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Three arrested for grand theft after allegedly taking tools from Habitat for Humanity volunteer

Crime Watch

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From left: Tomas Espinoza, Pedro Alejandro Sanchez-Mendez and Jesus Perez Camacho-Ramirez

IDAHO FALLS — Three men were arrested in Idaho Falls earlier this month for allegedly stealing $5,000 worth of tools.

Police reports show at about 9 a.m. Dec. 7, an Idaho Falls Police officer responded to a reported theft in the 1000 block of Science Center Drive, according to an IFPD news release.

The victim told officers he parked his vehicle at a Habitat for Humanity house that he going to work on as a volunteer. The victim opened his trunk to get his tools out, then went into the residence. When he returned to his vehicle, the victim found that his tools had been taken.

The IFPD officer investigating the theft contacted a nearby business that had security cameras on their property that may have captured the theft. Upon viewing the footage, the officer found that the cameras had captured the theft as it occurred, including images of the suspects and the suspect vehicle.

Later in the day, at approximately 11:30 a.m., the Idaho Falls Police officer who had begun the initial investigation located the suspect vehicle driving on Yellowstone Highway near Elm Street while on patrol, according to the release. The officer recognized the driver as the man who had allegedly been the passenger in the footage of the theft earlier in the day.

The officer initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and contacted the driver and two passengers. Additional Idaho Falls Police officers responded to assist. After speaking with the officers, the three occupants of the vehicle admitted knowledge of the theft of the tools. Each person told officers a different account of which of the three had been actively involved in the theft.

Officers conducted an initial search of the vehicle for the tools but did not locate them in the vehicle.

One of the suspects told officers that the tools were at a local mechanic shop where one of the suspects had just started working. Officers responded to that location and were able to locate the stolen tools with the help of the shop owner, who had no knowledge of the way the tools had been obtained by the suspects.

The victim responded to that location to reclaim his tools and reported that a tool belt was still missing. Officers conducted a second more thorough search of the vehicle and located the missing tool belt that was returned to the owner. They also located drug paraphernalia and an open container of alcohol in the area immediately surrounding the driver’s seat.

Jesus Perez Camacho-Ramirez, Pedro Alejandro Sanchez-Mendez, and Tomas Espinoza were each arrested for felony grand theft and taken to the Bonneville County Jail.

Camacho-Ramirez had been driving the vehicle when it was stopped by the IFPD Officer and was also arrested for misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

Bail was set at $35,000 for each of the men.