Bail-jumping burglar Ronald Rampton has surrendered, but it is not known whether his parents will be able to get back the retirement savings they put up as bail.
Rampton disappeared from his parents' St. George home on the eve of his sentencing, which was to have been Jan. 8.Rampton had pleaded guilty to 28 burglaries between December 1994 and his arrest last June. Among items stolen from his parents' neighbors were a first-edition Book of Mormon and family heirlooms. He demanded money for the heirlooms from wealthy businessman Hyrum W. Smith before police recovered them.
Fifth District Judge James Shumate freed Rampton on a reduced $10,000 bond. At the time, Rampton and two co-defendants also faced federal indictments in Nevada for allegedly breaking into automated teller machines in Mes-quite.
Rampton, 35, removed an electronic monitoring device from his ankle and fled the night before Shumate was to sentence him. A few days ago, Rampton called his attorney, who instructed him to surrender.
Authorities had not interviewed Rampton by Wednesday evening, and a new sentence date has yet to be set.
"I hope he enjoyed his freedom because it will be a while before he sees daylight again," said Washington County Attorney Eric Ludlow.
Under the original plea deal, prosecutors were to recommend that his state prison time be served concurrently with any federal sentence he may receive in the Nevada heists.
Ludlow may no longer be bound by that promise, and Rampton could face additional felony charges of absconding in state court and unlawful flight charges in federal court.
State law allows bail skippers 60 days to turn themselves in before their bonds are forfeited. Rampton was gone for 69 days and was given several days grace, said Ludlow.
The prosecutor was not sure if the fugitive returned soon enough to save the retirement money put up by Rampton's parents, George and Carol Rampton.
A tip last April prompted a police investigation that broke up the burglary ring. In June, St. George detectives recovered $150,000 worth of loot, including most of the Smith family's historic treasures such as a watch from 19th century LDS Church patriarch Hyrum Smith and the rare Book of Mormon valued at $30,000.
Those and other items purportedly were seized from the homes and vehicles of Ronald Rampton and his co-defendants, John Douglas Cribbs and Dayne Mitchell, both 34.
Also charged was Rampton's wife, April Killips, 26, who faces trial next month on charges of possession of stolen property. Cribbs and Mitchell are in prison.
At the time of his arrest, Rampton was on probation for stalking his ex-wife. Court documents indicate that he violated protection orders three times last year after she filed for divorce.