ST. GEORGE — Two individuals suspected in an alleged theft spree that started in Nevada and continued into Washington County over the weekend are in jail after an alert officer stopped the minivan the pair was traveling in on State Street in Hurricane, authorities say.

2021 file photo for illustrative purposes only of Hurricane Police in Springdale, Utah, June 29, 2021 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

Two retail thefts were reported in Washington County on Sunday evening, the firstone shortly after 7:30 p.m. at the Walmart store in Washington City. Officers learned a suspect had reportedly left the store with 11 expensive graphic calculators without paying for the merchandise, according to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest. 

The store’s surveillance footage showed the suspect removing several calculators from a hanging display and placing the items in a cart concealed under a dark blanket or towel. From there, the footage showed the suspect putting items in a large purse and then leaving the store without paying. The woman continued through the parking lot and then left in a silver Toyota Sienna minivan. 

The electronics reportedly taken from the Washington City store were valued at nearly $1,200, the investigator noted in the report. 

A search of the store parking lot turned up nothing, so a broadcast was sent out to all surrounding agencies to be on the lookout for the minivan. 

Less than an hour later, officers in Hurricane were called out to a retail theft reported at the Walmart on State Street. While en route, one responding officer spotted a Toyota minivan that matched the description of the vehicle in the broadcast, the report states.  

Hurricane Police Sgt. Dan Raddatz told St. George News the van was heading east on West State Street less than a mile from the Walmart, and the officer conducted a traffic stop. The driver was identified as Marian Calin, 28, and the passenger as Rosa Preda, 25, both of Houston, Texas. 

Raddatz said that earlier that day, the same individuals were suspected of stealing multiple items from the Walmart in Mesquite, Nevada, and then they headed north into Utah, where they hit several more retail outlets before they were stopped near the Walmart in Hurricane.  

2020 file photo of Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 20, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

During the stop on State Street, the officer ran a check on the Toyota’s temporary license plate that was registered to a 2003 Porsche Cayenne. Officers then ran the Toyota’s VIN that revealed the registration was expired, and when the driver was asked for proof of insurance, he was unable to provide the documentation as requested. 

The passenger, Preda, was the woman suspected of taking 21 scientific calculators between the two Walmart stores in Washington City and in Hurricane that were valued at nearly $2,100 in total, and officers also learned Preda was the primary participant in both retail thefts in Utah. 

The report states that officers recovered 11 of the 21 calculators reported stolen.   

The suspects were arrested and transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility each facing two third-degree felony charges, including one count of retail theft and one count of conspiracy. Investigators also determined the individuals were suspected of multiple other retail thefts committed throughout Washington County, each of which were reportedly committed within a  single day, Sunday. The suspects are also facing one second-degree felony count of pattern of unlawful activity each. 

Calin, the driver, faces one felony count of possession of a forged document or license plate. Following the arrest Sunday evening, the charges were sent to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review and both suspects remain in custody in Washington County on a no-bail hold.

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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