Unified Police: Man charged with burglary, theft, burning Midvale woman’s arm with lighter as she slept

File Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

MIDVALE, Utah, July 3, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A man was arrested Friday after police say he was caught on video rummaging through a woman’s purse and burning her arm as she slept while heavily medicated.

Matthew Thomas, 38, was booked into the Salt Lake County jail and charged with:

  • Burglary of a dwelling, a second-degree felony
  • Possession of a controlled substance schedule I/II/analog, a class A misdemeanor
  • Assault, a class B misdemeanor
  • Theft, a class B misdemeanor

A Unified Police officer was called to a residence in the area of 6800 South and 500 East, in Midvale, at about 8:35 p.m. Friday, the police statement says. The residence is shared by three people, identified in police documents as M.T.G. (the victim), M.J.G (the victim’s husband), and J.T.

“At approximately 1900 hours, Matthew Thomas arrived at the residence. Matthew entered the property without permission, according to witness J.T. Matthew then proceeded downstairs and entered into a bedroom where M.T.G. was sleeping (1904 hours).

“M.T.G. stated she is a heavy sleeper due to the various types of medications she takes. Matthew attempted to shake M.T.G. to ensure she was still sleeping.”

Thomas “then proceeded to the back corner of the room where he rummages through her purse multiple times over the next 12 minutes,” his affidavit says. “Matthew periodically stops to shake victim M.T.G. After rummaging through the purse Matthew grabs a lighter which he uses to burn M.T.G. multiple times on her left arm. This was done with an open flame and/or heating the metal cap with an open flame for an extended time and pressing the metal cap/rim to her skin.”

The victim’s husband then arrived, and “was concerned and had no idea why Matthew was in his bedroom,” the statement said. “M.T.G. then awakens and Matthew leaves the residence.

“This incident was captured on surveillance footage from the bedroom with the entire incident lasting an approximate 15 minutes.”

The victim and her husband reviewed the footage, and realized $20 and 10 oxycodone pills were missing from the purse Thomas was seen rummaging through.

“I then followed up with M.T.G. who sustained multiple burn marks on her arm which were already starting to blister,” the UPD officer’s statement says. “Matthew was located, arrested, and advised of his rights. I then informed him of the charges, which Matthew wanted to refute.

“Matthew stated the initial witness J.T., was yelling at the dog but believed he had said ‘come in.’ Matthew refuted the thefts, stating he had only taken Advil/Aleve from M.T.G.’s purse without permission.”

Thomas said he “tried to burn M.T.G. to ‘wake her up’ cause he was concerned she had overdosed,” the affidavit said.

“Despite his concern, Matthew could not provide a reason why first responders were not called during the 15 minutes he was on scene, or why he spent a majority of that time rummaging through M.T.G.’s purse. During his arrest, a small amount of heroin was found in Matthew’s pocket.”

Thomas’ bail was set at $5,000, and he is no longer listed among inmates at the Salt Lake County Jail.


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