ST. GEORGE — A former employee of an auto parts store on Bluff Street has been arrested for allegedly breaking into the business and stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of tools, along with a rental vehicle from an agency next door.
After receiving a report of a business burglary, police responded to an auto parts store on Bluff Street shortly after 8 a.m. on Wednesday.
After arriving on scene, officers learned that more than $4,500 in tools had been taken from the business, including tools owned by two employees of the shop, according to charging documents filed in support of the arrest. A laptop computer also was reported missing from the business.
While processing the scene for evidence, detectives received information that several sets of keys were taken from a car rental agency located next door. This discovery was made by an employee earlier that morning when they arrived to find multiple sets of keys no longer locked in their secured location, according to the report. And in addition to the keys, one of the rental vehicles also was missing, which police say was confirmed after a review of rental records listed the vehicle as available and thus should have been parked on the lot.
Through the course of the investigation, officers identified a potential suspect, 36-year-old Morgan Shilo Taylor, a former employee of the automotive business who was terminated the previous month and left the company “on bad terms,” the officer noted in the report.
Police say, Taylor was terminated for “stealing from the company and using drugs while working,” and had refused to return the keys after his termination from the company.
With no signs of forced entry, investigators said they suspected it may have been Taylor who gained access using the key he allegedly failed to return. The video surveillance recording system also was found to have been disconnected, which contributed to other evidence indicating the suspect had inside information prior to the break-in, the report states.
Moreover, a brief video clip recorded prior to the system being shut down shows a male in a baseball cap entering the store and heading toward the control panel, officers say, and seconds later, the feed was cut.
Investigators also learned that Taylor, as a former employee, would have been privy to information relating to the rental car business as well, being it was next door to the shop, including knowledge of where the keys to the rental vehicles were stored.
In the meantime, authorities gathered GPS location data that tracked the missing rental vehicle, a black Nissan Altima, to a location less than three blocks away from the lot it was reportedly taken from. Officers found the Nissan abandoned. Inside, they located several sets of keys identical to the keys taken from the rental office.
After learning that Taylor was on probation, investigators reached out to Adult Probation and Parole for assistance. An agent accompanied officers to a job site on 100 South in St. George where they found Taylor working. He was then placed under arrest and transported to jail facing multiple charges, including one count each of second-degree felony theft and third-degree felony burglary.
When the case was reviewed by the Washington County Attorney’s Office, the state filed three additional charges against the suspect, including one count each of third-degree felony theft and burglary, as well as one misdemeanor count of theft – bringing the total to five charges filed in the case.
Taylor was found to have an extensive criminal history dating back more than a decade and includes cases and convictions filed in Salt Lake City and Fillmore and Washington County involving theft, narcotics and weapons offenses.
Following the arrest Wednesday, the suspect remains in custody without bail.
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.
Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.
Cody Blowers was raised in South San Francisco, California. A 2013 graduate of Colorado Technical University, Cody earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in paralegal studies. Through the course of her academic studies she discovered that writing is her true passion, and she is committed to providing credible, integrated news coverage. Cody joined St. George News in 2015, and when she’s not busy chasing the news, she can generally be found chasing her young granddaughter, Kali.
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