‘Strong smell’ in downtown St.  George leads to the arrest of a Texas fugitive wanted for kidnapping and robbery – St George News
5 mins read

‘Strong smell’ in downtown St. George leads to the arrest of a Texas fugitive wanted for kidnapping and robbery – St George News

File photo courtesy of Utah Attorney General’s Office, St. GeorgeNews

ST. GEORGE – A suspicious odor and false identity statements led to the early morning weekend arrest of a fugitive wanted out of Texas for aggravated robbery and kidnapping, as well as multiple charges filed in Washington County.

2016 file photo for illustrative purposes only showing St. Police officers. George at the scene in St. George George, Utah, December 18, 2016 | St. News George

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

The officer noticed a man sitting on the stairs, who quickly got to his feet as soon as the patrol changed direction. According to charging documents filed in court, when the officer approached him, he began acting suspiciously.

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 marijuana smoke, and during the encounter, “the man’s story changed multiple times,” further arousing the officer’s suspicions.

The suspect was unable to find his ID card and instead pointed towards the bus stop where he said he left luggage containing personal items, including his ID card.

When the officer checked the name provided, it was not found. Meanwhile, the man’s girlfriend, who was talking to the suspect on the phone at the time, provided a different name and date of birth, which also did not bring any results.

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

When asked, the suspect stated that both cards belonged to his brother and he was detained until the officers checked his identity.

Meanwhile, the officer spoke with the suspect’s girlfriend, who was still on the phone and who gave her partner’s name as Andrew Jenkins, which differs from what she had told police minutes earlier.

The suspect’s description did not match the one on the ID card, and the address he provided was different from the current address provided for this person.

When confronted with the discrepancy, the suspect said his real name was Chaz Lecore Griffin, 23, from San Antonio, and told officers he had a warrant out of Texas.

The officer then learned after checking records that Griffin actually had two active warrants out of Texas – both of which allowed extradition from Utah. The first conviction was for an aggravated kidnapping with a weapon, and the second was for 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 an armed robbery reported in September 2018, according to court records filed in Bexar County.

A review of court records also revealed a criminal case filed after Griffin was arrested by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office following a domestic dispute that resulted in the suspect being charged with strangulation in January 2021.

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

In one of the bags, the officers found a firearm modified with a switch enabling automatic firing. The gun’s serial number appeared to be forged, 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 baggies of suspected marijuana that appeared to be individually packaged for distribution. The bag also contained more than $1,680 in cash, which evidence showed came from “illegal enterprises,” the report alleged.

During questioning, the suspect told officers that the ID issued in Jenkins’ name was fake and that it was issued to him while he was in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Stock image of a San Antonio Police Department patrol vehicle?| Photo courtesy of Flickr, St. GeorgeNews

He also testified that he told officers that the bank cards he had with him had been stolen.

The suspect was transported and booked into the Washington County Jail where he was charged with a second-degree felony count of possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person. He also faces possession of a false device and illegally obtaining a financial card, which are third-degree felonies, as well as three misdemeanor charges that include giving police false identifying information about an actual person and possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

Griffin is also in jail on two non-bailable first-degree arrest warrants out of Texas. He is currently in custody without bail.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2024, all rights reserved.