SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Oct. 28, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A documented gang member who is on the Metro Gangs Unit Top 10 Most Wanted list has been arrested after an alleged violent home invasion in Salt Lake City.
A probable cause statement from the 3rd District Court of Salt Lake City said Joseph Ray Guerrero, 34, is facing charges of:
- Aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony
- Aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony
- Aggravated assault, produces loss of consciousness, a second-degree felony
- Possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, a second-degree felony
- Theft of a firearm or operable vehicle, a second-degree felony
- Failure to stop or respond at command of police, a third-degree felony
“A/P Joseph Guerrero was observed on video surveillance, along with two other individuals, committing a home invasion robbery,” the statement said. “Victim account and video surveillance show Guerrero forcing entry into the front door of a home in a Rose Park neighborhood on Oct. 18. The victim, an adult female who was home alone at the time, attempted to escape out the back door of the residence but was dragged back into the residence and repeatedly struck/assaulted.”
Guerrero allegedly held a handgun to the victim’s head and demanded to know where the money was at in her house. One of the other individuals then searched each room of the house for valuables.
Guerrero and the other suspects then fled the scene in a black 2011 GMC Acadia vehicle. The victim ran to a neighbor’s house for help at which time 911 was called, the statement said. The victim reported to police that her Smartphone was stolen during the robbery.
“The following day, the victim was able to track her Smartphone to a hotel in the Midvale area,” the statement said. “Officers responded but were unable to narrow down their search to a specific room. The victim continued to track her Smartphone to the approximate area of California Avenue between 900 West and 1000 West.”
Officers responded to the area and located a black 2011 GMC Acadia vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle. Officers also observed in plain view a hotel card sitting on the front passenger seat that came from the same hotel that the phone previously pinged at. The vehicle was seized and transported to a secure police facility.
The vehicle was discovered to be registered to Guerrero. An additional records check showed that Guerrero was a parole fugitive, documented gang member, and listed on the Metro Gangs Unit Top 10 Most Wanted list. A search warrant was obtained for the vehicle.
“Inside the vehicle a receipt was located which showed a transaction that occurred just minutes before the robbery occurred. Detectives obtained surveillance video from the store where the transaction occurred. The surveillance allegedly showed the same suspects wearing the same clothes standing outside of the vehicle just prior to the robbery.
“Guerrero is clearly shown on video surveillance and was positively identified,” the statement said. “The video also clearly shows tattoos unique to Joseph.”
A search warrant was obtained to track Guerrero’s phone. On Wednesday, officers were able to locate Guerrero and his girlfriend in the area of 400 S. Redwood Road. Both were in separate vehicles, both leaving the same business at the same time. Guerrero was driving a small gray Ford vehicle and his girlfriend was driving a different car.
“As soon as officers were in proximity to these vehicles, both accelerated at a high rate of speed, ran numerous red lights, and swerved around traffic to avoid apprehension,” the statement said. “Officers did not pursue Guerrero due to the dangerous nature of his driving. Officers also attempted to pursue Guerrero’s girlfriend but due to her reckless driving the pursuit was called off.”
Officers again tracked Guerrero’s cell phone and located Guerrero and his girlfriend in a vehicle in the St. Mark’s Hospital parking garage. They were driving in the same gray Ford sedan and again quickly accelerated and fled the area when police arrived. Guerrero and his girlfriend were again observed running red lights and driving in a reckless manner around traffic to avoid apprehension, the statement said.
“As officers continued to track Guerrero’s phone, numerous agencies and a DPS helicopter assisted,” the statement said. “The helicopter was able to track the gray Ford sedan as it drove the various areas in Salt Lake County. The vehicle was observed running numerous red lights, driving at an unsafe speed, driving against traffic, and endangering the public. No police cruisers were in pursuit of the vehicle during this time, only a helicopter monitoring from a distance. Once safe to do so, officers placed spike strips in the roadway in the Avenues area of the Salt Lake City which assisted in disabling the vehicle.”
Guerrero and his girlfriend were then observed entering the parking garage of Salt Lake Regional Hospital near 1100 E. 100 South. Officers contained the area and located the gray Ford sedan unoccupied. Guerrero and his girlfriend were located sitting in a parked car in the same parking garage. Both were initially uncooperative but eventually were taken into custody. A firearm was located under the driver seat of the vehicle in addition to a firearm magazine and marijuana thrown into the back seat. Officers verified with the owner of the vehicle that he does not know either of the suspects. The firearm did not belong to the vehicle owner.
Officers confirmed the gray Ford sedan was reported stolen.
Guerrero was transported to Salt Lake County Jail, where he is being held without bail.
Guerrero’s girlfriend, 27-year-old Eloria Avila, was booked into the Salt Lake County Metro Jail on charges of theft of a motor vehicle, possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, failure to stop at the command of a police officer, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving on revocation, operating a vehicle without insurance, and failure to remove license plates. Her bail has been set at $25,000.