$200,000 stolen from Bountiful man, family accused of crime

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 21 2011 6:24 p.m. MST

Gary Turley of West Bountiful had his life savings, $200,000, stolen from his home on Sept. 1. Police say the person who led the thieves there was his daughter. Turley said in an interview Dec. 21, 2011, that he still loves his daughter, but he doesn't understand why she turned on him.

Charlie Ehlert, Deseret News

WEST BOUNTIFUL — A man in West Bountiful lost his life savings in a home burglary, and police say the person who led the thieves there was the man's own daughter.

Gary Turley had $200,000 locked in a safe hidden in a closet, where he thought it would be safer than in a bank.

"I had my life savings in there," he said. "I was just getting ready to pay my mortgage off. I had stuff from my grandpa, who's dead now: his pocket watch, stuff like that. My Social Security cards, Visas, passports, birth certificates; everything to do with my checking (was in the safe)."

How it disappeared is almost worse than losing it in the first place.

In late August, Turley was celebrating his daughter's wedding. He didn't know his new son-in-law well, nor did he know about the plot the couple had allegedly hatched to clean him out — a plan to steal the safe containing money he scrimped and saved for 20 years.

Police say a couple of days after the wedding, Turley's daughter and new son-in-law got cold feet and abandoned their plot.

"I think they realized the error of their ways. It was just a bad idea," said West Bountiful Police Chief Todd Hixson.

But the groom's brother, cousin, and friends were still up for it and went to Turley's house on Sept. 1, Hixson said.

Turley said he knew something was wrong when he returned home that day and the doors of the house were open. He could see that a cart had gone through the house, damaging several walls.

Then he noticed the safe was gone. He said he started shaking and just stared at the empty closet in disbelief.

"It would be a horrible feeling just to have your home broken into, but to know that it was that close to home would be devastating," Hixson said.

Police say the four men — Wayne Clark,24, Steven Hogge, 41, Anthony Welch, 35, and Joshua Watts, 19 — distributed the money four ways. They and their girlfriends and wives allegedly blew through almost all of it in a couple of days.

Now, nine people have been named in the investigation of the crime, however, the four men are the only ones officially cited with 2nd-degree theft and burglary charges.

Turley had a gut feeling the couple was involved and called police. As far as getting any of the money back, police recovered about $30,000 that one of the suspects had buried in his backyard, but the rest is probably gone for good.

"When you're a victim of a crime, it cuts you deep," Hixson said. "And it's something that everybody has to think about."

Turley goes to court every week for the criminal proceedings against each suspect in the case. Turley says he still loves his daughter, but doesn't understand why she would turn against him.

"How another person can turn against your dad," asked Turley holding back tears, "I just don't understand that. I just don't understand that."

E-mail: jstagg@ksl.com

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