CEDAR CITY — An Iron County man who allegedly stole two saddles and other items from a horse trailer was arrested after the owner saw one of the saddles listed for sale online.

Michael Thomas Stedt, 45, made his initial court appearance on Monday before 5th District Judge Matthew L. Bell.

According to documents filed with the court, Stedt faces four charges: one count of theft of property valued at more than $5,000, a second-degree felony; one count of burglary of a vehicle, a class A misdemeanor; one count of drug possession, a class A misdemeanor; and one count of criminal mischief, a class B misdemeanor.

The probable cause statement notes that the incident began with a report of a vehicle burglary in Enoch on Oct. 6.

“Two horse saddles and other items totaling approximately $9,600 (in value) had been taken out of a horse trailer after its lock had been cut off,” an Enoch Police officer wrote in the affidavit.

On Oct. 21, the owner saw a saddle, which he suspected was his own, listed for sale on KSL.com. Two days later, the victim reportedly met up with the person selling the saddle in Lehi and confirmed that it was his saddle, based on its serial number.

Further investigation led police to Stedt, who had allegedly listed the saddle for sale on a Facebook marketplace group for $2,000 and had met the interested buyer at a gas station off Interstate 15 in Lehi to make the transaction. 

File photo shows sign at 5th District Courthouse, Cedar City, Utah, April 15, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

When questioned by police, Stedt reportedly claimed he had purchased the saddle from someone else at a Maverik convenience store. However, he was unable to provide any corroborating details about the purported sale, including the buyer’s name, date, time or location.

The probable cause affidavit notes that the excavation company that Stedt works for has been doing work at a construction site located across the street from where the saddles were first reported stolen. 

The affidavit further states that at the time of his Oct. 25 arrest, Stedt also allegedly had on his person a small silver cylinder containing a white powdery substance that was reported to be cocaine.

During Monday’s brief initial appearance, Judge Bell informed Stedt of the charges against him and told him that he didn’t qualify for a free public defender. Stedt’s next scheduled appearance is a status of counsel hearing on Dec. 4 at 9 a.m.

This report is based on statements from court documents and law enforcement officials 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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