Man suspected of Ivins home burglaries nabbed by police in St. George

File photo of St. George Police vehicle seen at the scene of an accident on South 200 East in St. George, Utah, Jan. 29, 2020 | File photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A local man faces multiple felony charges after a suspicious person call led police in another jurisdiction to solve two home burglaries and recover several items allegedly taken, including the shoes the suspect was wearing at the time of his arrest.

Richard Hess, 36, was charged Tuesday with three second-degree felonies, including two counts of burglary of a dwelling and one count of theft. He also faces one count of unlawful acquisition of a finance card and possession of a controlled substance, both third-degree felonies, as well as misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia, according to charging documents filed with the court.

The charges stem from an incident Sunday when officers were dispatched to a business on South Dixie Drive involving a suspicious person call. Officers arrived to find a man, later identified as Hess, sitting on a black mountain bike in front of the store who they recognized from previous contacts. The suspect identified himself as Hess.

Officers then discovered that Hess had an active warrant and was placed under arrest as officers began a search of the suspect before transport. During the search, Hess told police, “I just found this sweater tonight, so I don’t know what’s in it,” the officer noted in the report.

Inside the sweater pocket the officer found a black bag that allegedly contained syringes, along with a plastic baggie containing a white crystal substance consistent with methamphetamine.

When questioned further, the suspect told officers he was cold and found the sweater near a dumpster and decided to wear it.

Richard Gabriel Hess, 36, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Feb. 3, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Officers ran a serial number check on the black Trek mountain bike which revealed it was reported stolen during a burglary a few days prior. When questioned, Hess told police he had no idea it was stolen, he and said he got it from a friend, “but was unable to provide the identity of his friend,” the officer wrote in the statement.

During a search of the two bags connected to the handlebars of the bike, officers found a metal container with a credit card in someone else’s name, which the suspect denied any knowledge of, telling police he found the container on the ground earlier that evening, and he never looked inside.

Based on the evidence obtained at the scene, Hess was booked on multiple offenses as well as the warrant, and he was transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility.

Santa Clara-Ivins Police Sgt. Reed Briggs told St. George News the suspect attempted to conceal the serial number of the mountain bike by scratching at the metal, and he even put markings on the bike to alter its appearance — efforts that failed to mislead police.

He also said the bike was allegedly taken during one of two residential burglaries in Ivins in which Hess is the primary suspect, and the item was valued at more than $5,000. He was also arrested wearing a pair of shoes reportedly stolen during the incident.

The investigation into the recent burglaries is ongoing, Briggs said.

Hess remains in custody on $20,900 bail.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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