Police investigate Washington City power tool theft and threat

Shallow depth of field image taken of yellow law enforcement line with police car and lights in the background.

ST. GEORGE — A Las Vegas man is accused of threatening an employee and taking more than $1,000 in power tools from a store in Washington City on Friday, and a second arrest took place after officers recovered multiple bank cards and ID cards during a search of a vehicle.

In this 2021 file photo for illustrative purposes only, Washington City Police officers are at the Sullivan Soccer Park in Washington City Utah, Feb. 19, 2021 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

On Friday, officers responded to a store on N. Bluff View Drive in Washington City shortly before 2 p.m., on a call involving a retail theft at the store.  

According to the probable cause statement filed with the court, officers arrived at the store to learn that more than $1,000 in power tools were taken from the business. 

Through the course of the investigation, officers identified the suspect as 32-year-old Scott Daniel Wesolaski, a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada. 

One of the store employees told police they had followed the suspect out of the store immediately after the incident, where the clerk observed Wesolaski loading the merchandise into a vehicle. 

According to the report, when the employee approached the suspect, Wesolaski allegedly told him he had a gun and said to back off. Officers learned the suspect had one of his hands in his pocket at the time. Believing the suspect was armed, the employee returned to the store and police were called. The suspect fled the parking lot in the vehicle. 

Officers canvassed the area in search of the car, which was later spotted and stopped by police. Officers spoke to the driver, a woman, who consented to a search of the vehicle. 

During the search, officers located all of the items purportedly taken from the business that were later returned to the store, as well as a coat that matched the one the suspect was wearing at the time of the incident. 

Officers also recovered suspected methamphetamine and paraphernalia that was strewn throughout the vehicle. According to the report, during a search of a lockbox located inside of the car, officers found suspected marijuana wrapped in plastic and what appeared to be methamphetamine.

Also recovered from the lockbox was a foldable wallet containing several different ID documents, including social security and debit cards belonging to six separate individuals. None of the cards or other documents belonged to either the suspect or the driver, nor did they belong to a third suspect, a passenger who was identified as 36-year-old Youssef Elbarhmi, also from Las Vegas. At that point, the two men were arrested. 

During an interview, Wesolaski told officers “he had stolen the power tools because he was trying to start a business,” the officer noted in the report.   

Police said Wesolaski went on to say at the time of the incident, he went into the store and placed three power tools in a shopping cart and then ran out the door still pushing the cart. As the interview continued, the suspect denied ever threatening the store clerk and said he never told the clerk he had a gun, the report states.

2020 stock image of Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 21, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Both suspects were then transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility. Because of allegations there was the threat of a weapon during the incident, a first-degree felony robbery charge against Wesolaski was submitted to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review. 

Wesolaski and Elbarhmi were booked into jail facing second-degree felony possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, along with third-degree felony count of unlawful acquisition of a financial card. Each also faces four misdemeanor counts of possession of another’s identifying documents and one possession of paraphernalia charge. 

Elbarhmi faces one additional count of possession of another’s identifying documents. 

Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the release of arrest booking photos until after a conviction is obtained. 

This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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