Man allegedly involved in string of burglaries in St. George arrested; 2 suspects still at large

ST. GEORGE — A California man is in jail in Washington County following an investigation into a string of business burglaries reported last year that resulted in a total of $35,000 in merchandise lost. Two codefendants suspected in the crimes remain at large.

File photo of River Road near 1540 South in St. George, Utah, Jan. 7, 2021 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The arrest stems from an investigation into a series of burglaries involving high-end hair and IV therapy hydration products that were stolen from three business, the first of which was reported Dec. 25, 2020, at a salon in St. George, according to the arrest warrant filed in 5th District Court.

Officers were called in to investigate the incident and obtained security footage captured by the salon’s security system that showed three suspects, a man and two women, cutting through the lock that secured the side door to gain access to the business.

Once inside, authorities allege the trio took a significant number of items that were then loaded into a U-Haul truck, and then they drove off.

According to the report, the following day, a second salon business reported a burglary involving the same three suspects – as seen on surveillance footage captured from inside the store. The suspects were seen entering the business after removing one of the windows located next to the entrance door, and again they were seen loading the merchandise into a U-Haul truck before driving away from the scene.

While viewing the footage, officers could make out an identification number that was printed on the side of the truck, and when they contacted the company they learned that number was assigned to a truck rented by an individual out of the Salt Lake City area on Dec. 23.

Through the course of the investigation, officers learned there was also a third burglary reported at a hydration company in St. George on Dec. 24, a break-in that was not covered by the store’s surveillance system.

The report also states detectives have reason to believe the same three suspects were involved in the Christmas Eve break-in at the hydration business –  since the trio entered both stores after removing one of the windows.

Stock image of an Orange County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle in Santa Ana, California, date not specified | Photo courtesy of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Meanwhile, detectives in St. George were contacted by an investigator with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Southern California, who said they had recovered many items from a moving truck that appeared to be tied to the burglaries in Utah.

Detectives also learned from Orange County authorities that 66-year-old Scott Alan Angene, of Anaheim, California, had admitted to burglarizing the three businesses. The suspect also said he had an accomplice, known only as “Amy  O.” Officers were able to identify the suspect and during a meeting with officers, the woman reportedly denied taking part in any of the crimes and said she did not know anyone by the name of Angene.

Prosecutors then learned of another individual who had information on the burglaries and wanted to speak to detectives. The individual provided information on one of the suspects allegedly involved, identified as Heather Marie Walters, of Anaheim, California. Detectives conducted a forensic examination of one of the cell phones containing messages related to the crimes.

The analysis revealed text messages and photos shared between Walters and another individual that were directly linked to the burglaries, including one photo that showed a U-Haul truck fully loaded with items similar to what were reportedly taken from the businesses.

Authorities in Orange County then provided detectives with a thumb drive that contained the data collected from Angenes’ cell phone pertaining to conversations related to the burglaries, including one conversation where Angene texted Walters saying he has a friend who owns a salon and needs hair tools and other salon-related products. They also discuss how to remove a window and then agreed to meet in Salt Lake City.

Officers plotted the GPS coordinates of the two cell phones during the time of the incidents, an analysis that revealed both were pinging off of towers in the St. George area.

Officers then determined that a total of more than $35,000 in merchandise was taken between the three burglaries.

On June 2, a warrant for Angene’s arrest was issued by District Judge G. Michael Westfall and the suspect was taken into custody shortly after midnight and booked in jail in Washington County on Thursday.

Angene was then formally charged with second-degree felony theft and four third-degree felony counts of burglary, as well as misdemeanor criminal mischief.

Charges have also been filed against Walters, who has an active arrest warrant that was issued June 3 by District Judge Keith C. Barnes. The warrant is still outstanding with the courts.

No further information on a possible third suspect could be located during a review of court records.

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, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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