A Salt Lake City man is in custody after allegedly stealing thousands of dollars of merchandise from an Orem business Thursday.
Officers with the Orem Police Department responded to reports of a burglary at an Orem business Thursday. Officers were advised that the business’ location had been broken into sometime during the night and thousands of dollars of merchandise had been taken, according to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest.
The reporting party — one of the employees of the business — was able to provide police with video surveillance. Footage showed two vehicles entering the parking lot and parking in front of the camera on the building. Police were able to obtain a license plate number on one of the two vehicles.
Police observed a man wearing a hoodie get out of the vehicle while a female remained inside the car. After some time, the second vehicle pulled into the parking lot and another man exited the vehicle. The man went over to the other male suspect, and the two men began grabbing boxes from an area behind an unlocked gate.
One of the two men is then allegedly seen on the video footage taking a pair of bolt cutters from his vehicle and cutting the lock off of an enclosed area with some help from the other individual.
According to arrest documents, the two men were then observed grabbing several items from the work trailer parked outside of the business and placing them in the vehicle before driving away from the scene. The items included cord reels and other plumbing and heating related items.
A neighboring business was also burglarized at the same time. Video surveillance from the second business allegedly showed the same two vehicles cutting the lock off of a storage shed and taking several extension cords and ladders.
Using the plate information, authorities were able to identify the vehicle’s registered owner and locate each of the suspects involved. Orem police made contact with the Unified Police Department, giving officers over the Kearns municipality the address where the suspects were located.
Authorities with the Unified Police Department advised Orem officials that the owners of the residence were under investigation and the residence — along with a secondary location — were currently being watched.
Unified police provided Orem authorities with the information of the registered owner of the other vehicle, which returned to a 69-year-old Charles Arthur Cooper of Salt Lake City, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Orem police compared stills of the man involved in the burglary with Cooper’s driver’s license picture and reportedly determined he was an occupant of one of the two vehicles present at the time of the burglary.
On Friday morning, Unified police executed a search warrant on one of the two residences and took four individuals into custody. Orem police were allowed to interview the four suspects.
Authorities spoke with Cooper first, who told police he owns one of the vehicles. His vehicle, including a missing front bumper, matched the description of one of the vehicles involved in the burglary.
Cooper was allegedly reluctant to speak with police and initially denied being in Orem. However, he reportedly said he was with his vehicle in Orem on the night of the burglary at a nearby 7-11.
One of the other individuals told police she was with Cooper, another man and another woman at the time of the burglary. The woman allegedly said she and the group made two trips to Orem on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, adding that on the second trip she was present with the group as they went to the second business.
According to arrest documents, the woman also identified the other man from a still picture of one of the suspects obtained from the video surveillance footage. She said two of the extension cords taken from one of the businesses was also at their residence.
The other individuals corroborated the woman’s accounts of the night’s events and identified the three individuals present in the surveillance footage.
Officers arrested Cooper under the suspicion of second-degree felony theft, third-degree felony theft, third-degree felony burglary and class B misdemeanor criminal mischief.
On the way to the Utah County Jail, Cooper allegedly told police he was at the businesses at the time of the burglaries but denied physically taking anything, adding that he knew where the ladders were.
Arresting officers have requested that Cooper be held without bail “as he is a menace to society” with two pending theft cases from incidents over the past few months, according to the probable cause statements.
He is currently being held at the Utah County Jail.