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Crime briefs

Published: Saturday, May 23 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

Burglary suspect faces 46 charges

A man accused of burglarizing vehicles at several Salt Lake apartment complexes was charged Friday with 46 different charges.

Prosecutors said Joe Peplow, 23, was seen on surveillance video as one male climbed over a gate at the Arlington Place apartment complex, 115 S. 1100 East, and let two other males through a pedestrian door. Four vehicles were burglarized, according to the charges filed in 3rd District Court.

On May 5 and 6 a total of eight vehicles were burglarized at the Aztec condominiums at 500 South and 1000 East, the charges state. Two vehicles were broken into at Hawthorne apartments at 727 E. 600 South, and another vehicle burglary occurred at the Garden Towers complex at 141 E. Second Avenue, according to the charges.

After reviewing surveillance video from all of the apartments, police interviewed Peplow, and he admitted to committing the burglaries with two other individuals, according to the charges.

Prosecutors filed an extensive report against Peplow, including 12 counts of theft, five counts of burglary, both third-degree felonies, 15 counts of vehicle burglary, two counts of criminal mischief, both class-A misdemeanors, and 12 counts of criminal mischief, a class-B misdemeanor.

— Cimaron Neugebauer

Man not mentally competent for trial

Michael Doyel, who is charged with kidnapping and murder, along with other crimes, has made good progress in his treatment at the Utah State Hospital, but still needs more psychiatric help before he can be declared psychologically able to go to trial, a judge decided Friday.

Third District Judge Judith Atherton said the report she received regarding Doyel's mental state was "quite hopeful — Mr. Doyel really does appear to be responding to treatment at the state hospital." However, the mental health professional who wrote the report concluded that Doyel still was mentally incompetent to stand trial.

The judge set Doyel's next review hearing for May 14, 2010.

Doyel, 48, is charged in Utah District Court in two separate cases with murder and kidnapping, both first-degree felonies, along with obstruction of justice and theft, both second-degree felonies. Prosecutors say Doyel killed his former girlfriend, Deborah Jones, and also took another person, Patricia Murray, a handicapped woman, with him on a cross country journey without the consent of her guardian.

Authorities found Jones' body in a plastic bin in the back of her car in Branson, Mo., on April 21, 2008.

Besides facing charges in the state court system, Doyel also is charged in federal court in the kidnapping of Jones.

— Linda Thomson

Man charged in rash of store robberies

A Taylorsville man was charged Friday in connection with a rash of recent 7-Eleven convenience store robberies.

Prosecutors charged Destry Kay Gagon, 36, with robbing six 7-Eleven stores in Salt Lake County between Feb. 21 and May 20. He was arrested just after committing the last robbery by a police officer who was in the area, according to charges filed in 3rd District Court.

An officer, who just happened to be in the area, caught the man just as he was leaving a 7-Eleven at 4811 S. State. Gagon walked out wearing a hoodie and carrying a knife and a drawer full of cash, the charges state.

Gagon was charged with six counts of aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor.

— Cimaron Neugebauer

Another suspicious blaze strikes Ogden

OGDEN — Another suspicious vacant structure fire, the second in two days, kept investigators busy Friday.

The latest incident happened just before 4 a.m. at 3111 Jefferson Ave. The building was abandoned and reportedly had a problem with transients, said Ogden Deputy Fire Chief Chad Tucker. The first arriving crews found heavy smoke and fire coming from the building, he said.

Crews were forced to fight the fire in a defensive mode, meaning they primarily applied water from the outside to prevent it from spreading to other structures. The heat and flames caused about $5,000 damage to the exterior of another building, Tucker said. The abandoned structure suffered about $75,000 in damage and was considered a total loss.

The fire comes on the heels of another blaze Wednesday night at an abandoned building at 1893 Childs Ave. That fire was in the same area where a rash of suspicious fires were started in 2008. The neighborhood is slated for a multimillion-dollar redevelopment project,

Marianne Mancuso, 48, was arrested in connection with some, but not all, of those fires last year. She reportedly told police she wanted to jump-start the redevelopment project.

Anyone with information on the latest fires may call Ogden police or fire at 801-629-8221.

— Pat Reavy

Machine seriously injures road worker

A road worker was seriously injured while working in South Jordan Thursday night.

South Jordan Police Capt. Nathan Morreale said, a 37-year-old woman was working on a road widening project on 10400 South — a main byway to South Jordan.

According to police, around 6:05 p.m. the road crew finished laying a section of road and began cleaning off the concrete-paving machine. The woman became trapped in the auger portion of the machine and was pulled in, Morreale said, and "co-workers were able to reverse the machine and get her back out."

Police said the woman received injuries to her chest and abdomen and was flown to Intermountain Medical Center in critical condition.

— Cimaron Neugebauer

Stabbing leaves man in serious condition

MAGNA — A stabbing Thursday left one man in serious condition and Salt Lake County sheriff's deputies looking for the attacker.

Just after 7 a.m., a 41-year-old man near 7800 West and 3350 South answered a knock at his door and was confronted by a 35-year-old man who demanded money, said Salt Lake County Sheriff's Lt. Don Hutson.

A struggle ensued inside the entry way. Investigators later found a significant amount of blood on the back of the door and inside the entry, Hutson said. Blood was also found spattered about the house, he said.

The intruder tied the victim up with a power cord, demanded money and stabbed the man in the chest several times when he felt like he wasn't getting enough, Hutson said.

As the attacker demanded more money, the victim was able to break free and punch the suspect in the face several times, Hutson said.

The intruder ran out, as did the victim, who ran to a friend's house. The victim was taken to a hospital. His injuries were not considered life-threatening.

The victim told police that he had never seen the intruder before. Investigators were questioning, however, whether the attack was random or whether drugs were involved.

The victim also told detectives the man had brought his own knife. But a search of the residence revealed two kitchen knives that had blood on them, Hutson said.

— Pat Reavy

Woman faces drug, alcohol charges

A Salt Lake woman is facing charges after attempting to enter a courthouse with alcohol in her purse.

The woman, who turned 19 this month, tried to enter Matheson Courthouse, 450 S. State, when she was stopped by deputies, according to the charges.

The woman was stopped because while entering the courthouse she placed her purse on the X-ray machine belt and "as the purse was X-rayed, (the deputy) observed a minibottle of vodka and a minibottle of whiskey inside of it," the charges state.

The woman admitted that the alcohol was hers and that she was only 18 at the time, according to the charges.

While looking through the purse, deputies also found a pill that the woman admitted was suboxone, the charges state. Suboxone is a prescription drug used to treat opiate addiction.

The woman also told deputies "My boyfriend's grandpa asked me to hold it to make sure my boyfriend takes it," according to the charges.

She was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, a third-degree felony, and unlawful possession or consumption of alcohol by a minor, a class B misdemeanor.

— Ethan Thomas

Woman arrested in kidnapping, assault

HIGHLAND — A judge set bail at $25,000 cash-only for a Highland woman arrested in the kidnapping of her two children and trying to run down her father in a school parking lot, police said.

Police say the mother came to Highland Elementary School Wednesday and tried to leave with her two young children, according to a police report.

However, due to a custody dispute through the Division of Child and Family Services, the children had been court-ordered into state custody and the woman was to have no contact with them.

The children's grandfather — the woman's father — was assigned by the judge to pick the children up from school, police said. When he arrived at the school and saw his daughter put the children in the car and try to drive away, he rushed to stand in front of her sport utility vehicle, and she slowed down. Police said the woman then accelerated and hit her father, then hit him a second time.

He grabbed onto the driver's side door and was dragged roughly 50 feet before he couldn't hold on any longer and fell off and rolled, the report states.

The woman drove off, and the father, who suffered scratches and bruises, was treated at the scene, police said.

Police located the woman a short time later and arrested her for investigation of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault and domestic violence in the presence of a child.

— Sara Israelsen-Hartley

Lawyer faces felony tax-evasion charge

The Utah State Tax Commission filed felony charges Wednesday against a Salt Lake attorney accused of failing to remit employee payroll taxes.

Brian W. Steffensen failed to remit nearly $100,000, including penalties and interest over the course of several years, the tax commission alleged in a press release.

Steffensen was charged with one count of unlawful dealing of property by a fiduciary and one count of tax evasion, both second-degree felonies.

"The attorney general's office and the Criminal Investigative Unit of the Tax Commission are both seriously concerned with employers who abscond with their employees' tax funds," said Charlie Roberts, Tax Commission spokesman. "Theft of these funds has a direct impact on honest taxpayers causing an increased tax burden on them when others refuse to pay."

— Cimaron Neugebauer

Man is accused of watching girl change

A Taylorsville man was arrested Wednesday for allegedly peeking into a dressing room occupied by a young girl.

Police said a man, 35, used a mirror to watch a 10-year-old girl change at a Taylorsville discount store at 1700 W. 4700 South.

The girl was shopping with her mother around 5:30 p.m. and went into the dressing room alone. In the change room, "she noticed a man watching her from the adjacent change room," police said. Store management and police were immediately notified.

Police said they encourage shoppers to use "the buddy system when going into vulnerable areas" like dressing rooms and watch for unusual use of cameras, mirrors or video cameras.

— Cimaron Neugebauer

W.V. police looking for a bank robber

WEST VALLEY CITY — Police are hoping to catch a suspected bank robber red-handed.

Just after 11 a.m., a man walked into Utah Central Credit Union, near 4000 West and 4100 South, brandished a handgun and demanded money, said West Valley Police Capt. Tom McLachlan.

The man left with an undisclosed amount of money in a car. That car, later determined to be stolen out of Salt Lake City, was found abandoned a short distance away near 5100 West and 3700 South, McLachlan said.

Some of the stolen money was found in the vehicle, as well as evidence that a red dye pack placed with the money had exploded.

Police dogs were able to follow the man's trail for awhile, but it eventually stopped. Detectives believe the man likely was picked up by another vehicle at that point.

Anyone with information can call police at 801-840-4000. McLachlan said things for the public to look for include someone having trouble getting red dye off their hands or money with red dye being passed around.

— Pat Reavy

Police investigating knife fight in Provo

PROVO — Police are investigating a knife fight between rival gangs Wednesday that sent one man to the hospital.

Two Provo men, Saul Cristobal, 20, and Lonny High, 18, were booked into jail for investigation of riot and aggravated assault with gang enhancements. Neither was injured in the fight, Argyle said.

Two groups of men — eight people ranging in age from 17 to 27 — met at Riverside Park at 1260 W. 600 North around 5:30 p.m. to discuss a recent argument, said Provo Police Capt. Cliff Argyle. The groups, which included rival gang members, brought bats and knives, and two men with knives began to fight and injure each other.

Residents at the park saw the fight and called police, who arrived as the men were fleeing, Argyle said.

The knife-wielder received a stab wound in his upper leg and shoulder area and superficial cuts on his chest, and he was taken to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center to be treated for his injuries, which were not life-threatening, Argyle said. Police say the other knife-fighter was injured, but he couldn't be located.

Argyle said officers know the names of all eight people involved and are still trying to iron out who was the victim and the suspect before making any arrests.

— Sara Israelsen-Hartley

2 men arrested in chain of burglaries

HURRICANE — Two St. George men were arrested Wednesday in connection with a chain of burglaries at several businesses in the Washington County area.

Brian C. Knight, 18, and Roger J. Wholey, 18, were booked into jail for investigation by Hurricane police for a non-dwelling burglary, theft, and criminal mischief, the Washington County Sheriff's Office announced in a press release.

The two men were also booked by Springdale police for investigation of burglaries in that city.

The men are also being investigated by Santa Clara police and the Mohave County Sheriff's Office in Arizona for a business burglary in Beaver Dam. The arrests bring a close to cases involving burglaries of the Dixie Eagles Club and the Mr. Sudz Carwash, said Hurricane Police Sgt. Stacey Gubler. Those burglaries were committed during the first two weekends of May.

A collaborative effort between all local agencies led to the arrests.

"This is a classic case of police agencies working together," Gubler said.

— Cimaron Neugebauer

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