ST. GEORGE — The bomb squad was called out Friday after officers reportedly found a live grenade and other devices, inside a residence in Colorado City, Arizona, police say. And now a local man is facing four second-degree felony charges

2023 stock image shows a Colorado City-Hildale City Police patrol vehicle | Photo courtesy of the Colorado City-Hildale City Police Department, St. George News

St. George officers were asked to assist with an investigation by the Colorado City-Hildale City Police Department involving a report of a white Honda all-terrain vehicle that was reported stolen out of Arizona, and authorities there had reason to believe the vehicle was being stored at a residence in St. George, according to the affidavit in support of the arrest that was filed in 5th District Court. 

Officers also learned the ATV had custom rims and was equipped with a rifle rack on the front of the vehicle. Security footage from the garage of the residence that was later obtained by police showed a suspect wearing a black hoodie enter the garage and push the ATV outside and then he loaded the ATV onto a trailer that was hooked up to a silver pickup truck before driving away from the scene.

Authorities in Colorado City were looking for two suspects, one of whom was identified as 31-year-old Chase Joseph Leavitt, of St. George. 

When investigators responded to the residence on West 540 North in St. George, they located a trailer that was reported as stolen out of Enoch during an unrelated incident, along with a large gray box trailer that was parked in the driveway that turned out to be reported as stolen as well.. While looking over the retaining wall from the street, officers also saw an ATV that matched the one reported as stolen, the report states.

Meanwhile, a silver Ford pickup pulled up to the residence while officers were at the scene, and when asked, the driver was identified as Leavitt and he was detained by police. 

Armed with a warrant, officers searched the exterior of the the residence, which is when they recovered a “live” hand grenade that was found inside a metal ammunition container large enough to hold clothing items. 

Upon the discovery, officers exited the home as a safety precaution and the Washington County Metro Bomb Squad was called to the scene. 

Meanwhile, officers obtained a warrant to search the residence for any further explosives or incendiary devices or materials, during which, the report states, bomb squad agents recovered one live “frag grenade,” which is a fragmentation hand grenade used by the U.S. military.  They also recovered two flares and two smoke grenades that were later collected as evidence.

While speaking with police, the suspect, who officers learned was a veteran who had served in the military, reportedly admitted to stealing the ATV by loading it onto the trailer that he said he had stolen “approximately a year ago,” the officer noted. Aafter making those admissions, the suspect refused to answer any more questions and requested an attorney. 

After reportedly finding Leavitt with a motor vehicle and two trailers, all of which were stolen, as well as in possession of a live hand grenade and other devices, the suspect was arrested and transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility and was booked on four second-degree felony charges, including three counts of possession of a stolen vehicle and one count of reckless – incendiary device.   

Investigators also requested that Leavitt be held without bail because there was “clear and convincing evidence” that Leavitt would constitute a substantial danger to the community or could flee the court’s jurisdiction if released, a request that was approved by District Judge Jay Winward,

The suspect remains in custody while the charges are under review by the Washington County Attorney’s Office. No further details were released on the second suspect who has not been charged in the case.

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.

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