Man allegedly burglarizes St. George home while mother, young daughter inside

Casey Alan Saunders. Photo Courtesy: Washington County Sheriff's Office

ST. GEORGE, Utah, Jan. 3, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A St. George man has been arrested after he allegedly burglarized a family’s home while a mother and her young daughter were inside.

A probable cause statement from the 5th District Court in St. George said Casey Alan Saunders, 28, was arrested Thursday on charges of second-degree felony burglary and class B misdemeanor criminal mischief under $500.

The arresting officer wrote that on Dec. 17, he was working as the on-call detective and was advised that an unknown man had made forced entry into a home while a mother and her daughter were in the house, in the area of Donlee Drive in St. George.

“When I arrived on scene I began processing the scene,” the statement said. “Partial fingerprints were located and lifted. There was also a shoe tread located in the dirt outside the residence and on the door that was kicked open. There was a window that had several pry marks on it, which damaged the window frame. The exterior garage door was kicked in and had a broken the door frame. The estimated cost to replace the damage property was under $500.”

The homeowner also gave the officer a description of the alleged suspect.

“The following day, patrol officers responded to a trespassing call,” the statement said. “They made contact with Saunders, who was in possession of several stolen items. Casey was wearing clothing similar to what was described by the homeowner on the residential burglary. He also matched the physical description provided by the homeowner. Casey had shoes on that had a tread pattern consistent with the tread pattern found in the yard and on the door.”

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The suspect was brought to the St. George Police Department for an interview.

After being read his Miranda rights, Saunders said he had not burglarized any homes.

“When asked what he was doing on Dec. 17, he said he was doing drugs and was at Motel 6 for the entire day,” the statement said. “He stated he was doing meth, which typically he would not steal or burglarize when he was under the influence of meth. He said he typically would burglarize while under the influence of heroin, but he was not currently under the influence of it.”

He denied breaking into the house. When shown photos of the fingerprints, and asked if they were his, Saunders said he would not deny the fingerprints because he felt it was a trap. He then said “I plead the fifth.” The interview was ended at that point.

The partial fingerprints were sent to the Utah Crime Lab. A subsequent report showed the fingerprints returned to Saunders’ left index finger, left middle finger and left ring finger. It was also found that Saunders had several prior convictions of possession of stolen property, residential burglary and theft.

Based on the suspect’s prior convictions and being in possession of stolen property the next day, Saunders was charged with one count of residential burglary and one count of criminal mischief under $500. He was booked into Washington County Jail with his bail set at $10,000.

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