Officers arrest man suspected in carjacking, store robbery using skateboard as weapon

Composite image with background photo by Carlballou, overlay by Chalongrat Chuvaree, both iStock/Getty Images Plus | St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A carjacking and a robbery reported within minutes of one another led to first-degree aggravated robbery and several other felony charges for a Farmington man.

2013 file photo of the George Police department in St. George, Utah, Oct. 5, 2013 | File photo by Alexa Verdugo

Michael Maxwell Whitaker, 18, was arrested and jailed following an incident that began June 24 when officers were dispatched to a robbery that reportedly took place shortly after 11 a.m. in St. George.

Officers arrived and spoke to the 911 caller who said a man approached and then got into the reporting party’s vehicle in an effort to steal it, the officer noted in the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest.

Whitaker remained in the vehicle while searching for the keys and then exited when he was unable to find them. As soon as he got out, the report states, Whitaker reportedly confronted the owner demanding that he hand over the keys that were secured to the caller’s belt, all the while threatening the owner by extending his arm back as if he was going to punch him in the face, which authorities say caused alarm and fear for the owner.

Unable to get the keys, Whitaker fled on foot.

While patrol canvassed the area in search of the suspect, an officer viewed security footage that showed Whitaker approach the owner with his arms raised and one hand pointed in the direction of the caller, and the footage also showed the suspect get into the vehicle.

Meanwhile, as officers were still processing the scene of the attempted carjacking, a second robbery was called into the St. George Communications Center from an employee of a convenience store on River Road in St. George.

Officers responded and spoke to store employees who said the suspect entered the business and demanded cash, while purportedly threatening the staff with a skateboard the suspect was” holding in his hand during the commission of the crime,” the officer wrote in the report.

Officers learned that while the incident was transpiring, a customer inside the business also reported being threatened with the skateboard.

Employees told officers the suspect said he would physically assault them with the skateboard if they did not comply. As soon as the money was placed on the counter, the suspect grabbed the cash and fled the store on foot.

Officers caught up with the suspect who matched the description of the individual involved in both incidents, and they ordered the suspect to stop running – commands that police say went unheeded as the suspect continued to flee.

Shortly thereafter, Whitaker was arrested on Diagonal Street. Officers also determined that Whitaker was identified as the suspect reportedly responsible for both the carjacking and the robbery of the store on River Road.

During a search of the suspect, officers recovered an undisclosed amount of cash from his pocket that matched the amount of money taken from the store on River Road.

Whitaker was transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility facing first-degree felony aggravated robbery in connection with the incident at the store, being that he threatened to strike the employees with a skateboard – an object that the officer said was capable of causing death and or serious bodily injury.

The suspect also faces second-degree felony robbery in connection with the attempted carjacking since the suspect attempted to take the owner’s car by threatening physical force, the report states.

Whitaker also faces three third-degree felony counts of aggravated assault for threatening two store employees and the customer with “a deadly weapon.” He also faces one misdemeanor charge for failing to stop at command of police, along with one count of disorderly conduct based on the suspect’s reckless conduct that caused alarm.

The officer also asked that Whitaker remain in jail, citing the suspect’s dangerous behavior placed the public at risk, adding that Whitaker is ”clearly an endangerment to the citizens in our community due to his actions.”

The order to hold the defendant was signed by District Court Judge John J Walton and the suspect remains in jail on a no-bail hold as this report publishes.

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, 2022, all rights reserved.

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