ST. GEORGE, Utah, Jan. 18, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A St. George man has been booked into jail on suspicion of multiple charges of mail theft and criminal mischief after a two-month investigation by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Dennis Hugh Murty, Jr., 50, was booked on seven counts of mail theft — value less than $1,000, a class A misdemeanor; and on three counts of criminal mischief, a class B misdemeanor.
“Since November 2019, the rural areas of Washington County have experienced multiple mail thefts from large clusters of residential mailboxes,” says a probable cause statement filed by an officer of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
“The affected communities include: Enterprise, Central, Brookside, Veyo, Dammeron Valley, Diamond Valley, and New Harmony. Most of the incidents were reported by mail carriers finding large clusters of mailboxes with the rear doors pried open and all items of mail taken.”
Multiple mailboxes were severely damaged and required repair before they could be used again, the statement says.
“… it is not known exactly how many victims had mail stolen from their assigned mailbox, there are potentially hundreds of victims.”
Deputies responded on Dec. 6 to the area of 1200 N. Dammeron Valley Drive on a report of mailboxes damaged, and found the rear doors of multiple mailboxes pried open, with the potential of missing mail.
“Later that same day, a large amount of mail packing was located on the side of the road near the Veyo Pool,” the probable cause statement says.
One piece of the packaging was addressed to a Veyo resident who told deputies he had ordered multiple cartons of Smokin Joe’s grape flavored cigars from a reservation in New York State, and they had been stolen from his mailbox.
The cigars are uncommon and not available through local businesses, the statement says.
On Jan. 13, multiple cartons of Smokin Joe’s grape flavor cigars were listed for sale on Craig’s List, with a phone number that belonged to Murty.
Surveillance was set up at Murty’s St. George residence, and a pack of Smokin Joe’s cigars was observed on the dashboard of his Jeep. The car’s tire tread patterns matched tire tracks near the discarded packing material. A search warrant turned up about about 10 cartons of Smokin Joe’s grape flavor cigars.”
Other products identical to specific items reported stolen by area residents also were found.
“Multiple other items were located at Dennis’ home that are suspected to be linked to other reported thefts, the investigation is ongoing,” the probable cause statement says. “Based on the items listed above being located at Dennis’ home and those items being related to the damaged mailboxes, he was arrested and booked into jail on charges of mail theft and criminal mischief.”