Suspect in jail after 4-day U-Haul rental turns into 30-day alleged theft

Stock photo by mokee81/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A local man is in jail after the U-Haul truck he rented was reported stolen.

Matthew Allyn Newtown-Carrillo, 19, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Dec. 16, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Nearly a month after the truck left the lot, the rental company called police to report that it had not been returned. On Monday, officers responded to the report of a vehicle theft involving the U-Haul truck, which was rented on Nov. 18 but was not returned at its expected time four days later, according to charging documents submitted to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review.

Through the course of the investigation, officers learned that several employees of the rental company attempted to contact the individual who rented the vehicle – Matthew Newtown-Carrillo, 19, of St. George – but were unsuccessful.

The truck was officially reported stolen Monday, and the truck’s description, rental information and license plate number were listed in NCIC, the national crime computer that can be accessed by law enforcement nationwide.

The 20-plus day delay in reporting the truck as stolen isn’t that uncommon, St. George Police Officer Tiffany Akin said, as the rental company will generally make every attempt — and even multiple attempts – to contact the customer before going to the police.

Later on Monday, the report states, officers spotted a U-Haul truck parked at a motel on St. George Boulevard, and after confirming the truck’s license plate number, officers located Carrillo in one of the motel rooms.

According to police, Carrillo admitted to keeping the truck beyond the return date and said he knew he should have taken it back. He went on to explain he kept the truck because all of his belongings were still inside it, Atkin said, and with no other place to store the items, the moving truck served as a makeshift storage unit.

Carrillo told police that the truck keys were in the motel room that he was staying in temporarily, which was also listed under his name.

While young adults under the age of 25 are typically prohibited from renting a car due to minimum age requirements set by a number of larger car rental agencies, U-Haul’s age requirements are much different. To rent a trailer the driver must be 16, and for a moving truck the minimum age is 18.

The U-Haul truck was impounded by police and the suspect was transported and booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility facing one second-degree felony count of theft. He remains in custody on $10,000 bail.

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

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