SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Feb. 20, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A 28-year-old man has been booked into the Salt Lake County Jail after officials say he stole a vehicle of a family arriving at St. Mark’s Hospital just as he was being released from the medical facility.
The suspect, identified by police as Alexander Harward, faces charges of:
- Theft of a firearm or operable vehicle, a second-degree felony
- Receive or transfer stolen vehicle, a second-degree felony
- False emergency report — emergency involving injury/death, a third-degree felony
- Possession if a controlled substance, schedule l/ll/analog, a class A misdemeanor
- Use or possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor
- Theft, a class A misdemeanor
A probable cause statement filed by an officer of the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office says the theft was caught on camera.
“On 02/18/2021 AP (accused person) released from St. Mark’s Hospital and immediately preyed on a family arriving at the hospital by waiting for them to exit their vehicle,” the statement says. “AP stole the vehicle on video surveillance and fled the hospital.”
The next day, the officer was able to develop information on the location of the suspect and stolen vehicle, the affidavit says. The suspect was seen driving the vehicle and arriving in the area of 3300 South and 1300 East, it says.
He “had the keys to the vehicle in his possession when contacted and arrested,” the probable cause statement says. “AP further removed numerous items from the vehicle to include a children’s car seat and a bracelet belonging to one of the victims. The bracelet was the only possession which the victim had to remember their best friend (who) was is deceased and the emotional impact on the victim brought her to tears when it was found to be missing.”
A search of the vehicle turned up a white crystalline substance, and paraphernalia used to ingest meth and heroin, the statement says. A records search revealed Harward had numerous arrest warrants related to involvement with illegal drugs.
“AP, upon being secured in handcuffs, immediately began pretending to have seizures and claimed he had a right to have medical attention instead of go to the jail,” the SLCSO statement says. “AP continued to pretend a medical condition and emergency existed and requested we summon medical attention to check him out. To insure his safety UFA Medical was contacted and they responded to our location.
“The resources summoned took away their ability to respond to actual emergencies and calls for medical attention. AP then upon beginning to be examined by UFA stated he would refuse to be treated by them because he has a right to go to a hospital.”
Harward was cleared and transported to jail, the statement says.
“AP at the jail again claimed a medical emergency existed to summon the aid of medical attention and cause him to be rejected at the Jail. AP was transported to the St. Mark’s Hospital where he was cleared medically to be booked into the jail.
“In a time of a pandemic and constant need for medical staff and hospitals to be focused on emergency medical treatment AP falsely claimed numerous times that a medical emergency existed and caused numerous individuals, resources, and agencies to focus on a false emergency to avoid him from being booked into the jail.”
The arresting officer characterized Harward as a habitual offender, a transient and a flight risk.
It was unclear why Harward was being treated at St. Mark’s the night the victim’s vehicle was stolen.
Harward is being held without bail.