Orem Police: Man arrested after pizza theft, death threat, high speed chase

Richard Pratt Heilbut. Photo: Utah County

OREM, Utah, March 25, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — An Orem man has been booked jail on multiple felony charges after police say he robbed a fast food business, threatening to kill workers and customers, then fled from police when located about two hours later.

Richard Pratt Heilbut, 30, faces charges of:

  • Robbery, a second-degree felony
  • Felony commercial destruction, a second-degree felony
  • Two counts of failure to stop or respond at the command of police, a third-degree felony
  • Possession of a controlled substances schedule I/II/analog, a class A misdemeanor
  • Two counts of reckless driving, a class B misdemeanor
  • Threat of violence, a class B misdemeanor
  • Driving with measurable controlled substances, a class B misdemeanor
  • Use or possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor

Orem police responded to the site of an Orem Little Caesars On Wednesday afternoon, and interviewed the caller.

“The compliant reported that a male came in the store, stole pizza’s and had threatened to kill everyone,” the first of two probable cause statements says. “The complainant advised dispatch that they had locked the business doors, with 10 people inside. As officers were
in route to the incident location, dispatch advised that the male had left southbound on State St, in a Chevy Malibu (with the plate number given). The complainant reported that it was a Hispanic male, with black hair, wearing a black shirt and black pants. The male had left the incident location prior to Officers arrival.”

The plate traced back to a family member of Heilbut’s, the statement says.

Police interviewed a witness, Victim 1, a Little Caesars employee. Victim said the suspect came in an ordered food, then stepped aside to wait for his order.

“Victim 1 stated that a few minutes later, the male walked behind the counter and grabbed two pepperoni pizzas and two bread sticks and left the store saying ‘I’m helping myself.’ Victim 1 stated her manger approached the male suspect, who then started screaming at her. Victim 1 stated she got very scared because (the coworker) started screaming and locking the doors.”

Victim 1 said she grabbed her phone, ran into the bathroom, locked the door and called 911. When she exited the bathroom a short time later, the man had left the store.

Officer interviewed Victim 2 said someone at the counter informed her a man had taken pizzas and left.

“Victim 2 stated she went outside and approached the male. Victim 2 asked the male if he had paid for his pizzas. The male told Victim 2 “f— you bitch, f— you c—, shut your mother f—— mouth or I will slit your f—— throat. I will f— you up. I will find you and watch you.

“Victim 2 stated she told the male that she would get the police involved if he kept threatening her. As the male heard Victim 2 say she’ll get the police involved, the male immediately got into his car and left. Victim 2 stated she then came back into the store and locked all the door. Victim 2 stated that the male was seen screaming at other customers in the parking lot.”

The first probable cause notes that older family members with whom Heilbut was staying had complained to police earlier, saying they did not feel safe with Heilbut in the house due to his “suffering from mental illnesses,” adding the younger man “is suffering from drug induced psychosis, mental psychosis, or a combination of both.”

An officer called those family members, who reported Heilbut was “speeding and doing doughnuts in the neighborhood,” 30 minutes earlier, and he feared for his safety when Heilbut returned.

Later that night, an Orem Police officer was parked began to respond to a call stating Heilbut was in the area of 400 West and 800 South, the second probable cause statement says. The officer said as he exited the lot where his patrol car had been parked, a vehicle matching the description of the one Heilbut was using spend past him heading east, made a U turn, and sped south.

The officer said as he tried to catch up to the car, he noted it was traveling on State Street at a high rate of speed, easily exceeding 70 mph. The Malibu turned into the University Mall parking lot, and the officer initiated emergency lights and siren, his statement says.

The Malibu turned, passing the police car at about 51 mph, the statement says. It sped back toward State Street, the statement says. The Orem Police officer turned off his siren and lights due to public safety concerns, he wrote.

“The Malibu drove in a circle (going counter clockwise) in the middle of State Street, screeching its tires, and nearly running into the front of my patrol vehicle as it continued its flight northbound on State Street.”

The Malibu was traveling faster than 70 mph, and weaving in and out of traffic, the statement says.

“I watched as the Malibu drove onto the shoulder to passed the vehicles and get through the intersection. After the Malibu went through the 400 South State Street intersection, I could no longer see it.”

Another officer spotted the Malibu moments later, the statement says. A high-speed pursuit ensued, and lasted about five minutes before Heilbut “turned his car around in the middle of the intersection of 200 W. University Parkway,” the statement says. “Using the front of my patrol vehicle, I ran into the front of the Malibu and physically stopped the car
from fleeing. Richard was then taken into custody.”

Inside the car, officers found a substance that tested positive for methamphetamine, and a glass pipe with residue that tested positive for meth. A urine taken by Heilbut tested positive for amphetamines, opiates, and methamphetamine, the statement says.

“Richard told me he was upset about how he was treated a week ago in a different case and decided to flee from police in an attempt to get arrested.,” the statement says.

Heilbut is behind held without bail.


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