Police arrest couple found in van parked near Bloomington Walmart

Composite image | St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Two suspects are facing felony theft charges after officers found them in a van reportedly stolen out of Reno, Nevada — not a first for the driver who was arrested over the summer in a box truck reportedly stolen from a local appliance store.

2018 file photo of the Bloomington Walmart store on Pioneer Road in St. George, Utah, May 7, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

The arrests stem from an incident Saturday afternoon when officers were dispatched to the Pilot Travel Center located on South 60 East off Brigham Road in St. George to follow up on a report of a suspicious vehicle.  

According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrests, the caller told officers the vehicle in question was an older model van and was still parked in the gas station parking lot. The witness added that the van was seen in the parking lot of Walmart on Pioneer Road the day before and that the two occupants of the van were seen peering into other vehicles as they walked through the parking lot. 

The report says the officer noticed there wasn’t a license plate on the van and that all of the windows were covered. When the officer checked the vehicle identification number, it came back as stolen out of Reno, Nevada, and the vehicle matched the 2000 Chevrolet van in the report. At this time, there were two individuals in the van. 

Police say while speaking to the driver, later identified as John Thomas McAdoo, 30, of Apple Valley, California, the suspect told police that he and the passenger, identified as Roni Renee Hatton, 30, of Sonora, California, had arrived in St. George the previous evening and were cold. When they spotted the van in the parking lot with all of its doors open, McAdoo reportedly said it appeared to be abandoned so they got in the vehicle to get out of the cold.

During an inventory of the vehicle, officers allegedly found a vial containing a clear liquid substance that later tested positive for methamphetamine. When asked, the suspect denied any knowledge of the vial and said he had no idea who it belonged to, the report states, adding that the passenger refused to answer any of the officer’s questions. 

This is not the first time McAdoo has been arrested in a stolen vehicle.

During a records check, officers found an active felony warrant for McAdoo’s arrest that was issued out of 5th District Court on a case involving a box truck reportedly stolen six months earlier.

On June 28, police were called by a wholesale appliance store in St. George reporting that one of their trucks had turned up stolen. The following day, the truck was located by a deputy with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office in Southern California who notified Utah authorities he had stopped the truck and arrested the driver, later identified as McAdoo.

High Desert Detention Center in Adelanto, Calif. | Photo courtesy of Google Maps, St. George News

It was when the deputy ran a records check on the vehicle that he discovered it was stolen out of St. George, court documents state.  

When officers in Southern California inventoried the truck, they found a motocross motorcycle owned by a man living in Riverton, Utah.

When the owner of the motorcycle was contacted, he told authorities he had no idea the bike was even missing and reportedly said the bike was kept at a storage unit in St. George.

McAdoo was arrested and transported to the High Desert Detention Center, a 700-bed facility in Adelanto, approximately 80 miles east of Los Angeles, where he was booked on theft charges. Four months later, the felony theft case was filed in Utah, and the warrant for the suspect’s arrest was issued Dec. 16 after McAdoo failed to show up for a hearing in 5th District Court.

Following the arrest Saturday, McAdoo and Hatton were both transported and booked into jail in Washington County facing second-degree felony theft and misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance and paraphernalia. 

McAdoo was also booked into custody on the warrant.

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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