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Teens arrested after theft of marijuana from UHP evidence room

The Associated Press

Cedar City, UT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Three 17-year-old St. George boys, one the son of a Utah Highway Patrol trooper, have been arrested for investigation into the thefts of more than 23 pounds of marijuana from the UHP's evidence locker in Cedar City.

Iron County authorities are unsure how many criminal cases may have been compromised by the thefts. Only some of the marijuana has been recovered. Two of the teens have confessed to their roles in the thefts, sheriff's detective David Mitchell said, and a warrant has been issued for a fourth youth. The teens were booked into juvenile detention for investigation of burglary, theft, evading arrest, drug possession, tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice.
The youth who was the son of a trooper purportedly filched his father's keys to get access to the building.

The youths were arrested after the latest theft from the evidence locker. A police officer tried to stop a suspicious car outside the UHP's Cedar City office on Feb. 27 and the occupants fled, Cedar City Police Sgt. Jerry Womack said.

After a short chase, the occupants bailed out of the car and tried escape on foot, Womack said. Officers arrested two of the teens a short time later and a third was arrested the next day.

Marijuana and drug paraphernalia were found.

Mitchell said the locker was burglarized first between October and January and again on Feb. 27.

Mitchell said he initially began questioning people within the patrol's Cedar City office who had access to the building.

Deputies refused to release the name of the trooper whose keys were taken, but said he was unaware of his son's alleged involvement until the arrests.

The patrol said Tuesday it was cooperating with the Iron County sheriff's investigation but did not anticipate any disciplinary action against the trooper whose keys were taken.

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