ST. GEORGE — A man arrested earlier this month is facing new charges after he was found to be associated with a Nevada group suspected in a string of thefts reported at several retailers on River Road during a two-day crime spree, police say.

In this 2021 file photo for illustrative purposes only St. George Police respond to an incident on River Road in St. George, Dec. 17, 2021 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The suspect, identified as 43-year-old John Dennis McCaw, of Las Vegas, Nevada, has been in custody in Washington County since his arrest on Dec. 9. Officers were dispatched to a report of a theft of more than $850 in merchandise that was taken from a sporting goods store on River Road, according to the affidavit filed at the time of the arrest.

Investigators responded to learn the suspects were seen leaving the sporting goods store, getting into a Dodge Durango and speeding off.

Within minutes of the first report, a second theft was reported at a clothing store located a block away, where more than $1,500 in merchandise was reportedly taken from the store by two suspects who matched the description provided by the sporting goods store employee. 

Officers caught up with the suspect’s vehicle and identified McCaw as one of the suspects they spoke to when they stopped the SUV, which turned out to be a rental out of Las Vegas.

2012 file photo for illustrative purposes only of Dick’s Sporting Goods on South River Road in St. George, Utah | St. George News

Inside the vehicle, officers recovered the merchandise that was taken from both stores.

During an interview with police, McCaw reportedly said he participated in the theft by agreeing to accompany the other suspects during the trip from Nevada to St. George, “but believed he was innocent because he was not the one walking out the door with the items and was merely present when the items were stolen,” the officer noted in the report.

McCaw was arrested and booked into jail in Washington County facing third-degree felony theft and three misdemeanor charges that include one count of providing false information to a police officer, possession of another’s ID and possession of paraphernalia.

On Dec. 15, additional charges were filed against McCaw after he was reportedly linked to a string of thefts reported in November.

Stock image of Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 21, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The charges were added in connection with an incident reported on Nov. 25, when McCaw and another man entered a big-box retailer on River Road in St. George and placed several items in a large bag before leaving the store without paying, as alleged in the charging documents filed at the time of the arrest.

The merchandise was selected in an area of the store where “high dollar items” are sold and valued at more than $960. 

After exiting the store, the suspects got into a waiting van and drove off. The van, investigators later learned, turned out to be a rental vehicle out of Las Vegas, similar to the incident reported the following month.

McCaw, who was still in custody following an arrest the week before, was then charged with misdemeanor theft and the felony charge of a pattern of unlawful activity since this was the third store to be victimized by the group in less than a month, investigators noted in the affidavit.

McCaw later said he was paid $200 upfront by another individual to commit the thefts and then turn the property over to that person, the report states. The property totaled more than $3,300 between the incidents.  No further information was available on the second suspect arrested. McCaw remains in jail without bail on both cases at the writing of this report.

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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