Officers with the Lindon Police Department apprehended three men they believe are involved in several thefts across the nation.
According to the probable cause statements filed in support of the arrests, authorities were dispatched to a Lindon Walmart just before 2:30 p.m. Thursday on reports of a theft in progress.
When officials arrived, they made contact with two individuals, identifying themselves as law enforcement officers and ordering them to stop. Both individuals refused to comply with orders, fleeing on foot.
One of the men, later identified as 19-year-old Jaylen Anthony Allen Sulton of Benton Harbor, Mich., was apprehended by police while getting into a vehicle with another individual inside, according to arrest documents.
The individual inside of the vehicle was identified as 19-year-old Tipton Lamar Walker of Salt Lake City.
A short distance after Sulton was taken into custody, the other individual who fled from police, 18-year-old Antonio Darnel Johnson of Salt Lake City, was also apprehended.
Before being taken into custody, Johnson was searched and police allegedly discovered a small bag with a white powered substance in his front, right pocket, according to the probable cause affidavit.
After they were taken into custody, Sulton, Walker and Johnson agreed to speak with police, allegedly telling authorities they were on a road trip from Michigan to visit family. Walker, who was the driver of the vehicle, allegedly said he had just met the other two individuals who requested that he drive them around.
After further investigation, police allegedly discovered the car was rented to one of Walker’s family members but that he had been in possession of the vehicle throughout its rental period. Additionally, the license plate on the vehicle did not return to the vehicle to which it was attached.
The owner of the license plate was contacted and confirmed that the plate had been stolen off his vehicle prior to the arrests, according to arrest documents.
Authorities searched the vehicle and discovered several items from a local Walmart that were confirmed to have been stolen, with a total value of $1,800. Several magnets and tin foil were also found in the vehicle.
The tin foil and magnets were allegedly used to cover magnet strips on stolen items in an effort to prevent alarming security as the items were being stolen.
Loss prevention employees told police that Walker, Sulton and Johnson had allegedly taken a tote off the shelf, placed several items inside and left without paying for any of the items. The estimated value of the items stolen from the Lindon Walmart was $2,900.
Loss prevention employees with the nationwide Wal-mart Corporation advised police that Walker, Sulton and Johnson were also suspects in a number of thefts in multiple Walmart’s across the country, with the value of stolen items totaling almost $100,000.
The Walmart Corporation added the three men were suspected to be a part of a “shoplifting ring” that was responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in stolen items, according to the probable cause statements.
Sulton and Johnson were taken into custody under the suspicion of third-degree felony retail theft, third-degree felony alteration of vehicle license plate, class A misdemeanor failure to stop at the command of law enforcement, class A misdemeanor retail theft using detection-shielding devices, and class B misdemeanor theft by receiving stolen property.
Johnson also faces a potential charge for class A misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.
Walker was arrested under the suspicion of third-degree felony retail theft, third-degree felony alteration of vehicle license plate, class A misdemeanor retail theft using detection-shielding devices, and class B misdemeanor theft by receiving stolen property. He was also taken into custody on an active felony warrant for third-degree felony theft by deception.
All three men are currently being held at the Utah County Jail. Sulton is being held on $7,500 bail, Johnson is being held on $5,000 bail, and Walker is being held on $15,000 bail.
Arresting officers have petitioned the court to allow law enforcement to hold Walker, Sulton and Johnson without bail until the investigation is complete as they are considered multi-state offenders, have proven to be flight risks, and are suspicion of several more, unnamed crimes.