Woman arrested after allegedly going through safe at fast-food restaurant; 2nd suspect also arrested

Stock image by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A burglary at a local fast-food restaurant Saturday led to the arrest of two individuals for their alleged participation – one for committing the crime and the other for participating in the planning.

File photo of North Dixie Drive just north of McDonalds on Sunset Boulevard, St. George, Utah, Jan. 16, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

According to the probable cause statements filed in support of the arrests, officers were dispatched to the McDonald’s restaurant on Sunset Boulevard on Saturday for what was initially reported as a possible robbery in progress.

While en route, responding officers were advised the suspect had fled the restaurant and was last seen heading west towards the Albertson’s grocery store on foot.

The report states that officers were also advised there was no weapon involved and no physical altercation had taken place but that the suspect did flee the store with an unknown amount of cash that was taken from the safe.

Officers located the suspect, later identified as 36-year-old Laura Prince, near Walgreens on the south side of the building where she was being detained by two restaurant employees. She was arrested by officers and searched prior to being transported, during which a suspected marijuana pipe was recovered by police.

Officers returned to the restaurant and spoke to the employees who were present when the incident took place. One staff member told officers the suspect entered through the employee entrance and walked toward the office where the safe was located.

The employee said he saw the safe door open and the suspect rummaging through it, taking items from the safe and putting them in a wallet. When Prince was confronted, he said she fled out of the restaurant through the same employee door she entered through, with a staff member yelling at her to stop.

One of the employees followed after Prince, and as the pair ran into the parking lot, a bystander who had driven up offered to assist when the employee told them the suspect robbed the restaurant.

The bystander drove toward the Walgreens and stopped directly in front of the suspect, blocking her path. When the driver attempted to detain Prince, she pushed him, but she was ultimately held until officers arrived on scene.

Officers learned from another employee that Prince used to work at the restaurant, along with her boyfriend, Hayden Oliver. No one reported seeing Oliver in the area when the incident took place, but the employee “wanted to make us aware of him,” the officer wrote.

In this 2016 file photo for illustrative purposes only, police respond to a collision on Sunset Boulevard, St. George, Utah, Sept. 30, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

According to the report, Prince told officers she “was tired of not having any money and being homeless so she tried stealing the money from the safe.” The suspect also allegedly said she did not take any money from the safe, and then said she was going to use a money deposit bag that was already in the safe to transport the cash, but when she was confronted by the two employees she ran.

The suspect was transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility facing second-degree felony burglary and misdemeanor possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

Through the course of the investigation, officers obtained information indicating that Oliver, who had an active warrant for his arrest involving multiple domestic violence-related offenses, was also involved in the scheme and was in the area when the arrest took place.

Officers located Oliver at a park off Sunset, but when officers attempted to detain him, he allegedly refused until officers pulled their tasers, which is when the suspect was taken into custody.

Officers reported that during an interview with Oliver, denied having any knowledge or planning of the incident at the restaurant.

The suspect was arrested and searched prior to being transported to jail, during which officers recovered several different prescription drugs, along with marijuana and syringes. He was booked on felony drug possession and five misdemeanor drug and paraphernalia charges. He also faces one count each of conspiracy and interference with an arresting officer, each a misdemeanor.

According to the report, the drug charge was enhanced since the suspect allegedly possessed the narcotics while at the park, which is designated as a drug-free zone.

Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the release of arrest booking photos until after a conviction is obtained.

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, 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!