ST. GEORGE — The 18-year-old accused of shooting a St. George teen on July 8 faces additional charges in connection with a burglary reported the previous day where multiple guns were allegedly taken from a vehicle and garage by a group of juveniles – one of which ended up in the hands of the suspect, according to police.
Anthony Vega, 18, of St. George, who is in custody facing first-degree murder and other charges related in the death of a 14-year-old girl in St. George July 9, faces additional charges involving an incident that police were investigating the day prior to the shooting.
Police learned that Vega had allegedly been with several juveniles on July 8. Detectives spoke with the teens who allegedly admitted that Vega and the other youths had stolen multiple firearms from a vehicle and the attached garage of a residence during the night, all of which were later recovered by police.
Officers then questioned Vega, while he was in custody on the murder charge. Police say he admitted to “being present” at the time the other juveniles entered the garage and the vehicle.
Vega also told officers that the group found the garage open and the vehicle unlocked at the time of the incident, so no force was used to gain entry into either location.
The report also states that Vega told detectives that after the incident, he was given one of the firearms by the teens that he took with him, and kept the gun in his possession “for some time.” He also allegedly admitted to police that he knew the gun he had in his possession, along with the other firearms, were taken during the burglaries.
“Anthony had knowledge of the crimes that were occurring – did nothing to stop the crimes from occurring – and even assisted in removing one of the firearms from the property,” the officer noted in the report.
Additional charges were later submitted to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review.
On Thursday, the defendant was charged with five second-degree felony charges, including one count of burglary of a dwelling, along with four counts of theft for the firearms. He was also charged with one misdemeanor count each of vehicle burglary and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The charges were enhanced due to the juveniles “all working together in the commission of a crime,” as noted in court records.
It has not been disclosed whether the gun taken during the burglary was the same firearm used in the shooting of the teenage girl shortly before 9 p.m. on July 8 near a housing complex in the 600 block of North 2450 East – a few blocks south of Deseret Industries.
Vega made an initial appearance via video in 5th District Court Friday and is scheduled to be back in court Aug. 28, where he is scheduled to appear before Judge Jeffrey Wilcox on the burglary case and remains in custody on $50,000 bail. He is also scheduled to appear that same day on the murder case for which he is being held on $500,000 bail.
Any arrest or case information on the juvenile suspects was not available due to their age.
This report is based on statements from police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. 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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