California authorities arrest Utah fugitive after pursuit, crash, foot chase

ST. GEORGE — A local man suspected of being the alleged ring leader of a fraud ring in Washington County was arrested in Lodi, California.

Frank Gene Powell, 50, of Washington County, booking photo taken at San Joachin County Jail, French Camp, Calif., Oct. 15, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the San Joachin County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

On Tuesday afternoon, detectives with the Lodi Police Department in California received information that 50-year-old Frank Powell, a parolee from Utah, was in the Lodi area. Powell was wanted on a fugitive warrant out of Utah in connection with a parole violation on a homicide conviction.

Lodi Police Lt. Mike Manetti told St. George News that detectives received information that Powell may be staying at a residence in the 600 block of South Washington Street in Lodi, and they responded to the area to watch for the suspect.

“We only knew at that point that Powell was wanted on a parole violation and that he was listed as armed and dangerous,” Manetti said.

Detectives spotted the suspect as he left the home. As soon as he got in a vehicle and pulled away, they got behind the suspect’s vehicle and  activated their lights as they followed the car.

Manetti said that instead of pulling over, the suspect sped off and crashed less than a mile from where the pursuit started. Powell then jumped from the vehicle and fled from police on foot, a chase that ended shortly after it began when officers caught up to the suspect quickly and placed him into custody.

“The whole thing, the pursuit and foot chase, from start to finish, happened very quickly, and then it was over,” Manetti said.

Powell was later booked into the San Joaquin County Jail located in French Camp, California, where he is being held without bail on the fugitive warrant out of Utah, according to jail records.

San Joachin County Jail, a 1,500 bed facility in French Camp, Calif., date not specified | Photo courtesy of the San Joachin County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Powell was also booked on charges stemming from the pursuit, crash and foot chase, including one felony count of evading police with wanton disregard for safety and one misdemeanor count of hit-and-run with property damage. He is being held on $105,000 bail in that case and is scheduled to appear Monday in San Joaquin Superior Court.

Powell was listed as a dangerous offender, Manetti said, “so I’m just happy we were able to get this guy off the street.”

In the Utah case, the warrant for Powell’s arrest was filed by the Board of Pardons for a parole violation, and according to multiple probable cause statements filed in connection with several other suspects, Powell is also listed as the primary suspect in a fraud ring that was exposed two weeks ago after police received reports that an elderly woman was being exploited.

Powell allegedly received approximately $150,000 in addition to a cabin that was signed over to him for zero money down in July, county records show.

Adult Probation and Parole agents have been pursuing the suspect for weeks, but authorities allege he has eluded capture with the assistance of his 73-year-old mother, Gloria Powell, who was arrested Tuesday on a $50,000 warrant issued on charges of third-degree felony obstructing justice for allegedly tipping her son off and lying to police.

Court records indicate she called her son to alert him that authorities were on their way to arrest him Oct. 9 while he was allegedly hiding out at a residence in Washington County. Authorities also allege that she aided the suspect over the course of several days shortly before her arrest. She was released later that same day after posting bond.

Frank Powell remains in custody in California while Utah Department of Corrections agents are working on extradition arrangements to bring the suspect back to Utah once the California case is resolved.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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