“Strong odor” in downtown St. George leads to arrest of Texas fugitive wanted for kidnapping, robbery – St George News

File photo courtesy of the Utah Attorney General’s Office, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – A suspicious odor and false identity claims led to the early weekend morning arrest of a fugitive wanted out of Texas on aggravated robbery and kidnapping charges, in addition to several charges filed in Washington County.

2016 file photo, for illustration purposes only, depicting St. George Police officers on a scene in St. George, Utah on December 18, 2016 | News from Saint-George

An officer patrolling the Main Street area became suspicious when he came across the “strong odor” of marijuana smoke coming from a stairwell near the rear entrance of the former Kmart shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday in St. George.

The officer noticed a man sitting on the stairs who quickly got up once the patrol unit reversed direction. He began behaving suspiciously as the officer approached, according to charging documents filed with the court.

When asked, the man identified himself as Kevin Cook and said he was waiting for a bus to San Antonio, Texas. The officer noted that the man appeared nervous when asked about smoking marijuana and that during the encounter, “the man’s story changed several times,” which further aroused the agent’s suspicions.

The suspect was unable to find his ID card and instead pointed in the direction of the bus stop where he said he left his luggage which contained his personal belongings, including his ID card.

When the agent performed a records check on the name provided, it came back as not found. Meanwhile, the man’s girlfriend, who was on the phone with the suspect at the time, provided a different name and date of birth, which also yielded no results.

The suspect consented to a search of his person, the report states, during which the officer recovered a debit card in Cook’s name as well as a Florida ID card and a second debit card issued to an individual with the last name of Jenkins.

When questioned, the suspect said both cards belonged to his brother, and that’s when he was detained until officers could verify his identity.

In the meantime, the officer spoke to the suspect’s girlfriend who was still on the phone and who said her partner’s name was Andrew Jenkins, which was different from what she had told police a few minutes later. early.

The suspect’s physical description did not match that on the identification card and the address he provided was different from the address currently listed for this person.

When confronted with the discrepancies, the suspect said his real name was Chaz Lecore Griffin, 23, of San Antonio, and he told officers he had warrants for his arrest from Texas.

The officer then learned through a records check that Griffin actually had two active arrest warrants from Texas, both extraditable from Utah. The first was returned in connection with an aggravated kidnapping case involving the use of a weapon, while the second was returned in connection with an aggravated robbery case filed in Bexar County.

This case was filed after Griffin was arrested by San Antonio Police Department officers in connection with a reported armed robbery in September 2018, court records filed in Bexar County show.

A review of court records also revealed a felony case filed after Griffin was arrested by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office following a domestic fight that resulted in a strangulation charge filed against the suspect in January 2021.

Griffin was arrested by St. George Police officers at the scene on arrest warrants while the suspect’s luggage was inventoried prior to transport.

In one of the bags, officers recovered a firearm modified with a switch giving it automatic firing capabilities. The firearm’s serial number appeared to have been tampered with, leading the officer to suspect it may have been stolen or illegal.

Officers also found a large amount of cash in the same bag as the firearm, as well as several bags of suspected marijuana that appeared to be individually packaged for distribution. The bag also contained more than $1,680 in cash, which evidence indicated was money from “illegal businesses,” according to the report.

During an interview, the suspect told officers the ID card in Jenkins’ name was fake and said it was made for him while he was in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Image of San Antonio Police Patrol Vehicle?| Photo courtesy of Flickr, St. George News

He also reportedly told police that the bank cards he had on him had been stolen.

The suspect was transported and booked into Washington County, facing a second-degree felony count of possession of a dangerous weapon by a regulated person. He also faces possession of a counterfeit device and illegal acquisition of a financial card, each a third-degree felony, as well as three misdemeanor charges, including providing police with false personal information about a real person and possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

Griffin is also being held in jail on two first-degree felony no-bail warrants issued in Texas. He currently remains in custody without bail.

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