Stock photo | St. George’s News
ST. GEORGE- A Las Vegas woman accused of leaving four retailers with goods she allegedly did not pay for is in jail on theft and drug charges. She allegedly told the police that she was selling the stolen items to support her children.
Officers responded to a sporting goods store on River Road in St. George shortly after 4 p.m. on Sunday to an ongoing retail theft report, according to charging documents filed with the court.
Officers arrived to learn that the suspect had left the store driving a beige Toyota passenger car after leaving the store with a basket full of goods that were allegedly never paid for.
Officers began a search of the area looking for the Toyota heading north on River Road.
Meanwhile, officers reviewed security footage from the store which revealed a woman walking out of the store with a cart full of items without paying. She was 5-foot-6, 160 pounds, wore a tan dress, Nike tennis shoes with brown hair, and glasses.
Officers learned the woman had entered the store pushing a stroller about 30 minutes before the incident, and after looking around the store returned to the parking lot where she put the stroller in the trunk of the Toyota before to return to the store.
The woman filled the basket with several items and then walked out. Officers were also able to read the vehicle’s license plate from another video capturing the car’s departure, but could not determine what state it was issued in.
A “trace attempt” was broadcast to all officers to be on the lookout for the car.
Officers obtained information about the owner of the Toyota and contacted one of the owners who lived in Indiana, but she told police it was her ex-husband who lived in Las Vegas, Nevada, who was driving the car. She also said it would be “very unlikely” that her ex would commit any crimes, adding that he had rented the car several times using a rental app.
Agents confirmed the car was rented using a “Turo” app, and the co-owner in Las Vegas told agents he had a picture of the woman he rented the car from, as well all their contact details.
The woman who rented the Toyota was identified by her Nevada driver’s license as Jazmin Wilcox, of Las Vegas. When officers received the photo, they realized it did not match the suspect in the footage captured at the sporting goods store.
They contacted Wilcox, who confirmed that she had rented the Toyota the day before and was due to return it on Monday. She also told officers she was in Las Vegas all day, adding that she picked up the car at noon from a rental booth in a hotel parking lot and then parked the car at an unused booth. rented in the same parking lot.
Meanwhile, St. George officers located the tanned Toyota at a South Bluff Street gas station, which is when the woman, who matched the suspect captured in store surveillance footage, and the man behind the wheel, were both arrested by the police.
While speaking to the occupants, officers noticed that there were two Nike shoe boxes in the backseat of the car that appeared new.
The woman gave officers her California driver’s license identifying her as Meagan Payne, while the man was identified as Kortel Terell Burks, 37, also from Las Vegas.
Payne told police that her friend “Jazmin” rented the vehicle for her in Las Vegas, and she drove to St. George with Burks, and “all they did was went to a friend’s house”.
When the officer presented the security footage, she admitted to taking items from the store without paying for them, adding that she only took the items so she could sell them to “support her children”, noted the officer.
The woman also said Burks knew she was stealing after the fact and said he was angry but understood why she was doing it. When asked, Burke allegedly told officers he slept in on the drive to St. George and was shown two pairs of Nike shoes only after he was woken up when they reached the grocery store in Bluff Street.
During a search of the car, officers located the property believed to have been taken from the sporting goods store, along with other merchandise from four other big-box retailers, which appeared to be brand new with the tags still on. on it, but without receipts, according to the report.
Officers also recovered a woman’s purse and inside they found several cards in the name of Las Vegas resident Jessica Tee-Marie Battaglia, who turned out to be Payne’s real name. 29 years.
Officers also found two bank cards that did not belong to any of the suspects, as well as an electronic scale coated in a white powdery substance that appeared to be methamphetamine.
Battaglia and Burks were arrested and transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility shortly before 11:30 p.m. and taken into custody.
Battaglia faces second-degree retail theft, as well as two counts of unlawfully acquiring a bank card and three third-degree felony counts, including one count of possession of illegal items in a correctional facility, a charge that was filed after correctional officers recovered a packet of suspected methamphetamine from Battaglia’s mouth.
She also faces one misdemeanor count, each providing false information with intent to be another real person, possession of another person’s identification documents, and possession of a controlled substance. and accessories.
Burks was jailed on a third-degree felony charge of shoplifting. He was released later that night, while Battaglia remains in jail on $5,000 bond.
This report is based on statements taken from court records, police or other stakeholders and may not contain the full extent of the conclusions. Those arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty by a court or until a trier of fact decides otherwise.
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