IDAHO FALLS — A 31-year-old was arrested after allegedly using a vehicle that wasn’t his and having a debit card and checkbooks that didn’t belong to him either.
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Idaho State Police, on Tuesday, around 1:45 p.m., a trooper stopped a 1999 green GMC Sierra pickup that was pulling into a Flying J gas station parking lot in Bonneville County for a report of a stolen vehicle.
The registration was showing it was reported stolen out of Fremont County, documents said.
The driver was identified as Chase Ernest Birch, and he was the only person inside. He was then detained. The trooper searched Birch and found a hypodermic needle in his front pocket. Birch said he had marijuana inside the vehicle.
In documents, Birch had multiple gift cards and other cards in one of his pockets. Inside the stack of cards was a debit card under the name of a woman. The trooper searched inside the vehicle and found a metal pipe with burnt marijuana. On the driver’s floorboard was a Ziploc bag with some marijuana.
A red wallet was found next to the driver’s seat, and inside the wallet were two different checkbooks for two different people.
After interviewing Birch, he told the trooper he didn’t know the person on the debit card and had no idea how it got into his pocket. When asked how he got the wallet, Birch said he was set up by one of his friends, documents said.
He claimed he didn’t know the two people whose names were on the checkbooks.
As for the vehicle, Birch told the trooper he reached out to a friend about needing a vehicle and met his friend at a park outside of Rexburg where he was given the green truck. He said he didn’t know it was stolen and had been in possession of it for at least five days.
He kept saying he “borrowed the vehicle”; however, after the trooper contacted Fremont County, the vehicle was confirmed stolen and entered into a stolen vehicle database two days ago, documents said.
At the time of the arrest, Birch was wearing new clothes, new coveralls and new boots. In the vehicle, there was a new crossbow and two new backpacks.
Birch was transported and booked into the Bonneville County Jail. He was charged with four felonies, including possession of a stolen vehicle and three counts of grand theft. He was charged with two misdemeanors including possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
On Wednesday, he pled not guilty to both of his misdemeanor charges. His bond was set to $25,000. Birch is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. at the Bonneville County Courthouse.