3 in jail face dozens of charges; off-duty officer in Washington City observes alleged credit card fraud

Stock image of Washington City Police patrol vehicle | St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY — Three suspects were arrested after an off-duty police officer observed one of the suspects unsuccessfully run multiple credit cards through a self-checkout at a store in Washington City.

2019 file photo of the Green Springs Drive-Telegraph Street intersection just east of the I-15 Exit 10 interchange, Washington City, Utah, July 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Officers were dispatched to a home improvement store on Telegraph Street after a report of suspected fraud Monday evening, according to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrests.

When officers arrived they were directed towards one suspect who was still at the checkout terminal, and as they approached, the report states the suspect ran towards the exit.

His efforts were thwarted when officers grabbed the man and took him to the ground, which is when a struggle ensued until the suspect was handcuffed and detained.

The suspect was later identified as Naranjo Acosta Mayin-Estiven, 24, of Los Angeles, California. Estiven reportedly gave officers a different name when asked to identify himself, but his identity was later confirmed through fingerprint analysis.

Meanwhile, officers learned of a second possible suspect who had accompanied the suspect. The two were seen inside the store, and she was in the process of exiting the store while the scuffle was taking place near the checkout counter.

When officers told the woman to stop, she started running and seconds later was detained by police. She was identified as Erika Paola Aramillio-Moreno, 32, of Sun Valley, a neighborhood in Los Angeles.

Stock image of Purgatory Correctional Facility | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Officers also determined that Moreno was an accomplice and was in the store “for the sole purpose of aiding in the above-stated crimes,” the officer wrote.

During a review of the store’s security footage, officers observed a possible third suspect, a woman wearing pink, who was also inside the store at the time of the incident.

During a canvass of the area, the woman was spotted entering a restaurant across the street from the store, in what the report described as “an attempt to hide” from police.

She was located by officers and later identified as Maria Huartos Pinzon, 28, also from Los Angeles.

During a search of Estiven, officers found eight financial cards, seven of which were reportedly stolen in St. George, and one card that was reported as stolen out of Cedar City.

The owner of the seven financial cards reported that over $1,950 was withdrawn from their bank account, in addition to over $850 in charges at the home improvement store.

All three suspects were arrested and transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility and booked into jail shortly before 6 p.m.

Each faces nine third-degree felony charges, including eight counts of unlawful use of a financial transaction card and one count of theft. They also face a misdemeanor criminal conspiracy charge.

Estiven faces additional misdemeanor charges, including resisting arrest, providing false information to a peace officer and interfering with an arresting officer, while Moreno faces an additional misdemeanor charge for failing to stop at command of police.

Washington City Police Chief Jason Williams told St. George News that the investigation into these three suspects is ongoing and may result in further charges.

Moreno and Estiven remain in custody on a no-bail hold, while Pinzon was later released on her own recognizance on a pretrial release agreement by order of the court, which Williams said was primarily due to the suspect’s level of involvement. He added that while all three are suspected of working in concert — thus the conspiracy charge — Pinzon was less complicit, in addition to other factors that are still part of the ongoing investigation.

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, 2023, all rights reserved.

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