SOUTH SALT LAKE — South Salt Lake police say it may be another day or two before they finish going through the massive amount of suspected stolen items stored in and around a man's property.
In fact, police say the big break in the case came because the man apparently ran out of space to store all of his stolen items.
Anthony Lee Cantrell, 38, of South Salt Lake, was arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on Tuesday for investigation of 10 counts of theft by receiving stolen property, and four counts of receiving or transferring stolen property.
On Tuesday, South Salt Lake police were investigating a parking problem near 66 W. Oakland Ave. (2475 South). A box trailer was illegally parked in the road, said South Salt Lake police detective Gary Keller.
When officers ran the serial number on the trailer, they discovered it had been stolen, he said. That prompted officers to check other trailers parked on the property, and they also came back as stolen.
From there, Keller said, the investigation snowballed.
As of Tuesday night, 21 stolen motor vehicles, including boats, jet skis, four-wheel ATVs, and trailers were recovered and impounded, according to a jail report. Keller said that number is expected to go up.
"It's going to end up more than that once we get to the bottom of it," he said. "There's just a massive amount of stuff."
Investigators called owners on Tuesday to come and retrieve their stolen property as quickly as they could track them down. One man had his boat stolen a year ago, Keller said.
"He said, 'I just bought that thing, and I never ever got to use it.'"
Another item recovered was a riding machine used to paint stripes in parking lots.
Police did not have a count Wednesday of how many items had been seized from the property, but Keller said detectives were expected to be in the back yard of the house all day recovering stolen materials.
Cantrell "claimed that he was purchasing the vehicles from local classifieds for well below market value," the report states.
Keller said investigators may have a hard time proving whether Cantrell was stealing the items himself or purchasing stolen items from classified ads.
"A reasonable person would have known that the vehicles were stolen" based on how cheap he allegedly bought them for, the report states.
Keller said the items are believed to have been stolen from Davis and Utah counties. Whether it was physically possible for Cantrell to solely be responsible for all of the stolen items on his property was still under investigation Wednesday.
When police questioned some of Cantrell's neighbors, Keller said they didn't seem overly alarmed at the growing amount of trailers, cars and jet skis on his property.
"'I just thought he was collecting junk,'" Keller said one neighbor told him. "He really didn't think much of it."1 comment on this story
Cantrell was renting the house from Jack Erickson, who said he believed Cantrell was renting space to his friends.
"I would have never guessed it was all stolen goods," Erickson said.
Cantrell was first sent to the Utah State Prison in 1998 on a burglary conviction, according to court records. In 2002 he was sentenced to one to 15 years for burglary. Cantrell was sentenced to another term of up to five years in prison on a theft conviction in 2006. In 2008, he pleaded no contest to aggravated assault by a prisoner and was sentenced to an additional one to 15 years in prison.