Police: Man seeking arrest is turned away, allegedly commits robbery, gets cell

Andrew Preece. Photo: Salt Lake County

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, April 4, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake City police say a man who said he wanted to turn himself in to law enforcement, and who showed police drugs and paraphernalia, was denied a cell due to current COVID-19 practices to limit inmates.

So the suspect, Andrew Jacob Preece, allegedly went out and attempted a robbery, was arrested, and was booked into a cell.

Preece, 34, faces charges of:

  • Robbery, a second-degree felony
  • Two counts of possession or use of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor
  • Use or possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor

The incident began on Thursday when dispatch received a call regarding a man, later identified as Preece, “who was telling people he wanted to turn himself in,” a probable cause statement says.

“I located Andrew and searched for any warrants and did not find any. He advised that he was in possession in syringes and heroin. He surrendered these items and he was advised that due to COVID-19, the charges would be screened but he was not going to jail.

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“He then stated that he was going to go somewhere and take all the money.”

Preece was released and walked away from the scene, the probable cause statement says.

“A short time later we (police) received another call from a restaurant nearby reporting a robbery in progress. The description given of the suspect matched Andrew’s description. We located Andrew inside the restaurant and took him into custody.”

Employees told officers that Preece “walked up to the drive thru window and demanded money. When he was told they couldn’t do that he forced his way in through the drive thru window and tried to open the till. He was not able to take any money.”

Preece is being held on $10,000 bail.

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