Stolen Christmas check one of many charges landing suspect in jail

Stock image | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Charges continue to pile up for a suspect who was recently arrested during a routine traffic stop near Sunset Boulevard for crimes, including forgery and mail theft, that authorities say he allegedly committed in a number of jurisdictions across Washington County.

Gill Simpson, 45, of Las Vegas, Nev. booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Jan. 28, 2021 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

On Jan. 28, a patrol officer working in the area of Westridge Drive and Sunset Boulevard noticed a vehicle leaving the parking lot of a convenience store. When the officer recognized the driver as 45-year-old Gill Simpson as someone he knew from prior incidents and was also aware the suspect had a suspended driver’s license, the officer pulled the car over.

While speaking with police, the suspect said he did not have a driver’s license nor did he have insurance on the car. During a records check the officer found two active felony warrants for Simpson’s arrest and the suspect was detained.

During a search prior to transport, the officer found a folded check in the suspect’s wallet that was made out to another individual, and when asked Simpson told the police it was his friend’s check that he was holding as collateral until the man paid $60 he owed him.

The recipient of the check provided a different account during a phone call with police, saying the check was sent in the mail as a gift from his grandmother during the Christmas holiday but explained he had never received the check. He also provided the officer with the dollar amount of the check.

Following the phone call, the officer again asked Simpson how he came to possess the check, which is when the suspect changed his story and stated he found the check that had been stolen out of the mailbox by a second suspect who was currently an inmate at the jail. He went on to explain he was only holding onto it until he could return it to the owner, but then forgot to give it back to him which was the reason it was still in his wallet.

Simpson was transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility and as he was being booked in on the warrants, the officer spoke to the second suspect who, according to Simpson’s second account, was the individual who allegedly stole the check out of the mailbox.

Gill Simpson, 43, of Las Vegas, Nev. booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Sept. 15, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The inmate told police they had “never seen the check in their life” and added they had no access to the mailbox the check was delivered to.

Following the interview, the suspect was also booked on one third-degree felony count of forgery and misdemeanor one count each of theft of mail and having no insurance, both misdemeanors.

On Wednesday, additional charges were submitted to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review that include four third-degree felony counts of forgery and four misdemeanor counts of theft. The details relating to the charges have not yet been released.

Simpson was on probation on two cases at the time of his arrest involving forgery and mail theft charges that he pleaded guilty to last year. The warrants he was arrested on were issued in both cases following a series of probation violations that were outlined in a report.

Simpson was also charged with misdemeanor drug offenses following a home visit by Adult Probation and Parole in December. That case is still pending with the courts.

In another case, Simpson was arrested by rangers at Sand Hollow State Park in September 2019 for reportedly attempting to pay the entrance fee with a counterfeit $100 bill. As soon as the ranger retrieved the bill from the entrance station, he could tell “immediately” the bill was fake judging from the texture of the paper it was printed on.

Following the arrest, the report also states additional charges were filed against the suspect, including multiple forgery charges, by multiple agencies throughout Southern Utah and Mesquite, Nevada, where police were able to match the suspect with surveillance footage recovered from various stores and businesses where the counterfeit bill were used.

Simpson was on probation on that case, as well as another case where he pleaded guilty to mail theft, at the time of his arrest last week. Warrants were issued in both cases following a series of probation violations that were outlined in a report.

The suspect remains in custody on the warrants as well as the recent charges and is scheduled to appear before District Judge G. Michael Westfall for a hearing scheduled in 5th District Court on Friday.

This report is based on statements from court records, 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.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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