Discarding cigarette butt on St. George Boulevard leads man to being arrested for pickup theft

St. George Police vehicle. | File photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A cigarette butt thrown on the sidewalk along St. George Boulevard set in motion a series of events that landed a local man in jail for a felony after the suspect was linked to the theft of a pickup truck reported weeks before, according to police.

Thane Jones Savage, 33, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Jan. 14, 2021 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The incident began on Thursday when an officer on bike patrol in St. George noticed a man throw a cigarette butt on the ground as the man walked towards the parking lot of McDonald’s on St. George Boulevard at 1:30 p.m. When confronted with littering, the suspect apologized and stated he would pick it up but told officers he did not have any identification on him when it was requested, according to charging documents filed with the 5th District Court.

The man identified himself using only a partial name and when emergency dispatch could find no record matching the information, the man told the officer that was his name and he wanted to leave. Dispatch then advised the social security number provided by the suspect belonged to an elderly male who did not match the description of the man police were talking to.

The report also states the suspect appeared anxious and nervous and was making movements indicating he was “probably going to try and run,” the officer noted

The suspect, identified as 33-year-old Thane Savage, of St. George, bolted away as officers attempted to handcuff him and after running about 10 feet he was detained by police. He then provided his name and date of birth which was run through emergency dispatch and a records check revealed an active misdemeanor warrant out of Washington City Justice Court. During a search, officers allegedly found drug paraphernalia in the suspect’s backpack prior to being transported to jail for the warrant, as well as providing false information to police and littering.

At the jail, officers were advised that Savage was also wanted for questioning in a vehicle theft reported several days before involving a red Ford F-250 that was stolen while the owner was away and the suspect was questioned by detectives.

The suspect allegedly told police that the truck belonged to a friend and was driven to Las Vegas by another man who had stolen the keys and explained the vehicle had broken down in Nevada.

He also told officers he drove down to Las Vegas and was there at the time and was angry when he heard his friend’s truck had been stolen and then learned it had been towed to a tow yard there, according to the report.

Through the course of the investigation, officers spoke to a witness who provided a completely different account, saying it was the suspect who had allegedly driven the truck to Las Vegas with a second individual. The truck was stuck in four-wheel drive for the entire trip and when they arrived in Las Vegas, they called a towing company to assist but were unable to pay the fee and the truck was impounded.

When Savage was confronted about the discrepancies in his story, he “immediately” invoked his right to refuse to answer any questions without an attorney present.

Later that same day, officers contacted the towing company and confirmed the truck was in the company’s impound lot in Las Vegas and officers in St. George and the suspect was charged with second-degree felony theft on Friday.

Savage remains in custody on the current charges as well as the warrant at the writing of this report.

This report is based on information provided by law enforcement 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.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, 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!