WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah, Feb. 11, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A Washington County woman was arrested after allegedly stealing $80,000 from a storage unit to bail her boyfriend out of jail.
A probable cause statement from the 5th District Court of Washington County said Caitlin Anne Lynne Watson, 25, is facing charges of:
- Six counts of theft, a second-degree felony
- Burglary, a third-degree felony
- Possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor
- Manufacture/possess burglary tools, a class B misdemeanor
- Possession of a controlled substance; marijuana/spice, a class B misdemeanor
- Use or possession of drug paraphernalia, class B misdemeanor
The arresting officer conducted a traffic stop in the area of 5600 W. State St. in Hurricane for a left lane travel violation, the statement said. The officer stopped the vehicle and made contact with the driver, later identified as Caitlin Watson.
“While speaking with Caitlin and her front male passenger they both had just lit a cigarette which about filled the vehicle full of smoke,” the statement said. “I have seen this tactic used in several other incidents when occupants of a vehicle are attempting to mask a strong odor, typically marijuana or alcohol. Also throughout my contact with Caitlin I observed her overall demeanor to become increasingly nervous, especially when asked about anything illegal in the vehicle.”
The officer also observed several torch-style lighters, commonly used for smoking methamphetamine, and multiple air fresheners through out the vehicle.
The officer deployed narcotics detection K-9 Vinnie to sniff the exterior of the vehicle, then because the K-9 indicated in multiple places, conducted a probable cause search of the vehicle. In a purse in the area of the rear driver’s side seat allegedly belonging to a rear passenger was homemade foil pipe containing a burnt leafy substance consistent in odor and appearance to burnt marijuana. That passenger was cited and released.
The officer also found a plastic pen tube that was burnt on one end and contained a dark residue inside. It was tested and showed a presumptive positive for heroin. Another plastic straw was located in the rear seating area of the vehicle with a similar residue inside.
“In the rear passenger side of the vehicle I located two large sets of bolt cutters and in the center console area were two large master locks that had been cut,” the statement said. “Also located in the rear seating area of the vehicle were two large hard plastic cases. The first case contained several glass vials of what appears to be horse and bull steroids and a plastic baggie containing a green leafy substance consistent in odor and appearance to raw marijuana.This plastic case was also found to have a Ruger .22 caliber revolver.”
The second case contained a “very large amount of silver/gold coins” and sports cards, the statement said. Also in the trunk were four soft rifle cases each containing one rifle; an Accura brand .50 caliber muzzle loader, a Knight brand .50 caliber muzzle loader, a Ruger model 700 .264 and a Ruger model 10-22 .22 caliber.
Watson and the male passenger were advised of their Miranda rights and agreed to answer questions separately.
Watson stated that she had just posted $80,000 bail in cash for the male passenger at Purgatory Correctional Facility moments before being pulled over.
“When I asked Caitlin where she got $80,000 in cash she stated the male passenger had called her from jail and gave her directions to a storage unit near 700 South and Bluff Street in St. George,” the statement said. “Caitlin stated he told her to go there and go to the third unit in and cut the lock off of it and take everything inside. Caitlin stated Matthew told her there was between $80,000 and $100,000 in cash in the unit and he needed her to use that to bail him out of jail.”
The storage unit belonged to a family friend, he told Watson.
When she got there, she didn’t have the proper gate code and Watson went to the front desk and gave the name of the family friend. She was provided the gate code and the unit number.
“Caitlin confirmed she cut the lock of the unit using the bolt cutters and grabbed the three hard plastic cases and about four rifle cases and loaded them into her vehicle,” the statement said. “Caitlin advised the smaller of the three cases was inside one of the larger cases and when she opened it it was full of cash, what she estimated to be about $80,000 to $90,000”
She then said she drove directly to Purgatory Correctional Facility and posted bail for the man.
When he was interviewed, he at first said he didn’t know her and that she was just giving him a ride from the jail. He then admitted they were dating. He told officers that the family friend had told him to “go get the money from his storage unit and use it to bail himself out.”
The family friend was also interviewed, and stated that nobody had his permission to take anything from his storage unit. He also described in detail what the property that was allegedly taken looked like and what it was worth.
Watson was transported to Washington County Jail with her bail set at $50,000.
The felony was committed when Watson was out on probation or parole.