2 in custody on theft, conspiracy charges following series of thefts at local gym

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ST. GEORGE — Two suspects were arrested in connection with a theft reported at a local gym after officers found the pair in an area hotel.

Stock image | Photo by KzlMax/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

And during a search of both the room and the vehicle they were driving, police reportedly recovered a significant amount of the merchandise.

St. George Police officers were dispatched shortly after 9 p.m Tuesday to a gym on Bluff Street on a report of a retail theft and arrived to learn a suspect reportedly had taken merchandise from the pro shop inside the gym.

According to charging documents filed with the court, the reporting party told police a woman entered the equipment department in the pro shop and took several Lulu Lemon-brand clothing items and left the store without paying.

The suspect then drove away in a black SUV that was lifted with big tires, the report states.

Shortly thereafter, the complainant called back to report that the same woman had made three separate trips to the business over the course of a few days and reportedly had taken $2,000 in merchandise, paying for none of it.

The suspect was identified as 20-year-old Madalyn Sydney Morris, 20, of St. George, and the driver of the SUV that Morris allegedly was seen leaving in later was identified as Jesus Brambila, 26, who is a member at the gym.

According to the report, officers responding to an unrelated call at an apartment complex several days earlier found a large amount of property left abandoned in one of the units previously rented by Morris and Brambila. Officers also found several items of clothing with sales tags still attached, leading investigators to suspect the items were stolen.

In the meantime, a patrol officer noticed a black GMC Yukon, which matched the description of the SUV in the gym theft report, parked near one of the area hotels on St. George Boulevard. Through the window, the officer could see a vast amount of property and merchandise in the back of the vehicle, including many items of clothing with the tags still attached.

Suspecting that the items might be connected to the theft reported at the gym, officers went to the room where the suspects reportedly were staying and found the pair. Both suspects were taken into custody on outstanding warrants, and the hotel room was secured by police.

While speaking to officers, Brambila said he did not know anything about the thefts but did say he had been staying in the room with Morris for some time.

File photo for illustrative purposes only of police officers on Bluff Street in St. George, Utah, March 3, 2022 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The report also states that Morris requested an attorney as soon as she was asked about the thefts, and all questioning ceased at that point.

During a search of the hotel room, officers located many items of clothing, purses and other items, similar to the merchandise found inside the SUV.

Brambila was transported to jail and faces a felony conspiracy charge, based on the witness reports that it was Brambila whom witnesses saw driving the SUV during the three separate theft-related incidents at the gym.

With warrant in hand, officers searched the motel room, where they found merchandise matching the items taken from the gym. Additional items from the gum also were recovered from the SUV parked outside.

Officers also recovered a prescription bottle that contained 24 pills of suspected fentanyl floating in the tank of the toilet, and officers suspected it was placed in the tank by Morris minutes earlier.

Morris was transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility and faces third-degree felony theft, as well as misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance and obstruction of justice for allegedly hiding the pill bottle in the toilet tank.

At the time of the arrests, Morris had an open case file in March involving burglary charges.  In that case, she allegedly was identified from the home’s surveillance system. Officers viewed the footage and watched as the suspect entered the attached garage and then one of the vehicles. She was later seen leaving the property carrying a purse allegedly taken from the vehicle.

She later was arrested and charged with felony burglary and misdemeanor vehicle burglary, and the case is still pending in the courts.

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, 2022, all rights reserved.

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