ST. GEORGE — Five suspects are in custody following an ATM robbery Monday afternoon that led officers on a search that extended from Bloomington Hills to Brigham Road in St. George.

A suspect in an ATM robbery is taken into custody by St. George Police officers, St. George, Utah, Dec. 18, 2023 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The last suspect reportedly caught an Uber ride and was apprehended on Convention Center Drive by police.

Shortly before noon Monday, officers responded to a Wells Fargo branch on South River Road following a report that money was stolen from an ATM machine. 

According to charging documents filed with the court, a service technician was repairing the ATM when two black males donning masks got out of a white Chevrolet passenger car and approached. The suspects yelled at the technician to get away from the machine and then physically pushed him away. 

Police said the suspects then removed four ATM cassettes that held an unknown amount of cash before both jumped back into the vehicle and fled from the scene. The cash was later estimated to be approximately $5,000. 

A witness followed the suspect’s vehicle into the Bloomington Hills area where two passengers exited the car and the driver sped off towards River Road. 

Officers learned that several black boxes were thrown from the vehicle as the suspects fled from the bank. The boxes were later identified as the ATM cassettes that were recovered by officers and valued at $200 each.

Meanwhile, the Chevrolet was spotted near the intersection of Brigham Road and River Road by responding officers who conducted a traffic stop on the car. 

The driver, who was the sole occupant at the time, was identified as Aaron Taylor Adams, 28, of Houston, Texas. During a search of the vehicle, officers recovered a plastic bag containing suspected marijuana. 

Officers also recovered a pillow case that contained $5,000 in cash and a pair of shoes that were in two different locations in the area.

St. George Police officers are near the Little Caesars pizza shop on Brigham Road following the arrest of a suspected ATM robber, St. George, Utah, Dec. 18, 2023 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Officers determined Adams committed a theft of more than $5,000 by driving the vehicle as the passengers, using force, took the four cassettes of cash from the service technician at the ATM.

He also worked in concert with the other four suspects to commit the crimes and then attempted to hinder the case by concealing the crimes when he threw the cassettes out of the window as he was driving. They also learned that Adams has an extensive criminal history in Texas. 

Adams was booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility facing multiple charges, including first-degree felony robbery and second-degree felony theft. He also faces one count each of obstruction of justice and property damage, possession of marijuana and reckless driving. 

The property damage charge was submitted in connection with the four ATM cassettes that were damaged from being thrown from the car window.

Throughout the investigation, a total of five suspects were identified by police, including the second suspect, also from Houston, Ronald Edward Charles, 27, who was located near the Brigham Road intersection by police. 

Charles was listed on the car rental agreement that was found during a search of the Chevrolet indicating he was the one who had rented the car in Texas four days prior to the arrest. 

When asked about the rental agreement found in the Chevrolet, Charles reportedly told officers he was paid $1,000 to rent the vehicle for an unknown male in St. Louis, Missouri, adding it was just a coincidence that he was in the same car that was stopped in St. George. 

Luggage stickers with the suspect’s name were also found in the vehicle. The suspect was transported and booked into jail facing first-degree robbery and theft, a second-degree felony. 

Officers also located a third suspect, Domnick Nicholas Snell, 20, also of Houston, during a search of Bloomington Hills. Officers found the suspect wearing pants and a tank top, which he seemed unseasonably dressed for cooler weather and also noticed that Snell’s shoes matched the description of the shoes worn during the ATM robbery. 

Snell was later booked into jail facing two second-degree charges of robbery and theft, as well as the third-degree felony counts of obstruction of justice and property damage. 

A fourth suspect, Jarvus Keith Lewis, 31, was located in the same area wearing clothing that matched what one of the suspects was wearing on the surveillance footage. He was also not wearing any shoes, leading officers to suspect the shoes they found earlier likely belonged, to the suspect who lost them while running from police.

A suspect in an ATM robbery is taken into custody by St. George Police officers, St. George, Utah, Dec. 18, 2023 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The fifth suspect, Justin Renard Leonard, 37, was first seen in the security footage captured near the Tropical Smoothie restaurant on Brigham Road where officers had located Charles but was already gone when officers arrived at the location. 

It wasn’t until officers learned that Leonard had been picked up near Bloomington Hills Elementary, just across from the smoothie restaurant, by an Uber driver who dropped off the suspect on Convention Center Drive where he was later apprehended by police. Officers also found $1,300 in cash during a search of the suspect who was then booked into jail facing robbery and theft charges. 

During the incident, Bloomington Hills Elementary and Desert Hills Middle and High Schools were placed under a secure or “lockout” mode, which was lifted shortly after 3:30 p.m.

Investigators later learned that the men were suspected of a similar incident in which a large amount of cash was stolen during an ATM robbery in northern Utah two days prior, the report states. 

“Some of the suspects from this incident are believed to be involved in that crime,” investigators noted in the report. 

Additionally, all of the charges were enhanced under the Utah Criminal Gang Enhancement Code, and the suspects remain in custody in Washington County without bail.  

This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

ST. GEORGE NEWS senior reporter Mori Kessler contributed to this report.

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