ST. GEORGE — A local man accused of robbing a credit union in St. George last summer appeared in federal court for sentencing on Tuesday after he was extradited back to Southern Utah to answer for his crimes.

2023 file photo of photo array issued by the St. George Police Department of a man suspected in a bank robbery at a credit union. He was later identified as Jason Grace, 54, of St. George, Utah, July 27, 2023 | Photos by St. George Police Department, St. George News

The defendant, Jason Grace, 54, of St. George, will serve two years in federal prison. The sentence was passed down by U.S. District Chief Judge Robert J. Shelby during a hearing in federal court in St. George on Tuesday, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Grace entered Mountain American Credit Union on July 26 at about 4:58 p.m. and handed the teller a note demanding money. He left the branch on South River Road with more than $4,400. Grace then fled in a two-door black Chevy Silverado with black rims. 

Mesquite Police Sgt. Wyatt Oliver told St. George News that Grace was arrested in Mesquite, Nevada, the following day. The police department received a “blast email” of July 27 from the St. George Police Department with pictures and descriptions of the suspect and the vehicle. He said he immediately sent all of the information to all active officers.

The suspect’s vehicle had some distinct markings on it — information that was relayed to Mesquite officers who did some proactive work and were able to locate the vehicle in the parking lot of the Virgin River Casino. An ensuing records check of the vehicle determined it belonged to Grace and photos confirmed it was the getaway vehicle, and investigators also identified Grace as the suspect by comparing his driver’s license photo to surveillance from the robbery and photos on social media.

Grace was arrested in the parking lot and while being interviewed by police reportedly admitted to chewing up the robbery note and spitting it out the window as he was driving, the DOJ news release said.

He also told officers that after obtaining the money, he purchased two money orders, a pool cue he recently pawned, paid his back rent and fled to Mesquite with the remainder of the money where he was ultimately arrested in the casino parking lot. 

Less than two weeks later, he was booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility after he was transported from the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

From there, he was charged with robbery, a second-degree felony, and misdemeanor theft at his initial hearing — charges that were dropped after he was indicted in federal court on one count of bank robbery by force or violence.

Following the sentencing hearing held on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Trina A. Higgins of the District of Utah released a statement saying the robbery “was not a spontaneous act of violence, but instead something Mr. Grace carefully considered for approximately a week,” adding that “no individual should be threatened or intimidated at their place of business,” the news release said.  

Higgins added it was the law enforcement partners who acted quickly and carefully and made the case and the subsequent sentencing possible. The agencies included the St. George Police Department, the Mesquite Police Department and the FBI. 

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 reporter E. George Goold contributed to this report.

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