurant in Springdale, and that Lebaron was her accomplice.

L-R: Edgar Ramirez-Gonzalez, 18, and Tahrius Smith, 23, both of Hurricane, booking photos taken in Washington County Nov. 17, 2019 | Photos courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

He also said there was no second woman involved in the case based on the information they have up to this point, adding that Lebaron was arrested first only because he was the first to be located by police.

Pace is being held on $5,000 bail and is scheduled to make an initial appearance in 5th District Court Tuesday.

Through the course of the fraud investigation, police arrested four additional suspects that were located during a search of one of the residences Sunday.

Two of the suspects were arrested for misdemeanor drug and paraphernalia offenses, while a third suspect, 18-year-old Edgar Ramirez-Gonzalez, of Hurricane, was booked into jail on felony possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance after an officer allegedly found two ounces of what appeared to be methamphetamine in a plastic bag, which a field test later confirmed.

Tahrius Smith, 23, also of Hurricane, was arrested and booked on second-degree felony possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, third-degree felony endanger child/elder with drugs, along with three misdemeanor drug offenses.

No further details were available regarding Smith’s arrest, as the investigation is still active, Ballard said.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!