By Travis Uresk
Vernal, Ut. On 12/8/23, Officer Nielsen was dispatched to a backpack theft at Smith's Grocery Store at 1080 West US-40.
The complainant stated that his backpack was taken from the store, and when he noticed it was missing, his bank notified him that his financial card was being used. The complainant said his card had three separate transactions that he did not complete.
One transaction was at 7-Eleven, and the other two were at Domino's Pizza. Officer Nielsen obtained the video surveillance from 7-Eleven. It showed a male subject wearing an orange beanie, black coat, blue jeans, and brown boots. The male arrived and left in an older brown Jeep Cherokee.
The Officer met with the employees at Domino's, and they provided him with transaction amounts from the store, a physical description of the male subject, and a physical description of a female with him. Both were seen in an older brown Jeep Cherokee.
Officer Nielsen conducted a traffic stop on 12/17/23 on a vehicle fitting the description of the male subject, who was identified as George Carpenter. George informed the Officer He was getting a ride to another person's home.
Officer Nielsen went to this home and met with a female who stated she was dating George. She later stated George’s real name is 44-year-old Michael Lane Carpenter. The female stated that Michael had gone to Smith’s on December 8th and came out with a black backpack. They then went to Domino's Pizza , where they made two separate purchases, then stopped at 7-Eleven and made another purchase.
The Officer conducted a local search on Michael, and it was confirmed through a previous booking photo that he was the male subject in the surveillance video using the financial card.
Michael was located by Sgt Watt on 12/19/23 and taken to jail.
On 12/19/23, at around 5:00 pm, Sgt Watt responded to a report of two suspicious males standing at 350 North 300 West. The males were reported to have been standing at the corner for quite some time.
This particular area has been the source of several recent complaints of drug distribution from nearby apartments. Both males were described, including one who was using crutches. When Officer Watt arrived at the area, he saw both males at the corner of 300 W 400 N.
The Officer pulled up to the males to talk to them. The male with the crutches said they were just waiting for a ride. They both appeared to want to leave in a hurry and were allowed to go. They walked back toward 350 N 300 W, indicating to the Officer they were not waiting for a ride.
Uintah County Deputy Russell arrived and asked if one of the males was 44-year-old Michael Lane Carpenter. Deputy Russell pulled up a driver's license photo of Michael and showed it to Officer Watt, and it appeared to be one of the two males he just spoke with. It also showed Michael had several warrants for his arrest.
The two Officers drove to the area where the males went and located them at 275 W 350 N. Deputy Russell first contacted the male and asked for his name. Officer Watt pulled up and had Michael's picture on his computer, and it appeared to be a match.
The male told Deputy Russell his name was Jared Christensen, giving a DOB of 9/19/81. When questioned again about giving a false name, the male gave the Deputy the same name but gave a different DOB as 11/10/81.
As this discussion was going on between the Deputy and Michael, Officer Watt placed Michael in handcuffs and explained that he would be detained until they could verify his identity. He again started saying his name was Jared and gave a social security number. He was asked if he had an ID, and he said no.
Officer Watt found a wallet on the male's person, and at that time, Officer Pummell pulled up and recognized the male, calling him Michael Carpenter. It wasn't until he was detained and provided several name variances that he finally admitted he was Michael Lane Carpenter.
Michael had three no-bail warrants issued out of the 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City for forgery, burglary of a vehicle, and theft by receiving stolen property.
While the Officers searched Carpenter, they found a glass meth pipe in one of his pockets. They also found another wallet with cartoon designs in his left rear pocket. Michael stated that it wasn't his wallet and that the guy with the crutches had given it to him. Officer Watt looked at the driver's license and saw it belonged to a female juvenile with a local address. Michael stated several times that the wallet was given to him by the other guy, who at this time had been allowed to leave.
Once he was secured in a patrol car, Officer Watt again found the male on crutches and spoke to him about the wallet and Michael. This male denied giving Michael any wallet or anything else to hold for him. Watt noticed the male had a backpack and consented to a search. Nothing on his person or in the backpack had any names or references to the juvenile's name inside the wallet.
Michael was transported to the Uintah County Jail for the outstanding warrants and the meth pipe. Before entering the jail, Michael was asked if he had anything on him that would be illegal, and he stated no. Then he said he wasn't sure.
Once inside the jail, the Corrections Deputies found a used syringe inside a jacket pocket under a layer of clothing. They also found a Mentos gum container concealed down his pants with a tooter pipe, several empty plastic baggies, unused stripes of aluminum foil, and an empty small glass jar. None of these items contained any visible drug residue.
Officer Watt was able to find the wallet's owner, and in speaking with her, she knew her wallet had been in her car the night before when she went to Walmart. When she went to get her wallet the following day, it was missing. Her parents checked their Ring security camera, but nothing was seen.
The victim had not reported the theft yet because she wanted to search her room again. The victim's wallet contained her driver's license, social security number, three different bank cards (no money available on them), and some other documents. All items inside the wallet were recovered, and the wallet was returned to the owner.
Upon Officer Watt looking at Michael Lane Carpenter's criminal history, he noticed that he had a lot of previous charges for thefts, credit card frauds, and burglaries, including having another person's identification. He also had previous convictions for Dangerous Drugs, but only one within the last seven years that was on the history. There were a lot of cases without dispositions.