ST. GEORGE — A suspect known to officers in Washington City was arrested for allegedly entering a business wearing only a shirt over the weekend and was later tied to a residential burglary reported one day prior after the property owner found him in a basement apartment.
On Sunday officers responded to a home in Washington City on a report of a residential burglary in progress after the property owner called 911 reporting they had just caught the suspect in a unit who then fled from the property riding a newer red bicycle.
The suspect was described as a white male approximately 60 years of age, no teeth weighing about 250 pounds and wearing only white underwear, according to charging documents filed in 5th District Court.
The caller also reported the suspect had a knife tucked into his underwear and he appeared very animated and frightened.
Officers arrived and spoke to the homeowner who said he had just returned from a camping trip and noticed one of the basement windows was open and the basement door locked, leading him to believe there was someone inside the room.
The homeowner said he forced his way through the door where he encountered the suspect who was in the kitchen of the basement apartment holding a knife. The suspect then grabbed a hatchet and then dropped it as he fled from the property, leaving his belongings scattered across the living room.
Meanwhile, officers circulating the area on foot and in vehicles were unable to locate the suspect.
The property owner told officers that over the last few months, he had noticed several tools that were stored in a nearby shed and additional items that were missing, the report states, including a large tote which contained a grinder and chemicals as well as a number of band saws.
The owner also voiced his concern, telling officers the suspect did not make any threats and he feared the man may have had a mental health issue.
The following day, officers were dispatched to a restaurant in Washington City shortly after 10 a.m. on a report of a man who was inside of the business wearing only a black shirt.
“Initial reports made by a customer described the male as wearing a black shirt, no pants or underwear, and approximately 60 years old,” the officer wrote in the report.
When officers arrived they found a man matching the description of the suspect who was riding a red bicycle who was barely covered by a shirt and had a pair of pants in hand.
The officer rolled down his window and yelled for the man to stop, which is when the suspect cut across the parking lot and continued behind a business, then through a bank drive through before he headed south on 2450 East in St. George.
As the suspect “showed no inclination of stopping and even seemed to pedal faster when I pulled up beside him,” the officer got out of his patrol vehicle and grabbed the bicycle, pulling the suspect to the ground.
The officer also noted the man was in a public area easily visible from the road wearing no pants with his genitals “in clear view of the public eye.” The officer helped the man put his pants on.
The man was later identified as Dante Couturier, approximately 60 years of age and who police say also matched the description of the suspect possibly involved in the residential burglary reported the previous day.
When asked why he had been in the business without any pants on, Couturier explained he had spilled soda on his pants and believing his shirt to be adequate to cover him, he proceeded to take the pants off to dry while he remained in the business. The suspect also denied ever being involved in the incident at the basement apartment reported one day earlier.
The suspect was cleared by medical and then transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility and booked into jail. He was charged Tuesday with second-degree felony residential burglary, and two misdemeanor charges for lewdness and failing to stop on command of law enforcement.
He was also arrested on active warrants issued on two theft cases filed last year.
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.
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